Teacher Evaluation System Announced

Friday, February 17, 2012

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers in New York, discusses how New York State education officials and teachers' unions came to a compromise and how teacher evaluations will be done.


Michael Mulgrew

Comments [21]


With this disastrous agreement Mulgrew has sold us out.
The evaluation formula is riven with holes for principals' favoritism.
Given the leadership's sell-out legacy, many teachers are getting active to build a new caucus in the UFT to challenge the leadership's grip. 200 union activists met on February 4 in the “State of the Union”.
We must work together to mobilize to defend ourselves against the city and state's attack and the union's betrayal.
We will meet again on March 10 at “State of the Union, Part 2” to launch the new caucus to take back our union. Keep posted to for event time and location.

Feb. 18 2012 09:51 AM
Dan Leopold from Manhattan

As a NYCDOE music teacher in my 11th year in the system, I have many concerns. First, the special interests within the UFT, have sold out the rank and file in the past (can anyone else say 37.5 minutes for Extended Tutoring Time. I also am concerned with the equally hard working teachers who do not have grades and subjects that are state tested. Finally, I question about these independent arbitrators. It seems to me a mayor who could buy himself a 3rd term, could financially influence and sway the judgement of independent" arbitrators. Your thoughts and feedback is appreciated.

Feb. 17 2012 04:38 PM
Olivia from New York

This is putting all the emphasis on the wrong syllable (as the saying goes). For real change and reform teacher education and training programs need to be revamped and so do school curriculums, which are void in music and arts education, phys. ed. and more. Until these changes are made there will be no improvement in our children's education, which does not bode well for our country. We are focusing our attention on all the wrong things, resulting in no solutions.

Feb. 17 2012 11:04 AM
kiKakiki26 from Harlem

Thank you Mike from Manhattan for addressing the elephant in the room.Why are most of the schools to be closed in minority areas or the student body mostly from lower income homes because teachers cannot teach, cannot be held responsible for students who do not do homework, who have no manners, who have no parental accountability, at parent teacher night always the students who are doing well, their parents show up, the students who are holding the class back those parents almost never show up when teachers spent even 1/5 of every class on discipline who is learning and public schools have to take everybody, the good, the bad, the difficult, the abused, misused, public schools cannot weed out and send the disruptive influence to another school or even another class, holding the teacher responsible when the system tells the teacher what to teach, when to teach it and how to teach and then giving the teacher a challenging student body is a recipe for failure or is that the plan. I gave up and moved to a profession with less stress as do many good teachers every year.

Feb. 17 2012 11:02 AM
Mike from Manhattan

DizzyDan77: If you ever worked in a place where the manager wanted the workplace under their supervision to reflect their own political or social predilections, and was protected in doing whatever dirty tricks could create the preferred workplace atmosphere--not only by the common institutional biases in favor of administration as opposed to "labor", but where management itself had a union--you would know why teachers are "paranoid" about evaluation. Far too often, evaluation is not used to ensure the quality of teaching, but to create a workplace atmosphere conducive to the prejudices and preferences of the person doing the evaluation: the principal. In other sectors, management is not allowed to unionize, with good reason.

Feb. 17 2012 10:37 AM
Randi from Brooklyn

As I'm reading the comments on this subject, it was great to see my Cyberenglish teacher also comment! Hey Mr. Nellen ("tnellen"), I was in your Cyberenglish class at Bergtraum HS (Class of '96); I just would like to thank you - you were a wonderful teacher. Because of your class, I realized that I entered college with a higher computer aptitude than many other students. Good to see you!

Feb. 17 2012 10:34 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

What goes on the in home is more important that what goes on in a classroom

The best teachers using the best methodologies can't overcome a lousy home and community that doesn't value education and intellectual achievement.

Throwing more money at failing schools, incompetent teachers is a waste.

Students in other countries excel American students despite larger class sizes and lower budgets.

Feb. 17 2012 10:34 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

The bottom line is that this shows that contrary to the rightist narrative of Scott Walkers's and Chris Christie's of the world, unions ARE and always have been negotiating and conceding all over the place, to meet the needs of the states. Most right-wing Govs, unlike Cuomo, NEVER sought to negotiate in the first place but decided to use their "mandate" to undo social compacts without consultation, unless you are the Koch Bros. Nothing is perfect, but there are better and worse ways to do things (Scott Walker).

@ Bobby G - Of course, there is no union-bashing, aggrandizing or self-promoting by the Mayor, who runs a billion dollar company named after...him?

Feb. 17 2012 10:34 AM
Michael Bengis from Hopatcong, NJ

I wish you had asked your host the one question that Kristoff in the NYT broached two days ago,namely... The teacher's union fought like crazy to save the job of a NYC teacher that was so drunk she passed out in class, and even the principal couldn't awaken her. Yet, the union fights on for its own, How does your host answer a charge like that?

Feb. 17 2012 10:32 AM
Mike from Manhattan

Fair teacher evaluations are a good thing, but they will not improve the quality of education in the U.S. I am a former teacher, now retired from a second profession, and my wife is currently teaching in the NYC system but soon to retire: so we no longer have axes to grind for ourselves. Education has long been a profession guided by fads. The reason for this lies in the ineffective research on education carried out by college professors, most of whom would never lower themselves to teach in an elementary or high school classroom. Rather they are out to win grants and gain tenure by producing schemes that appeal to politicians, usually because they promise increases in productivity, i.e. lower costs per pupil. The latest fad of blaming teachers is only the latest but most destructive of these fads. In the 1960s the politicians realized (while also currying favor of agriculture interests) that children cannot learn if they are hungry when they are in the classroom. To solve the problems with the outcomes of our education system, we need to address the severe social and psychological problems of a minority of our students who cannot learn because of the problems and cannot allow other students in their classrooms to learn either. It only takes two disruptive students to prevent 28 others from learning. And unfortunately, there are a percentage of students who are so angry because their home live are in chaos, who are undergoing abuse at home or from their peers, who are unable to concentrate because they are already abusing drugs, that it is an unusual classroom without those two disruptive children. In a private or parochial school such students are dismissed, for the greater good. A public school system must teach all children, but the social and psychological needs of all students are not met in a regular classroom, and so alternatives should be created, but these students will not be helped by educational means alone. Until the underlying problems that prevent children from leaning are address, no amount of teacher evaluation will improve the outcomes of the public educational system.

Feb. 17 2012 10:28 AM

What about the children?! These are 8 year olds that are being loaded down with home work and pushed and pushed to do well in these tests. I never hear anyone speak about the joy of learning and even less about creativity. I love the teachers my child has and I feel for them having to go through this but it is not ok to put children of this developmental age through this.

Feb. 17 2012 10:28 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I wish a couple of my NYC public school teachers were evaluated - by a psychiatrist.

Feb. 17 2012 10:27 AM

Why is the teacher's union so consistently paranoid to any form of evaluation? What is happening inside the school system that has everyone on edge about just doing their job? I've yet to hear of any other union that is so adamant about keeping bad workers and so convinced that they'll be 'unfairly' evaluated!!!

Feb. 17 2012 10:25 AM

Why is there no talk on assessing the principles? Not every principle knows how to evaluate. what support is there for training principles?

Feb. 17 2012 10:25 AM
dan k from chelsea

It's great that they're finally doing something about teacher quality. It was a long time coming. But it would be equally helpful if WNYC and the government spoke as much about our culture's anti-intellectualism, lionization of our athletes rather than our scholars, and the underachievers we've become relative to other advanced and advancing countries. We are facing a cultural dilemma, where our students lack the rigor to truly excel.

Feb. 17 2012 10:22 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Teachers are held responsible for everything that happens to each and all of the approximately 125 or more children or juveniles they are closeted with over the 7 hours a day they are in contact with them. If a kid gets a scratch, the teacher is responsible. If the kids have a fight,the teacher is responsible. God forbid, if a kids gets hurt in some way the teacher is responsible. There is almost no support in most schools, and it's usually "sink or swim" which weeds out a large percentage in the first 3 years.

The whole system is extremely politicized and the only defense the teacher may have is this thing called "tenure." The teacher has no police power in the classroom, and can't do a darn thing to a student who is out of line. Go try teaching and see for yourself.

Feb. 17 2012 10:21 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The caller's explanation of the difference between what "tenure" means in the NY school system & what it means in universities should be the 1st thing said in any discussion of tenure for public school teachers.

Feb. 17 2012 10:18 AM
Abbey from Brooklyn

I'm a former NYC public middle school teacher. I wonder how the 20% standardized test requirement will work for non ELA or Math teachers. Currently, the only state standardized tests given were in those subjects.

It would seem that other subject teachers could make their own tests to assess if students were learning the materials taught (which might actually be more sensitive assessments).

How is this requirement applied across disciplines?

Feb. 17 2012 10:15 AM
C.G. from Manhattan

I'm still not clear on whether the chancellor has final say on firing a teacher judged ineffective two years in a row. The UFT president seems to have snowed Brian by referring to an obscure process ("32 F"?) and rushing into a description of the UFT's powers to challenge the first evaluation of ineffectiveness. Why can't Brian verify his understanding of the deal before the interview? Can we get Beth Furtig on the air?

Feb. 17 2012 10:14 AM

Teaching hasn't changed in centuries. We still teach the way we were taught and the way we have for the past 200 years. It is time we change and adjust to the present and the future. Stop one teacher per class for a one hour period and rethink schools and teaching. Think team teaching and multi discipline classes for high school. We should lose this agrarian calendar and thinking for our schools and think globally and as a team.

Also, how do we know which teacher is responsible for a student's success?


Feb. 17 2012 10:07 AM
Bobby G from East Village

What I would like to see is the UFT and the Mayor work together to improve the schools. What I resent is the barrage of negative UFT television commercials bashing the Mayor and the aggrandizing, self-promoting Michael Mulgrew commercials.

Feb. 17 2012 10:07 AM

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