Archives For Danielson

By Mike Schirtzer

Teacher/UFT Delegate

Leon M. Goldstein High School- Brooklyn

2013 MORE Vice Presidential Candidate for UFT


On October 9th at 4:00 p.m., activists from all over the city will gather at UFT headquarters (52 Broadway NYC) to protest the emphasis on high stakes testing that is harming our children, educators, and public schools. This action will be led by the grassroots organizations of Movement of Rank & File Educators (MORE), the Social Justice Caucus of the UFT, and Change the Stakes, a group of parents who refuse to allow their children to be measured by standardized test scores.


The rally is being called “Win Back Wednesday” because it’s time for public education to be reclaimed from the profit-driven “reformers” and returned to the real stakeholders; parents, students, and teachers. Our children’s education should never be thought of as “common”, “standardized”, or “data-driven”. Recent educational policies that have swept our city and nation have put an emphasis on high-stakes testing that narrows curriculum, turns teachers into test-prep machines, and takes the fun out of learning. Common Core standards, Danielson rubrics, and value added measures are untested, unproven schemes that have been developed with little to no input from public school teachers or parents. It’s time for us to take back our schools from those who seek to exploit our children. Public education should never be a for-profit endeavor- it should be  the foundation of a community where children feel secure and receive an education that provides an opportunity for them to develop critical thinking skills and express creativity.


We are joining together to let the public know that our teachers, students, and public schools are “MORE than a SCORE”. The new evaluation system called “Advance”  is rating teachers based on test scores for courses they don’t even teach. There is no conclusive evidence that rating teachers based on test scores will make them better instructors or have a positive effect on our children’s education. The worst part of the new evaluation scheme is that 40% of a teacher’s rating will be based on test score growth, algorithms that have never been proven to accurately determine if a teacher is “effective”. 40% or not, New York State Education Commissioner John King has declared that any teacher who is rated ineffective on the test based measures will be rated ineffective overall. Our education leaders have somehow decided that 40% equals 100%.


Common Core standards and the new teacher evaluation system have led to a proliferation of testing that is having a terrible effect on our youngest students. Children enter school with a natural curiosity to learn about the world we live in, but constant preparation for, and execution of standardized testing takes has taken that from them. Students need to have a chance to develop skills, and we must engage them in their innate love of learning.


When many veteran teachers entered the public school system the emphasis was on helping students to foster their “multiple intelligences” and talents. Learning was designed to be differentiated based on student’s individualized needs. Now our school system has fallen under the dark cloud of standardized testing and “one size fits all” standards which wrongly assumes that all children learn the same way. This is a tragic turn in public education, driven by nefarious preference for profits over what’s best for our children. While corporations and consultants makes millions of dollars, our students are conditioned to take tests, not to provide solutions to real world problems. This is not what education is about, nor can our democracy thrive or survive if this trend continues.


We have chosen the UFT headquarters for the rally because we believe they can be the sole voice of real reform. As nation’s largest, most powerful union local, the UFT can lead the charge for legitimate educational innovation ensuring that the real stakeholders- parents, students, and teachers – have a voice in how to best educate our children. We will be there to urge  the UFT leadership to join us in calling for a moratorium of the new hastily implemented evaluation system. Instead of a champion for the Common Core standards and “Advance”, rank and file teachers and public school parents want an advocate for children that says loudly and unambiguously what we all know to be true: the testing regime has run amok.


We need our union  leadership to call for real reform, smaller class size, renewed focus on the arts, music, civics, physical education and funding for afterschool programs. While millions of dollars are being wasted on implementing these new “reform” policies, our children lack the services they deserve and our educators enter their fifth year without a contract. The UFT leadership must use its power to say “enough is enough”! We are calling on them to join us in telling the public, politicians, and those that say they care about education that our children, teachers, and public schools are more than a test score!

Details and Facebook Link Here

"You can't close your door and teach your kids when the education deformers are already inside your classroom"

“I’m Not Political” is not going to help your students.

Lisa North


PS 3 Brooklyn

As s member of the  2007 UFT Task Force on Testing, I find it unconscionable that our current UFT leadership has agreed to an evaluation system that uses test scores to evaluate teachers when their own 2007 Task Force  on testing states clearly,”Do not use student test scores to evaluate teachers. The use of data from student test scores on standardized tests to evaluate teachers may appear simple, be intuitively appealing, but it is wrong.”


It was our UFT leadership that made the agreement with Albany to use test scores to evaluate teachers and in fact to this day they say that it is good to use test data in our evaluations.  Yet, in their own Task Force on Testing they stated that  there is NO research that shows that  a single test should be used to evaluate teachers or students.  Read this section taken from the report:


“Professional organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, the National Council on Measurement in Education, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Parent Teacher Association, have all come out against high stakes testing. The American Education Research Association has stated that tests are always fallible and should never be used as high stakes instruments.

Yet wrongheaded proposals from (former) Chancellor Klein, elected officials, corporate heads and other non-educators who do not understand the limitations of the test data continue to call for the misuse of student test scores in order to make important decisions about children as early as kindergarten. They are also proposing misusing these test results as an evaluative tool for teachers, as a factor in determining teacher salaries and as a basis for granting tenure.”


Only a few years after their own report, it was the UFT leadership, not Joel Klein and corporate leaders, that signed on to something that they know is not a valid way to evaluate teachers.  It is time for the UFT leadership  to join with community and education groups that are already fighting back against the the use of test scores to evaluate teachers, students, and schools.  Students are harmed when the curriculum is narrowed to subjects that are tested.

Please read the full report from UFT task force here


If you believe teachers are “MORE than a SCORE’ and the new evaluation system needs to be halted immediately, join us for our day of action on 10/9 Win Back Wednesday! There will be a rally at UFT headquarters at 4:00pm on 10/9 at 52 Broadway NYC. Let’s remind our leadership of the findings of their report

MORE General Meeting

September 20, 2013 — Leave a comment
"MORE general meeting discuss the most pressing issues in NYC public education today, focus on Advance"

“Advance” Getting You Down? Get Involved! Make Your Voice Heard!

RSVP Today!

By James Eterno

Teacher/Chapter Leader- Jamaica High School

ICE/TJC 2010 UFT Presidential Candidate

READING THE TEA LEAVES AT CHAPTER LEADER MEETING: Sayanara Bill Thompson?; Don’t Expect Much Improvement on the Evaluation System with a New Mayor

We’re back in school and the UFT called for a Chapter Leader meeting on Wednesday at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriot.  Great cookies and lots of soft drinks were an enticement to listen to President Michael Mulgrew give one of his lengthy monologues.  After listening to him for over an hour, here are my quick views on what he said or at least implied:

1. The UFT will abandon Bill Thompson’s mayor campaign in a hurry  soon to achieve Democratic party unity and hope for the best opportunity to elect a Democrat as the mayor.
2. Mulgrew wants to tweak the new teacher evaluation system but we are stuck with it and the UFT will continue to promote it.  However, judging by the reaction from the Chapter Leaders, it seems like the rank and file aren’t buying.


From listening to Mulgrew’s remarks, at first it looked like the UFT would be sticking with Thompson.  He said that Thompson only missed the runoff by around 700 votes.  (That number was disputed by some people around where I sat.)  However, then Mulgrew stated that after twenty years of Republican mayors and the damage they have done to the school system, it is imperative that we elect a Democrat in November as our top priority. (Translation: We don’t need a three week runoff where two Democrats bloody each other and Republican Lhota could possibly sneak in.) Mulgrew even stated that we don’t want a split Democratic party.  He then told us there might soon be a special Delegate Assembly on an updated endorsement.  (Translation: We will be supporting deBlasio hopefully.)

Mulgrew was not humbled by the results (Thompson lost by around 14%) at all and took a victory lap by noting that Comptroller candidate Scott Stringer, who beat Elliot Spitzer in the Primary on Tuesday, specifically thanked the teachers for getting him in.  Mulgrew then reported on how UFT candidates won 42 out of 47 races on Tuesday and a couple of others are still too close to call.

During the question period, the Chapter Leader from Dewey High School questioned the Thompson endorsement and Mulgrew responded that it was done democratically and the Chapter Leader must not like democracy.  (I am just reporting folks; please don’t gag when UFT Presidents stand up for democracy.)

Mulgrew also reported that the outgoing mayor would be trying to collocate and even close as many schools as possible before he leaves office at the end of the year. He also noted that we would be going to the Panel for Educational Policy to urge them to have teachers, not test scores, be the final judge on which students get promoted.

President Mulgrew ceded very little ground when he talked about the state imposed new teacher evaluation system.  While members of the Movement of Rank and File Educators were handing out leaflets with a petition on the back urging for a moratorium on imposing the new system, Mulgrew was inside telling us that the UFT disagrees with the implementation of the new system by the current Department of Education administration.  Specifically, he emphasized how there is a state Public Employees Relations Board case going on and a Union initiated grievance.  He also told us that there are 150 new arbitration slots thanks to the new system so we can have many problems that can’t be worked out by October 25 taken to this expedited process. He once again insisted that we have stronger due process under the current system than we had in the past.
He then argued that the increased observations under Danielson’s framework could be positive if they are handled in a collegial way by administration but if administration plays hardball with teachers, Mulgrew recommended that teachers respond in kind by holding them to the letter of the law.
Mulgrew did admit that he was troubled by the Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) portion of the new “Advance” evaluation system, where we are judged on student test scores, but he insisted that changing and expanding what can be used for our MOSL scores would be a priority in contract negotiations.
During the question period, Mulgrew addressed lesson plans.  He told the Chapter Leaders that the Danielson framework leaves the lesson plan format up to the teacher but the DOE disputes this.  He said that our contract is still in effect in terms of freedom of lesson plan format and prohibition against ritualized collection of lesson plans by administration so we are in grievance in these areas.
Mulgrew summed up the evaluation system by predicting that two years from now, many more schools will be doing evaluation right than wrong and that teachers need to get over their fear of having other adults in their classrooms.  He also told us that we must report it to the UFT if we need questions answered on the evaluation system, if don’t have curriculum or if we have problems such as oversize classes.
The President briefly touched on the national scene when he declared that the situation is dire in cities around the country for public education.  He told us how 35% of the teachers had been laid off in Philadelphia by a Democratic mayor who was turning over much of the system to charter schools.  He then stated that 52 schools were closed in Chicago despite the valiant fight against it there and those teachers only had five months to find a new job or they were laid off.  He then stated that Los Angeles and Houston were also in bad shape.
He followed this by noting that we are not in such a bad position in NYC but that over the next couple of years we may have the opportunity to turn NYC into a model public school system. He told us we might have to change from fighting to a different mode of operation in the near future.
(Translation: Expect more Newark/DC style contract concessions in the future in NYC. Get used to being judged on junk science and constantly observed. It will make you a better teacher!)

UPDATE-I came home from Brooklyn to eastern Queens, where I live, around 7:30 pm last night.  My wife and I ate, played some games with our four year old daughter (the fun part of the day) before helping to get her to bed.  I was exhausted so I went to sleep without checking the news and woke up before 5:00 am to write this piece. I didn’t know that Thompson was fighting on. Is the UFT really considering holding out on this?

Note- James Eterno will be filing reports for MORE after each UFT Delegate Assembly during the 2013/14 school year. These are his thoughts and may/may not represent the official position of the caucus

“Advance” – The Movie

September 7, 2013 — 1 Comment

A very helpful video that explains the new evaluation system and provides suggestions for how educators should prepare themselves. A “must watch” for every UFT member!

Created by John Elfrank-Dana
Teacher/UFT Chapter Leader
Murry Bergtraum High School
Please sign MORE’s petition calling for a moratorium of the new teacher evaluation system

This post is an expanded version of our Newsletter article. To help distribute our newsletter please sign up here.

State Education Commissioner King has imposed a new teacher evaluation plan that reduces each year of our teaching to a single number based largely on students’ test scores. Up to 10%  of teachers statewide may face “ineffective” ratings.

“Measures of Student Learning”:

  • Twenty points = “growth scores” measuring changes in our students’ standardized test scores
  • Twenty points =  “local measures” determined by a school UFT/administration committee from a DOE menu, subject to a principal’s veto.

Eventually, the “growth scores” section will be 25 points and “local measures” 15 points.

“Measures of Teacher Performance”:

  • Sixty points = based on observations using the Danielson rubric

Under the new rules, if you get rated “ineffective” on the Measures of Student Learning then you automatically get a rating of “ineffective” overall. In this twisted system 40% is greater than 60%[1]

Testing will balloon rapidly as the city needs to implement tests in every grade level. New Common Core exams will expand even though the state has yet to provide a full curriculum. Furthermore, under the new Common Core-system tests question content is proprietary to Pearson or other private test developers. Teachers now are unable to properly review old test questions with students, leaving them less prepared for the state tests.

“Measures of Teacher Performance” will be based on the Danielson framework.  This overrides our contract in three important ways.

Current Contract Danielson
Section 8J points to “characteristics of good teaching” in which teachers are judged on behaviors of the teacher. Teachers evaluated on rubrics that judge us not just by our own behavior, but by the “body language” of our students.
Under article 8J, satisfactory tenured teachers can to set their own goals and methods for demonstrating professional growth,” and can request a one-to-one preobservation conference. No such option exists and we are now required to have unannounced informal observations
Section 8E of our contract states that “The organization, format, notation and other physical aspects of the lesson plan are appropriately within the discretion of each teacher.” Danielson component 1e  calls upon evaluators to rate our lesson plans.

This will open the door to principals requiring particular lesson plan formats.

We will receive a performance review from our principal by the last school day but we will not get our final rating (and cannot appeal) until September 1.

Although all ratings can be appealed to the chancellor (who has, in recent years, only reversed 0.2% of Unsatisfactory ratings on appeal), only 13% of all the ineffective ratings system-wide can be appealed to a neutral body. Before Bloomberg, 13% of all appealed ratings used to be overturned.

Teachers who receive an ineffective rating two years in a row will then face an expedited 3020-a termination hearing.

These are the biggest changes to our working conditions since our last contract. State law requires that any new contract must be consistent with this new system, and not a single UFT member has voted on it.

Mulgrew says that the plan is “professional and fair and is designed to help teachers improve their skills throughout their careers.”[2] Mulgrew and others in the current UFT leadership have focused on negotiating the “best” deal while accepting a terrible overall framework, based on standardized test scores and cookie cutter rubrics.

Bill Thompson, endorsed by the UFT in the Mayor’s race, has called the new evaluation plan “unworkable in its complexity and bureaucracy.” However, the Thompson campaign’s co-chair  is Merryl Tisch, the New York state Board of Regents chancellor, who oversees the education commissioner who imposed the plan. She disagreed with Thompson’s comments.[3] We cannot depend on the politicians to save us.

Fortunately, teachers are coming together in MORE to rebuild the UFT from the bottom up, chapter by chapter. We also need to build long-term for a city-wide and state-wide fight against fake corporate education “reform,” and improve our working conditions and our students’ learning conditions.

MORE understands teachers are not alone. Parents and students are increasingly infuriated with the battery of standardized high stakes tests that are being imposed. We can follow the example of Seattle’s Garfield High School teachers who refused to administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test this past January. Their boycott spread to other Washington schools, culminating in a huge victory—the MAP will now be optional.[4] St. Paul’s union in its contract negotiations has demanded that the district stop the mandated state test for third through eighth graders.[5]

We also need to find our common ground with other NYC public sector workers, who are all without a contract. Together teachers, parents, students and other workers can fight for the preservation and expansion of all the public services working class New Yorkers depend on.

[1] MORE, “The New John King Math: 40% = 100%,” Web. July 13, 2013.

[2]  Michael Mulgrew, “Taking Back Our Profession,” New York Teacher, September 22, 2011

[3] Lisa Fleischer, “Teacher Plan Uncertain,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2013

[4] Linda Shaw, “Starting Next Fall, MAP Tests Will Be Optional for Seattle High Schools,” Seattle Times, July 29, 2013

[5] Tim Post, “St. Paul teachers union wants district to drop mandated tests”


Analysis and Guidance Regarding Teacher Evaluation Choices and Decisions

By Julie Cavanagh PS15k Chapter Leader

I have yet to meet a parent, teacher or student from a school community who tells me they believe the new teacher evaluation system being implemented in NYC is a good thing, for anyone.  It seems most people understand this system is nothing more than another cog in the wheel of a machine with one clear purpose:  the destruction of our public education system.  This system and the accountability and testing measures and movement preceding it, reduce our students, our teachers and our schools to numbers and data, dehumanizing our schools and our profession. 

There is a growing movement that says, “Don’t feed the beast! Deny the data!” My heart lies with this sentiment, but in terms of the teacher evaluation framework, it may not be the right one.  Let me be clear, this system is irrevocably flawed, and the illusion of choice is no choice at all.  But while the system is fundamentally flawed and hurts our schools and profession, we can choose to participate in order to mitigate the damage to individual teacher jobs as well as our schools and students.

MORE members and allies have received multiple requests for guidance and analysis concerning the decisions UFT members and local committees must make regarding the teacher evaluation system.  Below I attempt to lay out, as I see them, the pros and cons of the choices individual teachers and school-based evaluation committees must make in the coming weeks.  This is by no means complete and it would be immensely helpful if folks offer their additional comments, analysis, and suggestions in the comment section!

The Lay of the Land

There are basically three “paths” to journey on as you make decisions as an individual UFT member and as a committee:

Continue Reading…

Today, June 12th 2012, MORE joins with all union workers of the Municipal Labor Committee in demanding a fair contract now. We will be at the City Hall Rally supporting our brothers and sisters of all municipal unions and workers everywhere.

Four years and NO CONTRACT

October 2013 will mark our fourth year with no contract between the Department of Education and the UFT. Meanwhile, our wages have been stagnant, and the DOE is already imposing new contractual terms on us. The DOE is implementing the most anti-­‐teacher interpretation of the Danielson framework possible, is transforming teachers into test prep coaches, and is making tenure elusive for most new teachers. According to Michael Mulgrew, 7% of teachers annually will have bad ratings under the new evaluation system, potentially leading to job termination. Unfortunately, the UFT leadership has cooperated with many of these policies.

We deserve more

  • Real wage increases that help us keep pace with the rising cost of living and that improve starting teacher salaries.
  • End to formal use of snapshot and informal observations.
  • Contractual protections against abusive supervisors
  • Contractual protections against any evaluation model that will allow administrators to rate everyone “ineffective”
  • Due process for untenured teachers so that all have a clearpath to tenure
  • Teacher control over Curricula
  • Right to Permanent Placement for All ATRs.
The June 1 imposition of a new evaluation process makes it even more urgent that our union begin to mobilize for a contract that restores our job protections. We need to fight for a meaningful appeal process before an independent arbitrator for all members who receive an ineffective rating. For MORE’s full statement on the evaluation system please visit here 
Waiting for a new mayor is NOT an organizing strategy.

Unfortunately, the current UFT leadership does not have an effective plan to win us such a contract. Their only strategy is to try to influence the Democratic mayoral primary and hope that the new mayor will feel obliged to the UFT after the general election. The problem with this strategy is that once the election is over, the UFT will no longer hold leverage over the Mayor. We will then be negotiating when we are at our weakest. The lack of real UFT mobilization has given the green light to the DOE to violate our contract, increase the number of observations, and use partial observations against teachers.

Negotiating won’t cut it.

We need to ORGANIZE and mobilize! The June 12th rally should mark the beginning of a campaign of membership mobilization throughout the city. Next fall, UFTers should be picketing outside schools, holding district and borough protests, and citywide actions that disrupt business as usual. That is the model the Chicago Teachers union pursued in the fall of 2012 when the CTU successfully resisted the Mayor’s demands for draconian givebacks. Our Union must learn from our brothers and sisters in the windy city and begin to mobilize here at home.

Our Working Conditions are Our Students’ Learning Conditions

MORE is dedicated to social justice unionism because we understand that a good contract is not only about our rights as educators. It is also about our ability to be the best educators we can for our students. Attacks on tenure mean attacks on our ability to stand up for our students and speak out when we see injustice. Evaluations attached to test scores mean narrowed test prep curriculum and learning environments that are toxic and lead to students being left out of education. Ultimately, we understand that a good contract for teachers means a good learning environment for students.

GET INVOLVED  join the contract committee

 If you agree with these ideas please join the MORE contract  committee.

The committee was launched by the Movement of Rank and File Educators but is open to any UFT member – regardless of political affiliation – who wants to work with us to chart a new course to win a fair contract. We are also forming a U ratings committee, to fight unfair U ratings. Contact us for more information.

The next contract committee meeting will be held June 19, after the UFT Delegate Assembly  6:15pm at Blarney Stone 11 Trinity Pl NYC (One block west of UFT).  For further details about the meeting or information, please contact [email protected]

Here is the link to this Flier- Please print and share