Friday, May 2, 2014

Mr. Talk Weighs In on the Contract

Now that the new proposed contract has been analyzed (and given the stamp of approval by the New York Post), the REAL question that I'm sure has been burning in your minds bobs to the surface, namely:

What does Mr. Talk think about all this?

I'm glad you asked. Personally, I think it's great for people like me who are on the verge of retirement. We get to walk out the door with a decent increase and we will receive our retroactive payments immediately, unlike the vast majority of teachers who can't retire and will have to wait until 2020 to get all the money that Bloomberg stiffed us on.

I'm still voting no.

I'd vote no for any contract that sells out our members, and this one hangs the ATRs out to dry. There was no reason why ATRs couldn't have simply been sent back to the classroom and evaluated based upon the same criteria as the rest of us. Instead, the UFT decided to make it relatively easy to fire ATRs at the whim of principals who don't want to have a veteran's salary on their payroll.

There's lots more not to like here. The retro pay really isn't retro pay: if you get paid more in future years, that's a raise, not retro. Unless you retire, you will have to work another four years to see all that money. I hate the de facto merit pay and the stealth charter schools that are being created by "relaxing" contract rules (will YOUR school be chosen? Who knows?).

There are a few more things I don't like that I haven't seen discussed much elsewhere. If anyone can enlighten on these points, please do.

  • It seems we will NOT be getting interest on the "retro" money. If that money had gone into our TDAs like it should have back in 2009, we'd be earning 7% on it. Instead, your "retro" money will be LOSING value because it's not earning that interest and inflation will continue to gnaw away at it before you ever see a penny. 
  • While there we some adjustments made to the evaluation system, the burden of proof at a 3020 termination hearing is still on teachers. In other words, if you are found ineffective, you will have to prove, somehow, that you are not or be fired. This should have been addressed in the new contract
  • Artifacts are gone. While I hate that word, artifacts were one of the few ways teachers had of demonstrating that they were effective. While I know that compiling artifacts was a pain in the ass, it at least gave us ONE way to counter bogus evaluations. Now that is gone.
  • Campbell Brown and E4E both got their way in this contract. Brown has apparently succeeded in persuading the DOE that they need to get tougher with teachers who abuse children, even when there is absolutely no proof that any abuse has taken place. E4E got their merit pay. This all proves that if you have big money backing you, you can get the union to bend over.
  • It appears we will all be given a "new curriculum" that we will be forced to teach, even if it stinks on ice (and it will).
The only positive things I've found in the contract are 1. that sabbaticals are apparently still in place, and 2. the 37.5 minutes of faux instruction is history (but I'm reserving judgment on this one until I see what they replace it with and how much paperwork it will involve).

So, weighing the positive against the negative, there's only one thing to do. I don't mean voting "no"--that will make no difference whatsoever as this POS contract will sail through. What you should do is retire.

That's my plan. See you in Florida.

1 comment:

Betsy Combier said...

The Department of Education still has the burden of proof at 3020-a, not teachers, and the DOE continues to not win on proving a teacher is ineffective if the teacher presents a strong defense