State Commissioner of Education John King has a sense of humor – he set February 14th – Valentine’s Day as the final date for a submission of a teacher plan.
In New York State, proudly, a Marriage Equality State we could find the mayor and the union president canoodling in the recesses of the Capitol on Valentine’s Day – I doubt it.
On Wednesday night, according to the union, and the commissioner, it appeared that both sides had come to an agreement. By the next day, January 17th the mayor turned down the plan negotiated by his appointee as chancellor, Dennis Walcott.
The mayor cited the length of the plan – it sunsets on 6/30/15 – as the primary reason for his opposition, yet 90% of the approved plans contain a sunset clause and Commissioner King chipped at the mayor’s version,
In his remarks to reporters, King seconded the union’s version of events — that the city had actually intended to sign off on and submit a short-term plan.
“That comment from the mayor was from my perspective a new issue that was raised after they walked away from the table,” King said.
“My understanding, as of yesterday morning, was the submission we would receive officially from them when they completed the agreement was going to cover two years,” King added.
The union also insisted that the department was not prepared to implement the plan and demanded that any plan clearly enunciate a training program for principals as well as the specifics of implementation from Tweed to the schools to the classrooms; the Commissioner once again seconded the union,
“Throughout these negotiations what became clear is that principals have not received the training necessary to implement the evaluation system,” King said.
He said that the new Feb. 14 deadline requires that the city submit a plan that shows it is prepared to implement large portions of an evaluation system. The plan would have to include agreements on a teacher observation rubric and a plan to train staff to use the new system, among other things, he said.
See King letter here.
The Commissioner threatens the loss of 1 billion – that’s a pile of cash, Chief Academic Officer Suransky, he probably lost the coin toss, fell on his sword,
“We’re not going to just do it for show,” Polakow-Suransky said of an evaluation system. “We’re not just going to do it for money. We’re going to do it right. Until we get a deal that doesn’t undermine us and take us backward, we’re not going to do it.
A few days from now, if it hasn’t happened already Joe Percoco, the governor’s political operative,will call Howard Wolfson, his counterpart at the side of the mayor.
To describe Percoco as “pugnacious” is probably understatement.
Secretary: “Mr. Wolfson, Mr. Percoco is on the phone.”
Wolfson: “Crap, OK, put him through – Joe – good morning – what can I do for you?”
Percoco: “What can I do for you? You can tell the mayor if he wants to piss on the Andrew we will drown him in a mountain of shit.”
Wolfson: “Joe – calm down – I guess you’re talking about the teacher evaluation plan.”
Percoco: “Calm down – I am calm – this is the governor’s plan – we got Mulgrew to accept the plan – it’s OK with King, it’s OK with Tisch – and the mayor pisses on it – pisses on the governor – get this done and get it done now.”
Wolfson: “Joe – the mayor has problems with the plan (interrupted)
Percoco: “Don’t shit me – the mayor couldn’t care less – he has a problem with Mulgrew. Get this done and get it done now – you need cover – we’ll send mediator – just get it done.”
A few weeks from now, without any fanfare the completed plan will find itself to the corridors of the State Education Department and will quickly be approved.
Mulgrew will be careful not to gloat and Bloomberg will move on to reducing global warming and removing illegal guns from the streets.
In schools and classrooms not much will change. Teachers and principals will discuss student work: what constitutes a portfolio, designing rubrics, understanding Danielson, the daily work that should have been going on each and every day.
At the January 17th Delegate Assembly Mulgrew emphasized to the delegates that the plan measures student progress, Mulgrew, again and again, told the teachers, “the progress belongs to you – the principal can’t take it away.”
Will the teacher evaluation plan both rid the system of ineffective teachers and result in more school-based discussion about the art of teaching?
Check back in two or three years.