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Union president pitches evaluation deal to his membership

The day after the state and union announced a deal to use student test scores in teacher evaluations, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew faced his members last night at a meeting of the union’s ruling body.

A UFT chapter leader sent us this report from the monthly delegate assembly, comprised of representatives of the teachers at each school. The account offers a glimpse of how Mulgrew is pitching the deal to teachers, many of whom are skeptical of the plan:

The scene was surreal to start. The room was packed but the tone was hushed. It felt like the crowd had come to listen to Mulgrew explain himself and the recent overhaul of the evaluation system.

Mulgrew disputed press accounts that test scores will make up 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation, the chapter leader said. State test results will account for 20 percent, Mulgrew explained. Another 20 percent of the evaluations will come from students’ progress on local measures of student learning. The local assessments, which could be tests but don’t have to be, must be negotiated locally between the city and the union.

Chancellor Joel Klein has already expressed displeasure over how much of the plan is left to negotiation. Colorado and Louisiana, by contrast, are both pursuing evaluation overhauls that would base 50 percent or more of a teacher’s rating on student test score progress.

Here’s our rundown of the evaluation deal, and the chapter leader’s full account of the meeting is below the jump:

He began by going through what he called ”inaccurate” reporting by the NY Times. He had prepared an FAQ sheet that answered some of the questions that members might have.

He mentioned that this new system only calls for 20 percent of overall score to come from tests. He also stated that there were parts that had yet to be negotiated by the Union — like the Value Added scores. He stated directly that this did not change the tenure system.

As he went on, you could feel the tide of the delegates turning — he was starting to bring comfort to those who were anxious about this deal.

There were good questions and voices of dissent from the crowd. Some asked why this had been brokered secretly without teacher input. According to Mulgrew they had done this to keep the DOE and Klein out of the negotiation. This was a deal with the state, he said.

UPDATE: Norm Scott has posted several other accounts of the meeting, and delegate response to Mulgrew’s message, on his blog.

And here’s the FAQ document on the deal that union delegates received last night. The document insists that the new evaluation plan does not make it easier to fire teachers deemed ineffective. The deal allows for teachers who receive ratings of “ineffective” for two years in a row to go through expedited termination hearings.

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