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UFT appeals directly to parents in teacher evaluation showdown

UFT President Michael Mulgrew wants parents to know that he doesn’t mind if new teacher evaluations cause some teachers to leave their jobs.

Ever since negotiations over teacher evaluations fell apart during winter break, Mulgrew has taken fire for costing the city federal funding and opposing changes that could make teachers easier to fire.

But in a full-page advertisement that appears in today’s New York Daily News, titled “An Open Letter to New York City Parents,” Mulgrew argues that evaluations that are conceived and executed according to the union’s specifications would indeed usher teachers “who cannot succeed” out of the profession.

More than that, he argues, better evaluations would help struggling teachers get the support they need to stay in the classroom. An exodus of teachers from city schools stands at 66,000 teachers in the last decade, he said — equivalent to more than three quarters of the city’s teaching corps.

“Teachers leave one of the toughest jobs in New York City for a variety of personal and professional reasons, but the most common single reason is a lack of support from supervisors and the Department of Education,” Mulgrew writes.

In the ad, Mulgrew also reiterates his call for third-party negotiation to hammer out the final details of a new evaluation system for at least some city schools. Both Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have dismissed the call for arbitration, saying that the sticking point — whether an independent party would hear the appeals of teachers who get low ratings, as the union wants — is not open to discussion.

The union’s complete ad is below.

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