Yonkers reaches last-minute deal on teacher evals

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YONKERS — With less than two weeks before a state deadline, the city school district and the teachers union have struck a last-minute deal on a new evaluation plan tied to millions of dollars in badly-needed aid.

Yonkers schools Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio announced late Friday that the Board of Education had reached hard-won agreements on a plan with both the teachers’ and the school administrators’ unions.

Districts across the state have been racing to submit their so-called Annual Professional Performance Review plans because if they do not have them approved by Jan. 17 they could lose any increases in state aid for 2012-13.

For Yonkers, $17 million is at stake. City school officials have said losing that money would likely force the district to cut 126 jobs and scale back programs mid-year.

“The agreements keep the district’s instructional programs in place and our employees’ jobs safe for the remainder of the school year,” Pierorazio said Friday.

The district’s announcement came a day after Education Commissioner John King named Yonkers as one of nine districts — out of roughly 700 statewide — that had yet to submit plans to the state for approval. The Education Department has signed off on more than 530 plans and has provided feedback to others.

In Yonkers, negotiations became mired in a dispute between union and school officials over whether the new evaluation plan should be tied to a new teacher contract.

The district said Friday it was on track to settling a new teachers’ contract through 2013-14 and expected the union to ratify an agreement late Friday evening.

School officials said they hope to finalize contracts for school administrators and civil service employee next week.

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  1. Cardinal Newman on

    As usual, kicking and dragging by the teachers’ unions. What quiet concessions did the district promise?

  2. kicking and dragging? Clearly you know very little about WHY it has taken this long. It had very little to do with a pay raise. Instead, it had everything to do with the NYS Bd of Ed’s absurd/destructive new teacher eval system. Teachers are not against an eval system, we had a good one in place already. This new one does not take into account the following when grading a teacher on their students performance: 1. a student’s attendance. Good luck getting a kid to pass a regents exam when they are absent 70+ times a year (I’m not talking illnesses either), my avg kid uis absent 33X a year, that’s 1/6 of the year. I had a child absent 147 times show up for the regents exam, how well do you think that kid did? That’s the teacher’s fault? Well, according to the new eval system it is. 2. A kid shows up in your class from, say, Yemen, in May, has never even been in a normal educational surrounding, and must take the regents exam, how well do you think he does? But, according to the eval system, if he fails it is the teacher’s fault. 3. A student shows up each day, does nothing, does not have a pen/notebook, does zero hw, fails every exam, is a disruptive force, makes ZERO effort. Calls/letters/emails home are never returned, the kid fails the regents exam, it’s the teacher’s fault? 4. students that have been socially promoted from grades K-8 shows up in your 9th grade integrated algebra class, they have the skills of a 3rd grader. Was passed along from grade level to grade level because the elementary school didn’t want to deal with him/her, OR was passed on by administrators or the YBdofEd, I’m supposed to make that up for him in 1 school year? Give me a break. 5. What is to stop an administrator from ‘targeting’ teachers by stacking the deck against them and giving them the worst combination of students, almost ensuring failure? There are countless examples just like this. These are not excuses, it is reality. The reason we have taken so long is that this new evaluation system targets teachers. The goal by the NYS Bd of Ed is simple, give towns/cities a way to shed salaries of veteran teachers, get more people out of the pension system, it’s incredibly obvious. Eventually, education will be a revolving door, much like a factory job, get the cheapest worker in the door, dump the qualified. Think of this: a doctor is graded on his patients. He has several that do not take their medication, do not follow his dietary/exercise regiments, that do not show up for appts, they die, the doc is to blame? Silly. This new eval system will lead to MANY lawsuits in 2-3 years…school buildings are also going to become VERY contentious environments: teacher vs student, teacher vs admin/guidance office, teacher vs teacher. When some kid that is absent several times a week will mean the difference between a good teacher keeping their job, that’s a problem. Interesting how rags like the Journal News and others have never reported WHY teachers are so up in arms over these new evals. Kudos to the NYC Bd of Ed for having the guts to refuse to agree to it. The majority of teachers are doing a very good job, I see it everyday. There are the 10%, just like on any job, that need to go- agreed. This eval system should have been about weeding them out, not to go after good teachers who are fighting against socio-eco issues that are completely out of their control. For many parents/students daily survival trumps the importance of an education. Also, the idea that catholic/charter schools offer a better education is incredibly misleading. Any parent that has to pay to send their kid to school is going to be on top of their child, ensuring that they get their work done, they are responsible. Parents who push to get their kids into a charter school are also on top of their students. Charter schools cherry pick their kids. They can also dump students on the regular schools for lack of performance/behavior. Let’s see these educators do better than me with my population. Same goes for a teacher @ Yonkers HS, let’s say their IB program. He’s a genius? No, he has the deck stacked in his favor. His stats wouldn’t be the same were he to teach a ‘regular’ class @ Roosevelt. Stick the teacher with the ‘poor’ stats @ Saunders/YHS and see their #’s go up. Same goes for NYC, the teacher @ Bronx Science would see their stats crushed in a normal HS. In the end these evals are a complete farce.

  3. About time a teacher admitted that more than half of public school students are un-educatable.