I'm omitting the first paragraph, as it details this teacher's particular salary situation. Suffice to say the teacher, with more than ten years of experience, will take a significant hit on pay - and that's not even counting the new state-mandated contributions to benefits, which will quadruple over four years.
None of the teachers I know are happy with this. It has been the consensus that we would all vote NO. Having peer evaluators has the potential advantage of us having empathetic people helping to decide how "effective" we are. The more likely scenario, however, will be that they pay retired teachers to do this ("When I was in the classroom, I had 40 kids in there...") , and drain the Zuckerberg money in those consultant fees. Or, they will pull teachers that are known to be mediocre at best out of the class to evaluate us. They will be bloated with their sense of importance and their revisionist memory of how THEY ran a class.
Also, there is a fair amount of bitterness over the whole compensation and future earnings issue. We are not happy. Add to that, it would seem that our own union might be trying to bully/scare us into ratifying this contract. My building rep had a meeting this morning. I did not make it because it was last minute and I had given 5 students passes to come in early for tutoring. From every account I heard, however, our rep told those who were there that if we don't vote for this proposal, the only thing left will be to strike - with no income, no benefits, etc. Now several people who were firm NO votes are concerned. They are waffling.
I am so saddened by all of this. I love my job, and I love my kids. I take a good deal more grief than my friends who teach in other districts take. I am [xx], and have never done anything but teach. What can I do? I have a lot of faith in my abilities in the classroom, so I am left seriously considering leaving Newark. My stomach aches at the thought of leaving. I would never claim to be the best teacher out there, but I am very good. I see significant growth in my kids every year, and I see where they go after a year with me. I have pride, and am very tired of being so disrespected by my government. If this passes, I think the odds will go sharply up, in favor of me leaving a district I really love. It makes me want to cry.
Thank you for continuing your honest analysis of the current state of public education. We appreciate it.
"... I had given 5 students passes to come in early for tutoring." Says it all, doesn't it? Even when it came to matters of grave personal concern, this teacher put his/her students first.
I don't know if this is the best deal Newark's teachers can get, but I do know one thing for sure: they deserve much, much better than what they are being offered. No one - not Chris Christie, not Cory Booker, not Chris Cerf, not Eli Broad, not Cami Anderson - will ever convince me otherwise.
We're pulling for you, teachers of Newark. Follow your hearts, and we'll take care of your backs.