Voting to accept a contract which bases compensation on an eval system that doesn't exist is, well, problematic!
From district (NPS) perspective, foolish as well. Can't determine budget impact of merit compensation w/o info on merit systm
Only basis they can use is to "assume" that only X% can get bonuses and that Y% must have salaries frozen (no increment)
As far as I can tell, unless far more details have been articulated, this one's a disaster from both sides.And that seems to be the fundamental problem with the contract as proposed: there just aren't enough details about how it will actually work. As Dr. Baker notes, this is a potential disaster for both sides, because a poorly articulated agreement only leads to confusion later down the road.
Now let's compare Baker's assessment to that of the Star-Ledger's editorial board, led by the reformy Tom Moran:
Despite the huge investment, half of Newark kids drop out of school. And of those who make it to college, 90 percent need remedial help. Clearly, money is not the entire answer. Reform of the teaching profession is needed as well.No one said money is "the entire answer," but adequate funding is the necessary precondition to educating children in poverty. As I have articulated over and over - and as Moran seems willingly blind to understanding - New Jersey's commitment to adequate funding of education has yielded real results. More than a few scholars concur with this assessment.
As to teaching: no one has shown evidence that the problem with New Jersey's lowest performing schools is the quality of their teachers. In fact, the evidence is piling up that "bad" teachers are often just educators who are trying to teach the neediest students.
The contract provides generous increases averaging 14 percent over three years. It offers highly effective teachers $5,000 bonuses, another $5,000 if they agree to work in struggling schools, and yet another $2,500 if they teach subjects such as math and science, jobs that are harder to fill.Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The contract offers bonuses up to $5,000. Read it yourself and see the language. I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me the district could give a bonus of $20 and a coupon for lunch at Sizzler and still be within the language of the contract.
If teachers reject this contract, all that will be lost. In addition, the contract gives teachers a seat at the table when evaluations are done. Peer review like this is working well where it’s been tried. Teachers should remember that evaluations will be done one way or another, a mandate of state law. What this contracts adds is a right for them to participate.Yeah, here's the thing, Tom: the state law does not tie high-stakes decisions to the evaluations. You can be "effective" instead of "highly effective," and it doesn't change your salary. Rather than patronizingly telling teachers what they should "remember," go back to the TEACHNJ law and see if what I say is true. You'll also see that teacher participation in evaluations is actually a part of the law.
In any case, its hard for Tom to guarantee that this contract adds a right of participation when we don't even know what the evaluation system will be.
The contract freezes the pay of ineffective teachers, so yes, they have reason to vote against it.You know, because the power of "ineffective" teachers is so freakin' awesome. And because Tom has figured out a way - unlike every major researcher who's looked at the issue - to identify "ineffective" teachers with a high rate of precision.
But most teachers would lose money if this contract goes down.Am I the only one who feels like this is a scene out of The Godfather? That Tom is giving teachers an offer they can't refuse? Moran conveniently sidesteps the issue of retro pay, which will dog teachers well into their retirements. The fact is that Moran can't say for sure that Newark's teachers will do worse in mediation: he has no idea (neither do I, but at least I admit it).
The next likely step would be fact-finding, in which a mediator recommends pay increases based on what other districts have done. And here are the facts: Most districts in Essex County have given teachers a pay bump of only about 2 percent a year, less than half the average raise in this contract. In 127 districts, teachers got no salary raise whatsoever and zero retroactive pay, so Newark teachers could lose their $31 million in back pay, as well. The district has no legal obligation to pay that.
This contract is sweetened by $50 million in philanthropy, most of donated by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. If the contract is voted down, it will likely be moved to where it could do more good — perhaps to charter schools.Oh my lord. My sweet, sweet lord. The money could "do more good" in charter schools?! Where the students are segregated - especially in Newark? Against the will of the duly-elected school advisory board?
Tom, I know you know better than this when it comes to charters; you've even admitted it. But you disappoint me when you slide backwards. Come on, buddy - I know you can do better. I'm pullin' for ya', pal!
Based on what’s happened in other districts, and Newark’s financial woes, it’s not a good gamble to go into fact-finding. Union leaders saw that they could do better at the negotiating table. We hope their members do, too.OK, forget what I just said. You really are a lost cause, aren't you, Tom? I guess I should have known that when you called the teachers who have questions about this deal "liars", even though they've demonstrated they have a far deeper understanding of the issues at hand than you have. But just keep ignoring them and me and Bruce Baker and all the other people who come from a position of knowledge. Life's much easier when you've got your head in the sand.
Star-Ledger Editorial Board
ADDING: Tom Moran called the people who opposed this contract "liars." Now,in the comments to his latest piece, he's not so sure:
Some of this criticism is well-informed and reasonable.So we've moved from "liars" to "well-informed and reasonable," and all it took was a super-storm. That was easy.
Yes, teachers have worked without a contract for two years and would lose those steps. And yes, the salary guide was changed so that increases are spread more evenly across the entire career, rather than having big jumps after about eight years.So the NewCaucus folks were correct in bringing up these points? How nice that you see that now, Tom: are you willing to take back calling them "liars"?
ADDING MORE: More from the "liars" - the teachers who oppose the deal:
First, the proposed contract centralizes power in administrators and the superintendent, especially in regards to the yet-to-be-finalized evaluation system. Peer review, touted as a victory by AFT and NTU officials, only provides a non-binding advisory role for us, an essentially non-enforceable power when one examines the details of the contract. Selection criteria and management of peer evaluators is completely in the hands of the superintendent. All decisions about the quality and content of our evaluations is in the hands of building administrators and the superintendent. Without a real balance of power in the peer review process whereby NTU members have an actual voice in who our peer evaluators are and the ultimate fairness in our evaluation’s content and quality, we open up the possibility of subjective and flawed evaluations being used to withhold our increments and even takeaway our tenure if we receive two years of negative evaluations. [emphasis mine]So Tom Moran says these teachers don't get a say in their evaluations unless they take this deal. Except it looks like they don't get a say in their evaluations if they do take this deal.
But hey, these people are just "liars," right, Tom?