UFT releases details about proposed changes to teacher evals, Absent Teacher Reserve

The city teachers union released the most detailed look yet at the terms of a new nine-year contract agreement with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The 47-page document doesn’t cover raises or other compensation issues affecting all 100,000 members of the United Federation of Teachers. But it does address the tangle of rules governing a variety of new school and classroom initiatives aimed at encouraging innovation, leadership positions for teachers and a new process meant to reduce the city’s 1,200-member absent teacher reserve pool.

The union posted the document to its web site on Tuesday evening, a little less than 24 hours before the UFT’s 3,400-member delegate assembly meets to vote on whether to recommend the contract’s ratification by the entire union membership.

The Absent Teacher Reserve: Severance pay will be offered to excessed teachers based on how many years they’ve been in the system: One week of pay for ATRs with three to four years of work, and two weeks pay for four to six years of work. The top cash-out would be 10 weeks of pay for 20 years of service.

The contract states that ATRs who are removed by principals “for problematic behavior” are eligible for a new, expedited termination process.

The entire part of the contract dealing with ATRs would expire after two years, if either the city or the union doesn’t agree to extend it.

Case of the Mondays: Mondays will include 80 minutes for teachers to meet with each other for training. On Tuesdays, 75 minutes will be split up between “parent engagement activities” (40 minutes) and office work (35 minutes). Schools can opt-out of both days and make up the time through a different schedule if a large majority of teachers approve.

Parent engagement activities include everything from meetings and phone calls to emails and drafting newsletters.

More time for MOSL: Some of the professional work set aside for teachers will be designated as “MOSL windows,” referring to measures of student learning tests used to evaluate teachers. The time will be allotted so staff can grade MOSL tests, which are among the most controversial parts of this year’s evaluations, and have sparked protests from teachers and students.

Re-evaluating evaluations: Fourteen pages of the 47-page document are focused on dozens of changes to the city’s teacher evaluation system, which was rolled out this year. The changes will affect nearly every area of evaluations, including the way teachers are observed, how evaluations get converted from raw scores to final ratings, which teachers are included, which kinds of tests are used to evaluate student learning, and how student surveys (which won’t be required for evaluative purposes until the 2015-2016 school year) will be used. 

We’ll have more details on what’s in the first teachers contract in nearly 10 years tomorrow. In the meantime, if you see something that looks interesting, flag it for us in the comments section.

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