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King outlines path for arbitration in NYC's teacher eval dispute

State Education Commissioner John King released details of the arbitration process meant to settle a longstanding dispute over teacher evaluations in New York City. The process, outlined in state law, will determine the city’s teacher evaluation system for the next school year.

The first part of the process, pre-hearing arbitration, gets kickstarted as soon as the city and the United Federation of Teachers electronically post separate evaluation plans to the state’s Review Room website, where districts have uploaded their evaluation plans as they complete them. The state wants to see the specific areas under dispute and will review position papers — limited to 20 pages in length — in which each side argues its respective stands.

Those materials are due at 11:59 p.m. today. Both sides say they’ll submit before the deadline, rather than submit a jointly negotiated deal.

The documents won’t be made public. The state has promised confidentiality because the plans are considered “unresolved issues pertaining to ongoing collective bargaining negotiations,” which are protected from public scrutiny.

King and his evaluations team plan to circle back with both sides in a conference call in six days to discuss the plans and “develop a list of any issues that remain in dispute and must be resolved for implementation” next year.

The city and the union still have until May 29 to hammer out a deal on their own. After that, the two sides will present their cases to King in a hearing known as an expedited arbitration proceeding. King has until June 1 to make a decision and impose a plan for the 2013-2014 school year.

The complete release is below:

 COMMISSIONER KING RELEASES PRE-HEARING ARBITRATION PROCESS FOR DISTRICTS WITHOUT APPROVED TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATION PLAN

State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. released the procedures that have been shared with the parties and will be used by the State Education Department (SED) in the period prior to a hearing for the arbitration process established in the provisions of the newly enacted Budget for districts that did not have an approved annual professional performance review (APPR) plan on or before January 17, 2013 and do not have an APPR plan approved by the Commissioner by May 8, 2013 for the 2013-2014 school year. A total of 690 school district APPR plans have been approved. As of this date, the New York City School District is the only school district in New York State without an approved APPR plan for the 2012-2013 school year. Education Law §3012-c, as amended in the newly enacted Budget, now requires that these 2012-2013 APPR plans approved by the Commissioner, as well as any APPR plan determined by the Commissioner through this arbitration process, remain in effect until a subsequent plan is collectively bargained and then approved by the Commissioner.

The procedures are as follows:

• Absent a negotiated and approved APPR plan, each party must post at SED’s Review Room web portal a separate submission reflecting their positions for all applicable elements of the district’s APPR plan with appropriate position papers by May 8th at 11:59 p.m. Parties must also serve a copy of their Review Room submission and position papers to each of the parties at that time. No additional submissions, including responses, will be permitted after the May 8th statutory deadline.

• All Review Room submissions must include a list of provisions of the APPR that are in dispute. Each party will also be permitted to attach a written explanation of its positions on any such disputed provisions and/or any issues that need to be resolved for the parties to fully implement the district’s APPR plan.

• Position papers, which must be attached to Review Room submissions, will be limited to 20 pages.

• Because these documents reflect unresolved issues pertaining to ongoing collective bargaining negotiations, SED will consider all APPR submissions and position papers to be confidential.

• SED will schedule a pre-arbitration telephone conference on Tuesday, May 14th for the parties and the Commissioner, and/or his designee(s), to discuss the parties’ submissions and to develop a list of any issues that remain in dispute and must be resolved for full implementation of an APPR plan for the 2013-2014 school year and specify the details of arbitration proceedings in the event the parties continue to have no APPR plan approved by the Commissioner by May 29th.

• In the event that the parties fail to reach an agreement on the APPR plan by May 29, 2013, the Commissioner shall conduct an expedited arbitration proceeding.  Following such hearing, the Commissioner is required to render a final and binding written determination on or before June 1, 2013, which shall prescribe the standards and procedures necessary for the respective district to implement an APPR plan for the 2013-2014 school year, for a term prescribed by the Commissioner.

Detroit week in review

Week in review: The state’s year-round scramble to fill teaching jobs

PHOTO: DPSCD
Miss Michigan Heather Heather Kendrick spent the day with students at the Charles H. Wright Academy of Arts and Science in Detroit

While much of the media attention has been focused this year on the severe teacher shortage in the main Detroit district, our story this week looks at how district and charter schools throughout the region are now scrambling year-round to fill vacant teaching jobs — an instability driven by liberal school choice laws, a decentralized school system and a shrinking pool of available teachers.

The teacher shortage has also made it difficult for schools to find substitutes as many are filling in on long-term assignments while schools try to fill vacancies. Two bills proposed in a state senate committee would make it easier for schools to hire retirees and reduce the requirements for certifying subs.  

Also, don’t forget to reserve your seat for Wednesday’s State of the Schools address. The event will be one of the first times in recent years when the leader of the city’s main district — Nikolai Vitti — will appear on the same stage as the leaders of the city’s two largest charter school authorizers. For those who can’t make it, we will carry it live on Chalkbeat Detroit.

Have a good week!

– Julie Topping, Editor, Chalkbeat Detroit

STATE OF THE SCHOOLS: The State of the Schools address will pair Vitti with the leaders of the schools he’s publicly vowed to put out of business, even as schools advocates say city kids could benefit if the leaders of the city’s fractured school system worked together to solve common problems.

LOOKING FOR TEACHERS: The city’s teacher shortage mirrors similar challenges across the country but the problem in Detroit is exacerbated by liberal school choice policies that have forced schools to compete with each other for students and teachers.

Hiring efforts continue at Detroit’s main school district, which is planning another job fair. Head Start centers are also looking for teachers. Three new teachers talk about the challenges, rewards and obstacles of the classroom.

WHOSE MONEY IS IT? The state Senate sent a bill to the House that would allow charters to receive a portion of property tax hikes approved by voters. Those funds have historically gone only to traditional district schools.

UNITED THEY STAND: Teachers in this southwest Detroit charter school voted to join a union, but nationally, union membership for teachers has been falling for two decades.

COLLEGE AND CAREERS: A national foundation based in Michigan granted $450,000 to a major Detroit business coalition to help more students finish college.

High school seniors across the state will be encouraged to apply to at least one college this month. The main Detroit district meanwhile showed off a technical center that prepares youngsters and adults for careers in construction, plumbing and carpentry and other fields.  

STEPS TO IMPROVEMENT: A prominent news publisher explains why he told lawmakers he believes eliminating the state board of education is the right thing to do. An advocate urged Michigan to look to other states for K-12 solutions. And one local newspaper says the governor is on the right track to improving education in Michigan.

This think tank believes businesses should be more engaged in education debates.

LISTEN TO US: The newly elected president of a state teachers union says teachers just want to be heard when policy is being made. She wrote in a Detroit newspaper that it takes passion and determination to succeed in today’s classrooms.

A PIONEER: Funeral services for a trailblazing African American educator have been scheduled for Saturday.

Also, the mother-in-law of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, died in her west Michigan home.

FARM-TO-SCHOOL:  A state program that provides extra money to school districts for locally grown produce has expanded to include more schools.

BETTER THAN AN APPLE: Nominate your favorite educator for Michigan Teacher of the Year before the 11:59 deadline tonight.

An Ann Arbor schools leader has been named the 2018 Michigan Superintendent of the Year by a state group of school administrators.

MYSTERY SMELL: The odor from a failed light bulb forced a Detroit high school to dismiss students early this week.

EXTRA CREDIT: Miss Michigan encouraged students at one Detroit school to consider the arts as they follow their dreams. The city schools foundation honored two philanthropic leaders as champions for education.

And high school students were inspired by a former college football player. 

Struggling Detroit schools

The list of promises is long: Arts, music, robotics, gifted programs and more. Will Detroit schools be able to deliver?

PHOTO: Detroit Public Television
Detroit schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti answers questions at a community meeting in Detroit.

Arts. Music. Robotics. Programs for gifted kids. New computers. New textbooks. Dual enrollment programs that let high school students take college classes. International Baccalaureate. Advanced Placement.

They’re all on the list of things that Detroit schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti told a group of community members assembled in a Brightmoor neighborhood church that he would introduce or expand as soon as next school year.

Vitti didn’t get into the specifics of how the main Detroit district would find the money or partnerships needed to deliver on all of those promises, but they’re part of the plan for the future, he said.

The comments came in a question and answer session last month with students, parents and community members following Vitti’s appearance on Detroit Public Television’s American Black Journal/One Detroit Roadshow. The discussion was recorded at City Covenant Church. DPTV is one of Chalkbeat’s partners in the Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

Vitti has been appearing at community events since taking over the Detroit schools last spring. He is scheduled next week to join officials from two of the city’s major charter school authorizers, Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University, at a State of the Schools address on October 25.

 

Watch the full Q&A with Vitti below.