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Nysut Ranking

Nysut Ranking

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Published by Rick Karlin

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Published by: Rick Karlin on Oct 30, 2012
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11/03/2012

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Overall Rank: 9thTier 1 (Strong)
NEW YORK
IntroductionPart IV: Taking a Closer Look–Teacher Union Influence Area
 AREA 1: RESOURCES AND MEMBERSHIP TIED FOR 1ST 
New York’s state teacher union hassubstantial internal resources and itsmembers benet from generous fundinglevels. Fully 98.4 percent of teachers areunionized in the Empire State, and the joint NEA-AFT New York State UnitedTeachers (NYSUT) brings in $536 annuallyper teacher (the 20th-highest revenueamong 51 jurisdictions). New York alsospends more of its budget on K–12education than do many other states (20.9percent; 20th). These funds, combinedwith local and federal dollars, amount toper-pupil expenditures of $15,862 annually(5th), of which a full 63.5 percent goestoward teacher salaries and benets(by a considerable margin the highestpercentage in the nation).
 AREA 2: INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICS 
 2
TIED FOR 13TH 
Over the past decade, New York’s teacherunions have been more involved in politicsthan those in many other states.
3
Theirdonations accounted for 0.68 percent oftotal contributions received by candidatesfor state ofce (22nd), and 5.0 percentof the contributions to candidates fromthe ten highest-giving sectors in the state(26th). They are also prominent donorsto state political parties, contributing3.4 percent of total party funds (5th).Moreover, unions were comparativelywell-represented at the Democratic andRepublican national conventions, witheighteen percent of New York delegatesidentifying as teacher union members(13th). 
 
NEW YORK 
OVERALL RANK: 9TH
1
 TIER 1 (STRONG)
STRONGERWEAKER
1. RESOURCES  AND MEMBERSHIP OVERALL 2. INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICS  3. SCOPE OF BARGAINING 4. STATE POLICIES  5. PERCEIVEDINFLUENCE 
9113242119
 
Overall Rank: 9thTier 1 (Strong)
NEW YORK
 AREA 3: SCOPE OF BARGAINING19TH 
New York is one of twenty-one states thatrequire collective bargaining
and 
allowunions to automatically collect agency feesfrom non-member teachers. But the statelimits the scope of that bargaining: Justfour of the twenty-one items examinedin our metric are required subjects ofbargaining: wages, hours, terms andconditions of employment, and grievanceprocedures. Of the remaining seventeen,New York prohibits bargaining over tenureand pensions, lets districts decide whetherto bargain over class size, and implicitlyincludes the other fourteen items in thescope of bargaining by not addressingthem in state law. The state prohibitsteacher strikes—though it must be notedthat some of the country’s largest andlongest teacher strikes have occurred there.
 AREA 4: STATE POLICIETIED FOR 24TH 
Many New York policies align withtraditional teacher union interests. Forexample, the state does not supportperformance pay for teachers andseniority is the sole factor in layoffdecisions. In addition, employers paya greater share of employee pensions(relative to teacher contributions) thanin many other states. However, teacherevaluations must be signicantly informedby student achievement, and teachersare automatically eligible for dismissalafter unsatisfactory ratings. Charter law isan equally mixed bag: the state caps thenumber of schools (but there is room forample growth under the gap), allows newand conversion charters (but not virtualschools), and partially (but not fully)exempts charters from state laws, districtregulations, and collective bargainingprovisions.
 AREA 5: PERCEIVED INFLUENCE  21ST 
Stakeholders in New York perceive teacherunions to be an active, but not necessarilyeffective, presence in policymaking.Respondents rank teacher unions amongthe most inuential entities in educationpolicy (along with the board of regents andeducation advocacy organizations). Butthey also note that the policies proposedby the governor in the latest legislativesession were mostly
not 
in line withteacher union priorities, and outcomes ofthe session were only somewhat in line.
4
 (Likely because the policy landscape is inux; see sidebar.) Further, they report thatstate education leaders only sometimesalign with teacher union priorities, and thatteacher unions need to compromise to seesome of their preferred policies enacted. 
OVERALL9TH 
New York is the birthplace of the teacherunion movement, and its state teacherunion ranks as one of the strongestin the country. Bargaining laws andteacher employment policies are union-favorable (especially those codied duringNew York’s decades of labor-friendlyleadership), and the union has signicantresources from its members. It falls short ofgarnering a strong reputation, however—likely because it faces stiff competitionfrom high-prole education reformers anda governor with extensive powers overeducation policy (see sidebar).
 
Overall Rank: 9thTier 1 (Strong)
NEW YORK
New York City is home to some of the biggest names in education reform—Joel Klein, Geoffrey Canada, Eva Moscowitz, andMichael Bloomberg, to name a few—yet in 2012, the most signicant progress in New York came from Albany. When the statepassed legislation in 2010 guaranteeing that it would implement a statewide high-quality teacher evaluation system as partof its $700 million Race to the Top application, Governor Andrew Cuomo had no idea that it would take education leaders solong to work out the details. But after more than two years, and with millions of dollars at risk, the New York State UnitedTeachers (NYSUT) and state education ofcials had yet to agree on what those evaluations would look like. So Cuomo gave thema deadline, and an ultimatum: Decide, or else he would decide for them.
5
After an all-night negotiating session, New York hadnew teacher evaluations: 40 percent of a teacher’s score would be based on student achievement (measured at least in part bygrowth on state standardized tests), and 60 percent on classroom observations and other subjective measures.
6
Cuomo calledthe agreement “a victory for all New Yorkers” and NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi conceded (or simply put on a brave face)when he said it is “good for students and fair to teachers.”
7
Iannuzzi’s comments were a stark contrast to those he made lessthan a year earlier when the state board initially proposed increasing the role of state test scores from the previously-mandated20 percent to up to 40 percent: “[the Board] chose politics over sound educational policy and the cheap way over the right way,doubling down on high-stakes tests of dubious worth.”
8
Perhaps Cuomo’s ultimatum changed his mind, or perhaps Iannuzzididn’t want to be left holding the bag if the state, and its teachers, lost their RTTT award.Not a week after the agreement, New York City Mayor Bloomberg released the performance rankings of 18,000 individualteachers (the city had been using value-added evaluations for four years). NYC’s United Federation of Teachers (UFT) had triedlegal avenues to block the disclosure, but to no avail, and now everyone in the city, and the nation, could see teachers’ namesand ratings in the
Wall Street Journal 
.
9
Outraged, the UFT turned to state lawmakers and Cuomo, pressing for legislation toprotect its members’ privacy. The NYSUT joined the fray, calling the release “a betrayal of the essential purpose of evaluations”and worrying that publicizing the ratings would undermine the new statewide system;
10
even Bill Gates wrote in a
New York Times 
editorial that “the surest way to weaken [evaluations] is to twist it into a capricious exercise in public shaming.”
11
Theresult: Cuomo proposed a bill that allowed parents to see individual teachers’ rankings but blocked districts from releasingthat information to the public—although the measure would not stop parents from sharing the scores themselves. Bloombergopposed the bill outright, while the NYSUT wanted even stricter privacy measures; in the end, each took what they could get aslawmakers overwhelmingly approved the measure. “I’m glad it’s over,” said Iannuzzi.
12
Considering the amount of time stateleaders and the union have spent debating the evaluations, so is everybody else.
FULL DISCLOSURE 

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