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Process for teachers to appeal an Ineffective rating

Process for teachers to appeal an Ineffective rating - chart

Two kinds of appeals

There are two different types of appeals in the new evaluation system: chancellor’s appeals and panel appeals. All teachers are entitled to a chancellor’s appeal. After talking to you and reviewing your forms and supporting documentation, the UFT will determine whether your case may be appropriate for a panel appeal.

Chancellor’s appeals

A hearing office from the DOE’s Office of Appeals and Review, the same office that hears U rating appeals, will hear your case. Unlike the U rating appeals process, which can drag on for months, the DOE hearing officer has 30 days to issue a decision in a chancellor’s appeal.

Panel appeals

The union can identify up to 13 percent of all Ineffective ratings each year to challenge on grounds of harassment or reasons not related to job performance.

These cases will be heard by a three-member panel comprised of a person selected by the DOE, a person selected by the UFT, and a neutral arbitrator.

Cases that the UFT selects for panel appeals may require a second meeting with your UFT intake advisor, and you will need to fill out additional forms.

All returning teachers covered by the new evaluation system should receive their year-end rating for the 2013–14 school year when they return to school on Sept. 2, according to the Department of Education.

For those who receive a rating of Ineffective for the first time, there is a new process in place to appeal the rating. Regardless of the reason you may feel the rating is unfair, the first steps you should take are the same.

You need to be proactive and organized. You must submit the specific, detailed reasons for your appeal as well as all of the documents you plan to use to support your arguments. A UFT representative will guide you through the steps.

The UFT recommends that you attend one of the two informational meetings it is holding at union headquarters in September to give you an overview of the new appeals process [see box at right for dates].

In addition, if you receive a year-end rating of Ineffective, call your UFT borough office immediately to request an appointment with an intake advisor in order to file your appeal.

Common Core tests not a deciding factor

For this year and next, teachers rated Ineffective or Developing based on state Common Core tests in English language arts and math in Grades 3 to 8 will have their ratings recalculated without the Common Core tests, according to changes to the evaluation system set forth in a law passed by the state Legislature in June. Those recalculated scores will be used in all decisions regarding termination and 3020a charges, retention and the granting or denial of tenure.

The legislation creating this safety net, which was signed by the governor, followed widespread criticism of the tests themselves and a botched implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards by the State Education Department.

In the recalculation of these teachers’ final ratings, the DOE will use other student assessments and exclude the Grade 3-8 Common Core tests. If a teacher’s local and state measures of student learning are both based on these Common Core tests, then observations and other measures of teacher effectiveness would make up 100 percent of the evaluation.

UFT informational meetings in September

The UFT will be holding informational meetings on Sept. 3 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and again on Sept. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon for teachers who received a final rating of Ineffective to inform them of the appeals process and what steps they need to take.

Both meetings will be held at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway in Manhattan. Pre-registration is required. You can register online from the event listings on the UFT website calendar.

The adviser will email you the necessary forms, worksheets and instructions prior to your appointment. Fill out all the forms you receive electronically and bring a hard copy of your completed forms and all your documentation with you to your appointment. The UFT has posted online a checklist of materials you should gather in preparation for your appeal. That will give you a good idea of the type of documents you should bring to your appointment.

At your appointment, your intake advisor will review your forms and documentation for completeness, objectivity and clarity. The intake advisor will let you know if you are missing any documents or if you need to flesh out information on your form.

The UFT must by Nov. 15 this year submit electronically to the DOE the forms and accompanying documentation for all teachers filing appeals. (Two weeks earlier, on Nov. 1, the union has to submit to the DOE a list of the cases that it intends to pursue as panel appeals.)

The DOE will begin holding its appeals hearings in late December or early January.

If you receive an Ineffective rating for the 2013–14 school year, you will be given a Teacher Improvement Plan this school year designed to pinpoint weaknesses and support you in addressing them. (Teachers rated Developing may also be given a Teacher Improvement Plan.) A trained Peer Validator, who is in most cases a fellow New York City public school teacher, will also observe you and review the fairness of your rating.

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