The United Federation of Teachers, the New York City branch of the American Federation of Teachers, has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to rule that teachers — and teachers alone — have the authority to make lesson plans for children in taxpayer-funded public schools.
The case was filed late last week in the Manhattan Supreme Court (which is actually the lowest-level court), according to EAGnews.org.
The union is staking its claim on a decision by an arbitrator last May. The arbitrator, Deborah Gaines, concluded that all teachers must create lesson plans but that “the specifics of the plan will be left to the professional judgment of the teacher.”
In her arbitration decision, Gaines denied a request by the United Federation of Teachers to prevent principals and other school officials from reviewing the lesson plans of individual teachers.
At the time, representatives from the New York Department of Education warned that teacher oversight is vital. Insufficient supervision from school officials “would, in fact, diminish the professionalism of teachers,” they argued, according to the New York Post. Also, any teacher who “merely strung together a list of song titles” could call it a lesson plan.
Several education advocacy groups have criticized the latest litigation.
“It’s outrageous that teachers believe they don’t need to share their lesson plans with the principal beforehand,” Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union, told the Post. “How is a principal supposed to ensure students are receiving a high-quality education?”
Jenny Sedlis, executive director of StudentsFirstNY, agreed.
“This lawsuit is union boss Mike Mulgrew’s latest attempt to gum up the works at the expense of our kids,” Sedlis told the broadsheet. “The only reason for this frivolous legal action is to protect the poorly performing teachers who don’t properly plan and aren’t serving our kids well.”
Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation also chimed in.
“In any other business, it would be considered par for the course for a supervisor to request to see an employee’s work product,” Burke told EAGNews. “This is no different.”
Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, is most famous for uncorking a clownishly hateful rant against critics of the Common Core Standards Initiative at a union convention in July.
“If someone takes something from me, I’m going to grab it right back out of their cold, twisted, sick hands and say it is mine!” the bald, menacing Mulgrew bellowed. “You do not take what is mine!”
The union boss also challenged opponents to a fight.
“I’m going to punch you in the face and push you in the dirt because this is the teachers’!” he threatened. (VIDEO: This Teachers Union President Will ‘PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE’ If You Don’t Like Common Core)
Mulgrew defended the union’s position on bureaucratic grounds. Teachers who have total authority over their lesson plans “helps to reduce the amount of paperwork required of teachers,” he told the Post.
School principals in New York City have their own union. For the time being, the principals union has not challenged the lawsuit because principals currently have legal access to teachers’ lesson plans.