It seems that either there is a spike in Part 83 hearings or I'm just hearing about them more. Anyway, I question the removal of somebody's state teaching license on "facts" based upon hearsay and corrupt investigations.
The New York State Bar Association wrote former Chancellor Walcott a letter in 2011 with their alarm at his lack of concern for teachers' due process:
RE: Automatic termination of teachers with a felony conviction
Part 83 (see below) defines, supposedly, "immoral conduct":
Immoral means not moral and connotes evil or licentious behavior. Amoral, nonmoral, and unmoral, virtually synonymous although the first is by far the most common form, mean utterly lacking in morals (either good or bad), neither moral nor immoral.
Shouldn't New York State look into the "proven" moral character claims of the past, now that the case of Debra Fisher has shown the incompetency of the investigative agencies in New York City? Public corruption and the incompetent investigations of agencies hired to find someone guilty when they are innocent happens all the time and is alarmingly wrong, in our opinion.
Doesn't the DOE believe anyone who blows a whistle on school corruption is "immoral"? Yes. Again, how is whistleblowing a public agency immoral?
What about people who are given 3020-a charges because they make the NYC DOE "look bad" (by putting DOE wrong-doing in the media). This becomes a "moral character" issue as well. We do not agree.
ADVOCATZ has assisted DOE employees write their briefs for the Part 83, and the outcome has been good, but the process seems to be arbitrary and capricious.
Betsy Combier, Editor
Moral character actions:
Allegations concerning the moral character of New York State teaching certificate holders and applicants are addressed pursuant to Part 83 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.
Filing a Moral Character Complaint (Teacher Discipline)
The Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA) investigates allegations concerning the moral character of individuals who hold or who are applicants for New York State teaching certificates, or about illegal practice of the profession by an uncertified person. Under the law, School District Superintendents must file a report with the Department upon knowledge that a certificate holder has been convicted of a crime or has committed an act that raises a reasonable question about the individual's moral character.
Complaints against certificate holders including teachers, administrators and school service workers, e.g., school counselors, should, in most cases, be filed with the Department only after the matter has been reported and addressed for remedial action by the appropriate authorities at the local level, including school building principals, superintendents of schools and State and/or local police.
Any person who knows that a certificate holder or an applicant for a teaching certificate has been convicted of a crime, or has committed an act which raises a reasonable question as to the individual's moral character, may file a written complaint with the Department. Complaints submitted must be signed and dated by the individual filing the complaint.
Complaints received by the Department will be reviewed pursuant to Part 83 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to determine the appropriate action.
Instructions for Completing the Complaint Form
To complain about instances of poor moral character by a teacher or school administrator certified by the State of New York, or about illegal practice of the profession by an uncertified person, you must complete a complaint form (18KB).
Type or print clearly in black ink. Describe your complaint as completely as possible. If you do not have a daytime telephone number, it is helpful if you can provide a number where a message can be left for you during the day. If you have any papers that support your complaint, please attach copies. Do not send originals. If you have physical evidence, it is important for you to retain that evidence in its original condition.
Be sure to sign and date your complaint and send it to the address below.
Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability
New York State Education Department
89 Washington Ave , Room 981 EBA
Albany, NY 12234
When your complaint is received, it will be assigned to an investigator who will contact you in writing or by telephone. You will have an opportunity to explain your complaint in more detail. If we do not have the authority to investigate your complaint, we will refer it to the appropriate agency.
Listed below are the relevant statutes and regulations pertaining to the fingerprint process.
Part 83 - Determination of Good Moral Character
Teacher Discipline Frequently Asked Questions
re-posted on NYC Rubber Room Reporter on October 1 2011:
Teacher Discipline and "Immoral" Conduct Outside of The Classroom - Where Do School Authorities Draw The Line?