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Monday, February 20, 2017

How does your child’s teacher influence academic performance?

by admin | Aug 14, 2012
What makes an effective teacher?

According to research teacher preparation and knowledge of teaching and learning, experience, subject matter knowledge and certification all establish teacher effectiveness.  Teacher preparation is important to their effectiveness in a classroom.  Good quality teacher preparation is important to student academic achievement.  Prepared graduates have a higher likelihood of remaining teachers and providing quality service to their students and to the schools they work in.

What is teacher-efficacy?

Teacher-efficacy is a teacher’s confidence in their ability to help students to learn.  Research shows that teacher-efficacy has an effect on his or her students’ academic performance.  It is important that teachers believe in themselves and in their abilities as a role model and educator, because it plays an important role on their student’s self-perception and performance.  It also helps a teacher communicate more effectively with students as well as with the overall perception of their student’s strengths and weaknesses.  Teachers with self-efficacy have a positive impact on their students’ academic performance.  It is something that all teachers need to build, because it is believed to have an important role on students’ academic performance.

Do teachers’ expectations of his or her students have an impact on students’ academic performance?

Student learning can be positively impacted by the encouragement of teachers to their students.  A teacher’s ideas and expectations of his or her students’ capabilities have an effect on student academic performance and achievements.  If teachers believe in their students, their students begin to believe in themselves.  Students take into effect the beliefs their teachers have on them and accept it as part of who they are and their abilities.  When students are viewed in a negative way by their teachers such as, being lazy, unmotivated and having no abilities, they take on those beliefs about themselves.  Many teachers may not be aware of their actions towards particular students in the classroom but their students become aware of them.  According to research finding, teachers’ beliefs translate into differential behavior toward their students.  For example, teachers who see particular students as highly motivated and highly capable would often make eye contact, smile and lean toward them, and praise and call on them more frequently.

Does teacher motivation affect student performance?

Motivation in infants and young children is very high.  Infants and young children have a big interest in their surroundings and environment.  Unfortunately, as young children get older, they become less interested and enthusiastic about their surrounding and environment.  Learning about their environment seems like an unwanted task and desire.

Student motivation is the desire and interest that a student has to be involved in their learning environment.  There are reasons that affect student motivation.  For example, an intrinsically motivated student looks at the learning activity as an enjoyable process and gets great satisfaction through the process of learning.  A student who is extrinsically motivated looks at the learning activity as something they have to do so that they can get a reward or not be punished.  It is also believed that motivation to learn is determined or affected by modeled behavior and communication of parents and teachers.  Children develop an idea about learning in their home setting.  Children are given a particular message from their homes based on their parents’ encouragement of exploring their world compared to children who are given the encouragement to explore the world around them.  Therefore, children without an encouraging and supportive home setting are less likely to deal with and handle failure, because of their feelings about no self-worth or competence.

Older children have a harder time accepting failure and seeing the positive side of trying to accomplish a goal, whereas, younger children see failure as a positive step to finishing or reaching a goal.  Teachers’ expectations of students also play a big role in motivation of student.  The rules and goals also play an important role on the thoughts and beliefs of the students.  It is important for teachers to view themselves as being able to stimulate student motivation to learn.  Tasks given to students can help increase motivation by being challenging and achievable, and showing students that the skills involved in a task can be used in the real world.  Verbally providing the reasons for the tasks to students is also helpful.  According to research there is a process called Attribution Retraining that includes modeling, socialization and practice exercises and is sometimes used with discouraged students.  Attribution retraining provides students with focus on a task rather than the fear of failure.

Karen Oquendo, M.S. is the Center Director at PRIDE Learning Center in West Los Angeles.  Karen is a Credentialed Special Education Teacher and Reading Specialist.  Prior to working at PRIDE Learning Center, Karen worked as a Special Education Therapist for New York City Department of Education.   You can visit the PRIDE Learning Center website at or email Karen directly at

Sunday, February 19, 2017

NYC Department of Education Human Resources Manager Peter Ianniello Sent 400 Names, Social Security Numbers and Other Private Information Via Email on February 15, 2017

re-posted from

Mr. Ianniello, a cabaret singer wanna be, may pay dearly for his office error., sending out via email 90 pages with the names, social security numbers, and other private information of 400 paraprofessionals who are currently matriculated at various colleges in the New York City area . All the people whose private information was sent out are students in a Career Training Program (CTP) to help them improve their skills.

Peter Ianniello

Peter Ianniello
NYC Department of Education Human Resources Manager Peter Ianniello Sent 400 Names, Social Security Numbers and Other Private Information Via Email on February 15, 2017 to each of the 400 paraprofessionals listed.

He made a big mistake.

We know that the NYC Department of Education is not very good at keeping private information, private. The way they treat any information is random. If they decide they want to keep something secret, they will. If someone files a Freedom of Information request for public records at a school, like a personnel file, number of students who graduate, etc., the requester of this information will most probably wait two or more years to get the data. Personal whims matter, evidently.

On February 18, 2017, I received a call from a paraprofessional in the DOE Career Training Program at 65 Court Street in Brooklyn. Peter Ianniello is in charge, a man who really wants to be a cabaret singer. Paraprofessionals who work for the Department must, according to new rules in place since September 2016, matriculate into a degree bearing program after completing 60 credits as part of the Career Training Program. (CTP).

The problem is, a para told me, the rules keep changing all the time, and many are disgusted. Paras must do 100 hours in 5 years, and pay $30 for each two hours., I was told.

This para was very upset that she and 400 other paras had received an email with 90 pages of names, social security numbers, matriculation information with course work, money paid, and schools at which the matriculation occurred.
What they were supposed to receive were the new rules for the Career Training Program. Below is the email sent by Adrienne L. Gilyard at the NYC DOE Scholarship, Incentives and Special Programs. The attachment does not have the 90 pages, only the first page, broken into 3 parts, with the names and social security numbers redacted:

From: Gilyard Adrienne
Date: Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 11:30 AM
Subject: Letters of Matriculation

Please see attached correspondence and respond as indicated.

Kindest regards,
Adrienne L. Gilyard, MSA
Tuition/Default Coordinator
Scholarship, Incentives and Special Programs
NYC Department of Education
65 Court Street, Room 508
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Office 718-935-4272
Fax 718-935-4262


Peter ianniello realized the huge mistake and sent out a letter telling the 400 paras to kindly delete the email containing personal information, and "sorry that this may have caused you some concern". He added that he has set up all 400 paras with Legal Shield to protect their identities. Do you hear desperation? I do. Paras that believed him, called Legal Shield and were told that no information has been received and they should call some other time.

Adrienne Gilyard also sent an email urging everyone to delete the email sent in error.

Here is the email Ms. Gilyard SHOULD have sent:
CTP Matriculation Letter

Then there are the hiring practices at the have to know someone, or have to prove your worth by keeping any wrong-doing secret. Managers and principals are required to keep their schools and underlings "doing well". failure means your job. Yet hiring practices often use the same managers, even if they have proven themselves to be unethical or worse. Take NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina, for instance. In 2000 I asked her where the $225,000 was that the children at PS 6 (where my youngest daughter was a student) and PS 198 were supposed to get from the Annenberg Challenge For the Arts. She verbally attacked me (I wish I had taped it!) , I reported her, and she was removed as principal in 2001. She then became Superintendent of District 15 in Brooklyn, where she made people angry, then she was moved to Deputy Chancellor of the Department, when she was exposed as part of two scandals. She was told to retire or be fired. She retired. Then Bill de Blasio, NYC Mayor, brought her back and appointed her Chancellor. What the heck?

So, most administrators and managers fudge the data. A class has bad grades? After the teacher is sent to a rubber room on his/her way to a 3020-a trial, grades are changed in order to reflect "improvement" and/or excellent work. The people who know that this goes on but say nothing, stay in their jobs, and get promoted up the ladder. They are the "in" crowd. Until, that is, they whisper the truth to someone, and then they are whisked away to a rubber room.

That is exactly where Peter Ianniello belongs.

The paras are preparing Notices of Claim. Stay tuned, DOE!  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

NY City Tenured Teacher and Former Rubber Roomer Philip Nobile Gives Up The Fight and Agrees To Irrevocably Retire - Not

Philip Nobile
Re-posted from

This story is true, but unbelievable, that "fighter Phil", a well-known advocate for challenging the New York City Department of Education for every lie they tell, agreed to sign an irrevocable retirement agreement on October 7, 2016, in front of a 3020-a arbitrator. He then changed his mind, and told the DOE he wanted a full hearing, and the DOE says "no", they are not accepting his rescission.

Betsy Combier and NYSUT Attorney Chris Callagy
NY City Tenured Teacher and Former Rubber Roomer Philip Nobile Gives Up The Fight and Agrees To Irrevocably Retire - Not
by Betsy Combier, Editor, and NYC Rubber Room Reporter

I could not believe my eyes when I saw Phil Nobile's lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court. I met Phil in the rubber Room at 25 Chapel Street, after my friends Polo Colon and David Pakter sneaked me in to talk with the teachers about their re-assignment. I started visiting this rubber room in 2004, but met Phil around 2007.

When you meet Philip Nobile you see that he is a fighter

He spoke at the Panel For Educational Policy (2015)
See my posted articles about Philip Nobile
Principals Pressure Teachers To Cheat in New York City
UFT President Randi Weingarten Wants Whistleblower Protection For Teachers
Changing Grades and Cheating in NYC: The Saga of Lies at Cobble Hill School of American Studies and Current Chancellor of the NYC DOE Carmen Farina by Philip Nobile 5/21/2015
Update on Retaliation Against All Whistleblowers is The Name of the Illegal Game In New York City 8/15/2012
Brooklyn Local Superintendent and Principal Allegedly Cheated on Regents Tests, Then Vindicated After a Second Investigation 7/1/2005
Retaliation Against All Whistleblowers is the Name of the Illegal Game in New York City

Phil was found guilty of misconduct after a 3020-a in 2010.

So when I saw that he agreed to give up the fight on October 7, 2016, and sign a stipulation that he would irrevocably retire after his NYSUT Attorney Chris Callagy and NYC Department of Education offered a deal, I did not believe it. What happened, I don't know. I know his Attorney Chris Callagy well, having sat in 3020-a Arbitration hearings with him as an observer since about 2004. Chris has a cult following of UFT members who consider him the best of all the NYSUT Attorneys. He is very smart and charming, but never would I believe that Phil Nobile would cave to Chris' charms and give up the fight to stay working for the DOE, if that is indeed what happened.

My guess is that Phil was convinced he would be terminated by Arbitrator Mary O'Connell and he would rather retire under charges and have his teaching certificate permanently removed, than be fired. His Specifications are harsh, but he should never have agreed to irrevocably retire. He will never be able to sue the Department or fight any untruths in these charges. Also, getting the Department to agree to undo a signed stipulation is like telling someone we are going to do root canals on all your teeth without anesthesia.

I have been successful in getting a teacher's case back onto the calendar after the charged teacher signed a settlement to resign, so it can be done. Just not the way that Phil did it, in my opinion.

I have spoken about this giving up, and have written on my blogs about how a person who gives up and does not fight 3020-a charges will forever be guilty of the charges. And a Stipulation always prohibits the charged party from suing after signing. Therefore, if you sign a stipulation to resign or retire under charges, you will never work for the Department or any of its' vendors again. Your signing the agreement states that you give up your right to fight, and you are guilty.

Here is Phil's Stipulation of Settlement.

Evidently as soon as he thought about what he had done, Phil decided it was not the right move, and he immediately contacted Chris Callagy the Tuesday following (next business day, Monday was a holiday) to rescind his agreement and move forward to a full hearing.

The Department said no way, despite an email from the Director of NYSUT's New York Office Claude Hersh, the AFFIDAVIT of Phil, and of Chris Callagy. No reason was given.

Phil hired lawyer Leonard Shrier to pursue getting the 3020-a hearing back onto the calendar. Shrier filed the Complaint on or about January 27, 2017.

Shrier states in the Complaint that a Verified Notice of Claim was filed on January 20, 2017. This means that Shrier filed the Complaint a week later, violating the rule that anybody who sues after filing a Notice of Claim must wait 30 days:

On the New York State Court website:

After you have notified the City of the claim and obtained a number, you must wait 30 days to allow the City time to review your claim and perhaps settle with you. After the waiting period, you may start an action in Court. However, the action must be started within one year and ninety days of the time of the loss, damage or injury for the above agencies. Even though the Claim Number comes from the Comptroller, the Defendant who is being sued is: City of New York, Attn: Corporation Counsel, 100 Church St., 5 Fl., New York, NY 10007

 I'm not a lawyer, but I read the law. What happened, Mr. Shrier? The Corporation Counsel did not bring that up in her Motion To Dismiss, papers - see here and here as well - so maybe the judge will ignore the violation of the 30-day rule. Shrier also inexplicably gave Superintendent Karen Watts another name in the caption - Karen "Scott". He apologized to the Court, said he would amend the Complaint with the right name. Hope so!

The issue here is, when do you give up a fight to save your job?

I think a deal can be signed if:

1. You are guilty as charged.
2. You are ready to retire, you will get full pension benefits, and you do not mind your NY State Certification being taken away from you, permanently.
3. you are moving out of State and have another position.

If #1-3 do not apply to you, then I would not think if resigning or retiring and letting the DOE change my career without my consent.

Phil? What happened?

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

A Brooklyn teacher whose accusations led to a massive 2004 grade-fixing probe is back at war with the Department of Education.
Phil Nobile is fighting to keep his teaching gig despite being cited in 2015 for harassing a former principal — a claim he denies, according to court papers.
Nobile made headlines more than a decade ago when he claimed administrators at Cobble Hill School of American Studies, where he worked at the time, were doctoring exam grades and passing undeserving students.
Amid a lengthy investigation, then-Assistant Principal Theresa Capra and Principal Lennel George were fired and the school’s reputation was left in tatters.
But a subsequent probe in 2007 by the Special Commissioner of Investigation found that the initial inquiry — led by infamous former NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella — was flawed and Nobile’s claims were meritless.
The SCI report exonerated Capra and George, asserting that Nobile manufactured the cheating claims because Capra gave him a bad review.
Soon after, Nobile was accused of corporal punishment and vengefully flunking students. He was assigned to a rubber room where he remained for four years before being placed in District 14 in Brooklyn as a substitute, according to court papers.
Nobile denied the charges against him and claimed he was targeted for his campaign to expose grade doctoring.
The DOE moved to fire Nobile last year, asserting in court papers that he was arrested in New Jersey for harassing Capra.
Nobile told The Post Thursday that the harassment consisted of him including Capra on an e-mail chain related to the cheating accusations and that he was never arrested.
“She decided to bring that e-mail to the police,” he said, adding that she filed a complaint.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Why Observation Reports Should Not Be Used To Terminate a Tenured Employee by Betsy Combier

re-posted from           

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

In New York City, teacher tenure is public policy. Tenure gives an employee the right to a due process arbitration hearing on his/her job before anyone can terminate or discipline him/her. A tenured person is not an employee at will, nor is a tenured position protected "for life", as opponents to tenure rights say. Tenured educators get terminated at 3020-a. Alot. Especially if you have a NYSUT Attorney, or a private attorney who does not have extensive experience with the NYC Panel, which is full of bizarre arbitrators and unethical DOE Attorneys.

Just yesterday I was at the 3020-a hearing offices for a new case I was hired to work on, and I wanted to say hello to teacher starting a 3020-a for incompetency who had called me to get some pointers on how to win his case. His NYSUT Attorney, Lori Smith, was sooooo concerned that I might have told him something useful, like about Elentuck v Green, that when she saw me near the room where the Respondent teacher was standing, she immediately went in and closed the door so that I could not say anything to the teacher. So sad. I would like to think that defenders of teachers are all warm and friendly, but unfortunately this is not the case with NYSUT. Lori - there is always the telephone!!!

I believe in tenure rights and that Tenure matters. In all parts of the world right now there are people, good people, who should be in the classroom teaching but are not, because an administrator, parent, child, or other person has lied about the character or job performance of the teacher in order to get the employee fired or removed from his/her job. This is harmful to the children (especially in pre-k to grade 3), who need to know that their teacher is there, ready to be with them all day, every day. Children need to trust this relationship and the person who will replace their parent or guardian. That's why tenure matters.

The first tenure statute in New York state was enacted in 1897 — 70 years before public-sector unions had a right to bargain here — in recognition of society’s deep interest in safeguarding its teachers from unfair firing and political pressure. But current trends in employment in the United States dictate a very different approach to hiring/firing in educational settings. The current trend is to apply a business model of education, where the employer must get rid of 10% of the weakest links in the production line in order to stay viable. This line of reasoning was promoted by GE CEO Jack Welsh, in his book “Winning”:
"To attract the right personnel, Welch instituted a strategy that earned him the moniker "Neutron Jack" and made him a favorite ally of Mike Bloomberg and former Chancellor Joel Klein. Walsh had GE cut all businesses in which the company could not dominate the market in first or second positions. Next, he had managers fire the bottom 10% of GE employees, while he fired the bottom 10% of management. Welch's housecleaning cleared away layers of bureaucracy that had built up at the organization and made way for a quicker flow of ideas."

So, some administrator/CEO, or Human Resources Manager believes an an employee is in the lowest 10% of the workforce, and goes after his/her termination - based on what? Some kind of data? What kind? How does the manager know that the employee is in the lowest 10%? This is the key problem with current human resources policy and procedure for any Department employee. The Department decides that someone is no good based upon whether or not he/she is a snooper, saw some AP or principal taking money that wasn't theirs, saw an administrator hurting a child, reported the administrator for not having service providers for special education children, etc. Rarely is anyone's career destroyed for a valid reason. Getting removed from your job does not have anything to do with your actual performance in the classroom. Trust me on this, I've tried my best to research every case in 3020a or the Courts since 2000.

I see harm in this approach because under the umbrella of getting rid of 10% of the workforce, every employee fears for his/her job on a daily basis, thinking that he/she will "be next". Mayor Mike Bloomberg believed in this and tried to implement this management strategy in 3020-a proceedings, and that is where we are at now. I believe that fear should not be used in any workplace to keep employees in line and under control. Vigilance, yes. Fear, no.

The New York City Department of Education has given administrators the right to go after anyone who they feel is subpar, or slows down the assembly line of the widgets' education. (students = products). This approach lends itself to a generalized feeling by teachers that they cannot be creative. Teachers are mindful that they have limited time to get the curriculum done and learned, and if they don't do this, their jobs will be terminated. But many education scholars urge educators to be creative.

The New York City gives educators no room for individual initiative, and this is a key problem. All educators feel that their expertise is not respected, and are further insulted by observers who know less than they do, or nothing at all about the subjects taught, and yet write/say that the pedagogy is terrible. What an insult to an educator, especially one who is tenured and has spent more than 10 years successfully doing the job?

Bloomberg was frustratingly blocked from his goal of getting any and all teachers, Guidance Counselors and school staff considered subpar for any reason by a member of the administration, out of his/her job. However, the general public and certainly those who work on 3020-a arbitration hearing have, over the past few years, become concerned that the pendulum has begun to swing in the direction of the Department in their effort to get teachers out of their schools and their jobs despite public policy and the mandate of tenure law to have a fair hearing and make sure the charged employee has due process. 

These proceedings are controlled by Education Law3020-a, and employees charged under this law must be given a full hearing if requested, so arbitrators must - at least are supposed to -seek the facts in a case, not simply the opinions of the administrators, in order to honor and protect tenure rights of the accused. But arbitrators on the NYC Panel often do not listen to the facts, and terminate because an administrator looks good and talks well. If the DOE witness is credible, and the charged employee does not use the arguments cited in this post, does not testify, or  does not present wrong-doing by the DOE witnesses, there is a good chance that termination will be the decision. The DOE gives their witnesses a script to testify to, and some witnesses are very good at testifying to the script, and others are not so good. A good defense team for the charged employee can win nonetheless, with a good argument and/or facts to prove the DOE witnesses lied.

A decision at employment arbitration must not rest on malicious prosecution alone. But the NYC Department of Education would like you to think that observations, which are subjective nonfinal opinions, can, indeed, be the sole basis for removing an employee from his/her job due to the nebulous concept known as "incompetence". How does an observation prove incompetence? Sorry, it doesn't work for me. I don't get it. If a principal, assistant principal, peer validator, Field Supervisor has the job of finding you, a teacher, incompetent or abusive to children, their perception of everything and anything that you do is bad, "proof" of wrong-doing/ineffective pedagogy, or whatever they need to bolster their pre-determined decision to get you removed from the school or your job, permanently.

But there is nothing objective about a perception. What you see is filtered through your opinion of someone. If you do not like someone, or you are told horrible things about a person before you meet him/her, and your opinion is clouded by this information, whether or not you are aware of it. This is called Implicit Bias, and I have posted articles about this phenomenon:

Implicit Bias. Everyone Has It

An observation by an administrator is supposed to be a helpful part of the evaluation of a teacher's performance and intervention and remediation should not come as an afterthought. From a historical perspective, teachers/administrators have helped teachers before anyone asked them. It was called collegial support and camaraderie. Today, the buzzwords are different, and classrooms are hostile arenas filled with misinformation from administrators of pedagogical errors and with hidden agendas from administration, peers, and parents.

Elentuck v Green

Even the most elaborate procedural safeguards in a statutory or contractual disciplinary system are useless if a teacher's conduct is measured against subjective standards, as done in an observation.

Thus, observations are meaningless for purposes of discipline. Any observation report basically informs an arbitrator of nothing except that an administrator/evaluator liked/did not like what he/she saw. If there is any bad faith then the subjective views must be discarded as invalid. What a person, let's say a principal, filled with malice "sees" can be far different from the reality of what the student or teacher is actually doing.

Facts matter, and according to the kings County Supreme Court and the Second Department Appellate Division, there are no facts or statistical data in observations, only nonfinal opinions. (See Elentuck v Green, 202 A.D.2d 425; 608 N.Y.S.2d 701; 1994 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1956, 1994)

Observation reports are not public or business records and cannot be the sole evidence used to support any penalty at an employment arbitration hearing dealing with incompetency. I have written about this and my team uses this at all of our incompetency hearings. Opinions of a person whose goal is to get an employee terminated cannot be validated without student outcomes, results, data. A claim of “incompetency” must have supporting information that proves students in Respondent’s class did not learn what they were supposed to learn.

Yet in NYC, the Department of Education attorneys ignore this, and state that any student outcomes are "irrelevant". The only information an arbitrator needs, these attorneys say, is what they see in the observation, and whether or not the teacher had a good lesson plan (or a Guidance Counselor wrote a timely assessment of the child(ren)).

Any school administrator who sees that an employee is, according to what they "see", subpar, is given the right to create whatever papers they need to terminate this employee. It's a simple straight line: you don't like an employee and believe this employee to be a nuisance, so you use observations to create a paper trail and get the employee terminated. What is so frightening is that no one holds the administrators accountable for making up "fake news", and the UFT/NYSUT does not stop this from occurring, either.. In fact, the rubber rooms were invented to keep those "subpar" employees out of their schools so that the administration and the Department's legal services could create the necessary paperwork to "prove" that the employee is guilty of incompetent service. In this scenario the employee is guilty and must prove his/her innocence - exactly the opposite of the law and due process.This is not tenure support, folks, this is employment at will.

The opinions of an administrator who wants the Respondent removed from the school cannot be the only determining factor in any termination hearing nor in handing down penalty. As Arbitrator Joel Douglas wrote in Matter of Great Neck U.F.S.D. v M.H. (SED #5,043, July 20, 2008, Hearing Officer Joel Douglas):

“The record demonstrates that for a teacher to be charged with incompetence, and for the Specifications to be sustained, the teacher must fall below the minimum level of the competency expected of a reasonable teacher…That the Respondent did not live up to (her Supervisor’s] expectations does not de facto establish a degree of incompetency…."

Arbitrators must not decide 3020-a cases only on hearsay, either. N.Y.C.
Arbitrator Josh Javits ruled in a decision
“It would be unacceptable to accept the hearsay evidence of an individual as conclusive proof of an allegation over the live testimony of a teacher with fourteen (14) years of teaching. The Respondent has the right to confront and challenge the testimony of her accuser, and to have the accuser’s credibility tested. Absent this right, the Hearing Officer cannot accept that hearsay evidence alone satisfies the Department’s burden of proof with respect to this issue.”

In DOE v. Rykman, SED File No. 17,731 (Bluth, 2012), at 49, Arbitrator Bluth wrote:
“It is well established that a disciplinary charge pursuant to Education Law 3020-a cannot be sustained when the only evidence to support a charge is uncorroborated hearsay.”

Certainly any of the phrases such as "failures in the nature of incompetent and inefficient service, neglect of duty, unwillingness and/or inability to follow procedures and carry out normal duties, and engaging in misconduct" do not define the word "incompetency" itself, although some forms of "misconduct", "unwillingness", "insubordination", etc., can be classified into categories of "unprofessional" or "improper" behavior within a properly made argument and context.

The above cited vague definitions used to clarify standards of conduct have been applied to other vague concepts such as maintaining "professionalism", and providing an "environment conducive to student learning". These subjective-relative ideas have no standard upon which to rely, leaving a void as to what penalty, if any, should be given which would be "adequate" under the circumstances presented.

Elentuck makes clear that that lesson observations are not “statistical or factual tabulations of data".
Significantly, if material such as lesson observations is non-factual, as Elentuck specifically held, observations are of little value to a 3020-a hearing on incompetency.

Observations are solely subjective and must be considered as such at 3020-a hearings. These reports are not proof of anything.

Why Tenure Matters
Teacher tenure is under attack in New York state and nationwide. In July 2014, two lawsuits were filed — Davids v. New York and Wright v. New York — that claim New York's tenure laws deprive students of their right to a sound basic education. The lawsuits specifically attack the tenure process, the use of seniority in layoffs, and the three-year probationary period for new teachers, which they claim is too short. Former news anchor Campbell Brown, fronting for a shadowy group calling itself the Partnership for Educational Justice, is bankrolling the Wright case. Brown, who won’t disclose her financial backers, makes the unsupported claim that tenure is responsible for low student achievement.
The New York state lawsuits were filed after a lower-court ruling in the case of Vergara v. California gutted that state’s tenure laws. NYSUT attorneys believe the California ruling will be overturned on appeal — but meanwhile it has emboldened copycat suits across the country. Bankrolled by the wealthy elite and anti-union forces, these attacks represent an all-out assault on the fundamental labor rights of working people.

NYSUT is mounting an aggressive and vigorous defense of tenure both in the courts and the court of public opinion.

What’s really important

New York state is widely recognized for its exemplary teaching force and has earned high marks for its rigorous standards and credentialing requirements — typically ranking among the nation’s top ten. Tenure is just one of the safeguards New York state has put in place to ensure every student has an effective teacher. A teacher must earn tenure after three years or more of effective teaching, oversight and evaluation. A teacher then is entitled to a fair hearing before being fired — a basic due process right. Focusing on a due process right that is used by a very few is a distraction from what must be our main priority: ensuring every child has an effective teacher. We need to focus on what helps students the most: recruiting and retaining quality teachers and providing the resources to help every child succeed.

Three key points about tenure

New York state’s rigorous teaching standards provide many safeguards that ensure children have good teachers. Tenure is one of them.

Tenure is a safeguard that ensures good teachers can speak up for what students need.
Tenure is a safeguard that protects good teachers from unfair firing — a basic due process right.
Tenure is working in New York state. The process has been reformed to be faster and more cost efficient, with most cases now resolved within five months. Meanwhile, New York state’s many safeguards for teacher quality ensure that its teaching force is among the best credentialed, most effective in the nation.
Tenure is a safeguard that ensures good teachers can speak up for their students.

Tenure helps safeguard children's right to an effective education because it provides teachers freedom to advocate for their students without fear of reprisal. Because tenure exists, teachers in New York state can speak out freely on issues such as over-testing, cuts in academic programs, elimination of art, music and language and inappropriate placements for students with disabilities.
Without tenure, working under the constant threat of arbitrary firing would have a chilling effect on a teacher’s professional judgment and create an environment that would erode, not enhance, educational quality.
There is no evidence that teachers’ employment rights have anything to do with student achievement. Teachers in the wealthiest districts have the identical due process and seniority rights as teachers in the poorest districts — yet students in wealthy districts have much higher graduation and college acceptance rates. The real factor contributing to these differences in achievement is poverty.
Students in our poorer districts have the greatest educational needs but are given the least resources, with our richest districts spending 180 percent as much on education as our poorer districts do.
Tenure is essential in empowering teachers to make the case that all students deserve an effective education — not just those who happen to be the children of hedge-fund millionaires. Attacking tenure, and seeking to make teachers vulnerable to being fired at will is a smokescreen for failing to tackle the real reason why students struggle: poverty.
Blaming tenure for low student performance is as illogical as it is inflammatory.
Student safety is paramount and it is safeguarded under the state’s tenure laws. Teacher-supported changes to the law in 2008 mean that any teacher, tenured or not, will automatically lose both job and teaching license if guilty of certain sexual offenses — without recourse to a hearing.
Blaming low-student achievement on teacher tenure —a meritless claim not supported by any evidence — is like blaming the due process granted to police officers for crime or blaming the due process granted to firefighters for fire.
If the wealthy elite truly cared about advancing student achievement they would partner with parents and teachers to achieve state budgets that provide equitable funding for all schools. They would oppose the state's tax cap, which worsens constraints on local communities. Instead, the wealthy elite and corporate forces are missing-in-action in these critically important battles. Teachers and parents stand together in calling for a renewed focus on learning and for the resources our students need to be prepared for college and career.
Tenure is a safeguard that protects good teachers from unfair firing — a basic due process right

Though it's been on the books for more than a century, New York state's tenure laws remain wildly misunderstood. Tenure, simply put, is a safeguard that protects good teachers from unfair firing. Once a teacher is granted tenure — a right that must be earned after three years or more of service, oversight and evaluation — a teacher cannot be fired without a fair hearing. Tenure does not mean a job for life. It means simply that a teacher has the right to a fair hearing on charges that could end a career. This is fundamental due process — an American value enshrined in our Bill of Rights and one that is not reserved only for the wealthy elite.
Tenure must be earned. It is not automatic. During a teacher’s three-year probation, school officials carefully evaluate that teacher's job performance. Upon completion of that evaluation, the local school board then votes whether to grant tenure — which simply means the teacher cannot be fired without a fair hearing.
Tenure is a safeguard that protects teachers’ civil rights. Tenure ensures good teachers cannot be fired for reasons of race, gender, age, religion, handicapping condition or sexual orientation. It ensures that good teachers cannot be fired because of cronyism or local politics. It ensures they cannot be fired for pregnancy. Before tenure was in place, teachers could — and did — lose their jobs for arbitrary and politically motivated reasons, or for no reason at all.
Seniority rights, which like tenure are a fundamental employment right, ensure that when layoffs are unavoidable, they are conducted fairly and objectively. A system based on seniority guards against abuses by those who would use ‘layoffs’ as another way to fire those who advocate too fiercely for their students or are at the top of the pay scale.
The obscene, profit-motivated attacks on the rights of working people in places like California and New York are why America no longer has the world's largest middle class. Fundamental rights for workers are essential to a decent standard of living in New York state. And fundamental rights for teachers are essential to fairness and defending what students need.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The 2016 "Who Are You Kidding Award" Goes to Carmen Farina (for the Second time) and Mayor Bill de Blasio

Is anything the Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Farina says or writes, true?
Michael Goodwin, NY POST, February 12, 2017:
The rule of holes applies to Mayor de Blasio: When you’re in one, drop the shovel.
Not Mayor Putz. He keeps digging.
Up to his eyeballs in criminal investigations over slush funds and favors to big donors, de Blasio is planning to raise even more money to pay his defense lawyers.
Get this — his law firm is also a lobbyist that reportedly represents dozens of real-estate developers with business before City Hall.
The mayor says the firm, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, has been racking up costs for months but has not been paid a cent. That means he is deep in debt to a law-firm lobbyist.
There are other potential conflicts, too. Is the mayor getting a favorable fee rate? Why would anyone not a personal friend pay his legal bills?
Remember, too, that some fund-raising at the heart of the criminal probes allegedly took place in Kramer Levin’s office.
The mayor keeps digging just as he is about to meet with federal prosecutors. He calls the meeting “voluntary,” but that’s probably only technically true.
The meeting could be a last chance to stave off criminal charges. Which is why it makes zero sense for him to add to the smell of corruption with his sketchy legal-bill scheme.
Then again, he is who he is.

De Blasio touts record-high public school graduation rate

The Latest Scandal For Chancellor Carmen Farina: Renewal High School Plans Fail

We don't think so. Either the DOE sends out fake reports on re-assigned teachers, the number of ATRs, the so-called "success" of Renewal Schools, the giving of services to special education providers, etc., etc., or the say "no comment" and give nothing (Freedom of Information data, personnel records, disciplinary reports of SCI, and any other statistic or memo which might make them look bad).

Therefore, I, as President of the E-Accountability Foundation, give the 2016 "Who Are You Kidding Award" to Carmen Farina and her close ally Mayor Bill de Blasio, for spreading fake news about everything that the Department does, and permitting her employees to lie cheat and steal from the public both our money and our trust.

They are not getting away with it.

Previous Winners:
The "Who Are You Kidding?" Award Goes To: Joel Klein, New York City Board of Education Pretender

Carmen Farina Wins the 2015 WHO ARE YOU KIDDING? Award as the "Best Talent" the World Has, To Run the NYC DOE

Congratulations Carmen and Bill!!

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials
The building that houses FDNY HS, which has a college readiness rate of just 1.9% last year, despite graduating 83% of its students.

High graduation rates no guarantee kids are ready for college

Despite a rising citywide graduation rate, the number of students with the skills to succeed in college is alarmingly low — even at some schools that hand out the most diplomas, a Post analysis found.
College readiness sunk to 1.9 percent last year at the FDNY HS for Fire and Life Safety in Brooklyn, which had an 83 percent graduation rate in 2016, city reports show.
The school, which has about 335 students, topped the list of high schools run by the Department of Education with the widest gap between graduation and college readiness rates, The Post found.
UFT President Mike Mulgrew, NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen FariƱa cite the city wide 72 percent graduation rate as evidence that schools are improving. Rarely noted — only an average 37 percent of students graduate ready for college.
That wide gap suggests some NYC high schools hand out sheepskins too freely to inflate their success.
“These disparities raise questions that need clear explanations,” said David Bloomfield, a Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad School education professor.
He said the system has long been plagued by ways to “game the graduation rates” such as quickie make-up work for students who fail courses.
But he added, “Looking at whether students enter and stay in college also needs to be examined to gauge whether the readiness rate is accurate.”
College readiness is determined when students earn minimum scores on standardized tests such as a 75 on the English Regents exam and 70 on the Common Core Math Regents exam or a minimum 530 on the math SAT or pass certain math courses. Students who meet these thresholds are expected not to need remedial help at CUNY.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer highlighted the issue in a report last September showing that college readiness rates fell at 16 percent of city schools between 2011 and 2015, with the lowest levels in the Bronx and Brooklyn.
Nearly 80 percent of New York City high school grads who enrolled as freshmen at a CUNY community college in the fall of 2015 needed remedial help in math, reading and writing, the report found.
The Post reported last month that Bronxdale HS in Allerton had a 76 percent graduation rate in 2016, but a 4 percent college readiness rate.
But the stats are even worse at other schools such as Urban Assembly HS of Music and Art in Brooklyn, which boasted a 82.5 percent graduation rate but only 3.8 percent of the senior class was college ready.
FDNY HS aims to prepare students for college and careers in EMS or firefighting.
Hollis Moore, 16, an FDNY junior from Queens, said he felt the instruction was good, but that not all of his peers were studious.
“I’m serious about it,” said Moore. “Most of them just play around.”
Another junior, Gregory McMullen, 16, of Queens said the “teachers are great,” but “some kids actually want to do good and some kids don’t.”
The school, one of four housed in the former Thomas Jefferson HS in East New York, admits the shortcomings in its educational plan.
“Despite our successes with graduating students, we still struggle with the amount of students showing significant scoring increases on the Math and English Regents exams,” the plan says. “The area of focus for this issue is going to be rigorous instruction.”
The DOE said the school this year started offering three Advanced Placement classes to better prepare kids for college.
Officials insisted that measures of college readiness, including college enrollment rates, are at record highs. “And we are making unprecedented investments to keep increasing them,” said DOE spokeswoman Devora Kaye.
The DOE lists college readiness rates on annual school “quality snapshot” reports posted on its web site.
Many charter highs also fared poorly, but cited glitches in the data. The New Visions Charter HS for the Humanities in the Bronx had an 86 percent graduation rate with a college readiness rate of 1.2 percent.
A New Visions spokesman said the DOE did not count students who had certain math credits, and its readiness rate is higher than reported — although still far below the city average. The charter network did not notice the lapse until contacted by The Post.
Data analysis by Joshua Tanzer