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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Winning Your 3020-a: New Disciplinary Procedures in New York

TO ALL Respondents about to enter 3020-a: READ the changes to Chapter 103 below!!!!

New York Labor and Employment Law Report

 by Howard Wexler, October 13, 2010

New York's Overhaul of Teacher and Principal Evaluation Procedures

Earlier this year, Governor David Paterson signed into law Chapter 103 of the Laws of 2010 which, among other things, drastically alters the way classroom teachers and building principals are evaluated and the procedures for disciplining tenured teachers. These changes will take effect over the course of the next several years. Many key provisions were effective on July 1, 2010. The changes have significant implications for collective bargaining between school districts and the unions representing teachers and principals.

The impetus for these far reaching changes was New York State’s application for Phase II of the Federal Government’s Race to the Top Program (“RTT”). RTT was created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”), and authorizes the United States Department of Education to award up to $4.3 billion in grant money to encourage and reward States that create conditions for education innovation and reform. New York was one of several states to win Phase II of RTT. As a result, New York will receive approximately $700 million to help implement changes RTT was designed to foster, including how the performance of teachers and principals is measured.

The most widely publicized aspect of the new legislation is Section 3012 c of the Education Law (“3012-c”), which contains the new comprehensive Annual Professional Performance Review (“APPR”) system for teachers and principals. For the 2011-2012 school year, the new APPR system applies only to evaluations of teachers in the common branch subjects or English Language Arts, and Math in grades four through eight, as well as building principals. The new APPR system will apply to all teachers and principals effective in the 2012-2013 school year. The APPR system requires teacher and principal evaluations to result in a single composite score made up of the following components.

* Forty percent of the composite score must be based on student achievement measures; with 20 percent based on student improvement on state exams (or other comparable local exams), and the other 20 percent based on local measures of student achievement which must be established through the collective bargaining process.

* The remaining 60 percent of the APPR score must be based on evidence of overall teacher effectiveness, as determined through locally developed measures (established through the collective bargaining process), and in accordance with standards determined by the Commissioner of Education. As of the date of this post, those standards have not been promulgated.

The composite score must be a significant factor in employment decisions, including, but not limited to, promotion, retention, tenure, termination, and supplemental compensation. The APPR composite score will result in teachers and principals receiving a rating of either: (1) Highly Effective; (2) Effective; (3) Developing; or (4) Ineffective. In connection with this rating system, Districts are required to create Teacher Improvement Plans (“TIP”) and Principal Improvement Plans (“PIP”) for those teachers and principals who receive ratings of either Developing or Ineffective. Two consecutive annual ratings of “Ineffective,” will be deemed to establish a “pattern of ineffective teaching or performance” which may be a basis for just cause removal of a teacher or principal.

From a labor relations perspective, one of the more controversial aspects of 3012-c is the requirement of a locally developed (negotiated) appeals process under which the teacher or principal has the right to challenge the substance of the evaluation, adherence to standards and procedures for reviews, and implementation of a TIP/PIP. In fact, evaluations conducted pursuant to 3012-c cannot even be introduced during a disciplinary proceeding under Section 3020-a of the Education Law prior the expiration of the appeals process.

The legislation also establishes an expedited Section 3020-a disciplinary process for teachers and principals charged with demonstrating a “pattern of ineffective teaching or performance.” The expedited process requires completion of the hearing before a single hearing officer within sixty (60) days of the pre-hearing conference. When a tenured teacher is charged with a “pattern of ineffective teaching or performance” the District must establish that it has negotiated and agreed to a TIP/PIP applicable to that individual.

All collective bargaining agreements covering teachers and building principals entered into after July 1, 2010 must be consistent with 3012-c. Those provisions of collective bargaining agreements that were entered into prior to July 1, 2010 and conflict with 3012-c remain in effect until a successor agreement is entered into, at which time the parties must negotiate over the issues implicated by 3012-c.

Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC
One Lincoln Center
Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 218-8000
(315) 218-8100

Julie Cavanagh: Behavior Modification of Joel Klein

Wagging My Finger While My Boss Wags The Dog
by Julie Cavanagh, Huffington Post

I recently found myself reflecting on a class I took in college that examined emotional and behavioral disabilities. One of the behavior modification methods discussed was pointing one's finger as a visual reinforcer in tandem with a verbal reinforcer being given to a child. I remember being outraged by this, "who wags their finger at a child?" I queried. Fast forward 11 years later, and I probably wag my finger on a daily basis. Although my repertoire of behavior modification techniques includes positive reinforcement and other tricks, a simple, "No, no," along with a slight finger wag, sends a brief, but easily understood message to my students.

As surprised as I have been to find myself wagging my finger to correct a thrown toy or an excited push for the jungle gym, I was even more surprised this month to find myself wagging my finger at New York City Schools' Chancellor Joel Klein.

At this month's Panel for Educational Policy (The Panel has replaced the old Board of Education here in New York City under Mayoral Control) Chancellor Klein engaged in an exchange with panel member, Patrick Sullivan, regarding the merit of Mr. Klein's focus on charter schools at a time when all of the data is showing charters are not the panacea Klein and other "reformers" make them out to be. This was particularly relevant because this meeting was to focus on changes to Chancellor's Regulation A-190. This regulation governs the closure of a school or a co-location of a charter school within a public school building.

Mr. Sullivan questioned Mr. Klein's gusto for charter schools and alerted the Panel and the public to the facts:

1.Klein and Bloomberg's own school report card accountability system shows NYC public schools dramatically outperform charters in the city.

2.Two of lionized charter school founder Geoffrey Canada's schools received C's on the school report cards.

3.Ross Global Academy, a DOE authorized charter, received an F, and is dead last out of every school in the city.

4.While charters may have long waiting lists, as Mr. Klein noted, those lists are manufactured with millions in marketing dollars, money siphoned away from students.

5.Only one in five charters perform better than public schools; that means the vast majority do not.

Mr. Klein postured that, "... the debate between district schools and charter schools is a false one," and that anyone who engages in this debate is, "... just playing politics." He went on to say that good schools should be replicated, regardless of whether they are public or charter. To a person who may not be intimately associated with Chancellor Klein's policies and ideology, these may sound like benign statements. But, to those of us who have been the victims of his misguided infatuation with charter schools, these statements were astounding. His actions, sadly, have not and do not support this message.

My school was forced to co-locate with a charter school three years ago. The co-location has been nothing short of a disaster that has drained our resources in a myriad of ways. What is most troubling, is that my school is an "A" school, according to Klein's school report cards, and performs better than 95 percent of elementary schools in New York City by every measure. So, during public comment time, I had no choice but to approach the microphone, raise my finger, and explain to Chancellor Klein and the Panel that I had taught all day, took three trains to the Bronx to attend the meeting, and could guarantee that neither my interest nor my motivation was politics. I further pointed out to Mr. Klein that if his statements were true, he would be supporting and replicating the great accomplishments of my school, but instead, he is squeezing us out of our own building, stifling our growth, subordinating our students, and limiting our programs and services in favor of an untested charter school, that by the way, is run by the son of a hedge-fund billionaire who has donated millions to the school reform projects Mr. Klein holds dear. I charged, "That, is politics."

As I walked away (and retracted my finger), I thought to myself, "Did I just really wag my finger at Mr. Klein?" After all, he is for intents and purposes my boss. I rationalized; when I say, "No, no," with a finger wag, my students generally stop their undesirable behavior, perhaps Mr. Klein will take a cue from the students he is charged with serving.

For eight years public school educators, parents and students in New York City have suffered through the hallmarks of the neo-liberal education reform movement; we have been inundated with Mr. Klein's endless pro-charter rhetoric, we have watched obscene amounts of our money poured into so-called accountability measures and ill-planned restructuring, all while slashing our school based budgets and demonizing teachers and their union.

To "wag the dog" is to divert attention from what is really happening onto something else, often divisionary, rooted in crisis, or irrelevant to the real facts. To "wag the finger" is to point out an error in judgment so that the behavior might cease. I can only hope that wagging my finger at Mr. Klein while he wags the metaphorical dog might bring a level of awareness that could stop the misinformation madness that is causing the miseducation of our youth. The truth is, while Mr. Klein is charged with improving our public schools, he is slowly but surely undermining and dismantling them. You need only to look at my school to know the truth; with little to no support from Mr. Klein our teachers, staff, students and families are doing their best and getting it right, while our chancellor allows our current and future programs to be diminished and compromised by a charter school invasion.