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Friday, October 5, 2012

Francesco Portelos Streams His Day in "The Rubber Room"

Hello world!!

Francesco Portelos was suddenly placed in a rubber room, as most of my daily readers know, and now, as he has no work to do (despite repeatedly asking the NYC Department of Education for work), he decided to stream his day.

Francesco, you are a true pioneer and a hero.

Go to his blog

Betsy Combier

Media coverage of this great event:

Why is This NYC School Teacher Livestreaming From the Rubber Room?




 






Posted by Daniel_Stuckey on Friday, Oct 05, 2012



isFrancesco Portelos is a NYC teacher who, after having raised questions about budgeting at I.S. 49 Berta A. Dreyfus (a Staten Island school he’s been suspended from), is now taking viewers inside a rubber room he’s been stationed at. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Steven Brill published a lengthy account of NYC’s teacher reassignment centers in The New Yorker a few years ago, but the term refers to offices used by teachers that have been put on administrative leave from the classroom for one reason or another.
Portelos, apparently with plenty of free time on his hands after having been reassigned from his regular teaching duties, has taken to livestreaming his life inside one of the New York Department of Education’s alleged rubber rooms. I apologize if the screen is black, and the feed is off the air. It’s because Mr. Portelos has either gone home for the day or is busy eating lunch.
As any engineering teacher might, Francesco focuses on the absurd numbers surrounding his situation. With a $75,000 salary intact, he says that taxpayers should be enraged that his workday consists of commuting from Staten Island to the teacher reassignment center in Ozone Park, East Queens, where he pretty much just sits at a desk.
Stating he’s been there for 161 days (through the summer), Portelos asks viewers to “Google rubber rooms, you’ll see they were closed in 2010.” Portelos is probably referring to the NY Times article explaining Mayor Bloomberg’s and then-NYC DOE Chancellor Joel Klein’s intention to shut down the reassignment program that had 550 misbehaved teachers relocated to time out, a program that was costing the city $30 million.
I called NYC DOE for a comment, and their communications correspondent sent me the following:
All teachers who have been reassigned are working under supervision in an administrative capacity. Francesco Portelos has been extremely difficult to work with, was transferred twice, and there are multiple investigations pending against him. Please note that there are no “reassignment centers” or “rubber rooms.” We eliminated those years ago. Those who have been reassigned are sent to one of numerous DOE administrative offices throughout the city. We cannot commence disciplinary hearings until these investigations are complete. He is a tenured math teacher and began work in Aug 2007 at IS49 in Staten Island. He was reassigned April 2012.
So, this is either another example of New York tabloid sensationalism and a teacher misconstruing his new administrative post — if we take the DOE’s word for it — or, it’s really just some repackaging of the DOE’s PR on what to call a rubber room. In either case, the livestream is proof that there is at least one man in the DOE who’s scoring a healthy salary for doing pretty much zippo, and the fact that he’s still doing it despite his very public complaining is indicative of the incredible inertia within the DOE itself.
In any case, the situation has Francesco and other other hard-to-deal-with teachers sitting around, scratching their heads and not teaching. Not doing much of anything — beside blogging about wanting to teach again. As the steam bounces off the Queens reassignment center’s rubbery walls, will conversations surrounding old-fashioned education politics now mature? From typical media and community speculation, will expository psychological narratives like this now touch us in a new, 2.0 type of way? Does anyone care if a teacher rants into the Internet after being kicked out of the classroom? These are all questions I hope Jim Lehrer might ask.

NYC Teacher Live Streams Himself Sitting In ‘Rubber Room’ Doing Nothing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New York City teacher who was removed from the classroom is streaming live video of himself pushing papers.
Francesco Portelos has been blogging about his battle with the city Department of Education since he was removed from Intermediate School 49 on Staten Island in April.
He’s streaming from the office where he must sit and wait for his disciplinary hearing.
The live stream shows Portelos sitting in what appears to be a conference room, looking at a laptop. Sitting on the table, among other things, is a sign that says “I’d rather teach!!” and a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag.
“It’s just crazy, I never thought this would happen especially in the New York City Department of Education,” Portelos told 1010 WINS. “A $24 billion budget and I’m being paid $75,000 to sit here, it’s ridiculous.”
“I’m not here because I’m a bad teacher, I’m not here because I did anything to anyone physically, I’m here because they were trying to shut me up and it backfired big time,” Portelos told 1010 WINS.
On his blog, Portelos suggests his punishment is retaliation for his calling for investigations into “potential financialmisconduct and educational neglect.”
“For five years I made that school as best as it could be and then I ask about the budget as a parent in the neighbor who wants the school to be better and they send me over here. It just shows the corruption at hand,” Portelos told 1010 WINS.
The Department of Education released a statement on the matter:
“All teachers who have been reassigned are working under supervision in an administrative capacity. Francesco Portelos has been extremely difficult to work with, was transferred twice, and there are multiple investigations pending against him.
“Please note that there are no ‘reassignment centers.’ Those who have been reassigned are sent to one of numerous DOE administrative offices throughout the city.
“We cannot commence disciplinary hearings until these investigations are complete.
“He is a tenured math teacher and began work in Aug 2007 at IS49 in Staten Island. He was reassigned April 2012.”

Teacher live streams from 'rubber room'

 

SI teacher puts himself on camera languishing in the rubber room 

He's paid $75,000 a year to do nothing, he says

Comments (38)
UPDATED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2012, 12:17 AM

LINK

This Staten Island teacher wants the world to know he is paid $75,000 a year to do nothing all day long.
More than two years after the city shut down the so-called rubber rooms that served as detention centers for teachers, Francesco Portelos sat in front of a live cam Thursday, killing time.

“I want people to see where their tax dollars are going,” said Portelos, 34, who taught technology at Intermediate School 49 until last spring, when he got yanked from the classroom, he said.

“I’m getting paid $75,000 to sit around.”


The live cam showed him surfing the Internet. On the conference room table in the foreground, he’d carefully laid out a small yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag on top of a copy of the teachers union paper.

Portelos, who is the elected chapter leader of his school, alleges he landed in his own private rubber room after he ran afoul of administrators.

He says he caught his principal “engaging in financial misconduct.”

IS 49 Principal Linda Hill did not respond to messages requesting comment.

Teachers are now assigned to administrative duties instead of being sent to “rubber rooms” — but they have repeatedly claimed they don’t actually do anything on those assignments.

Portelos’ live cam seems to prove their point.

“They came after the wrong guy, and I’m not taking it lying down,” he said. “My methods are not conventional.”
But schools officials insisted times have changed.

“All teachers who have been reassigned are working under supervision in an administrative capacity,” said spokeswoman Connie Pankratz.

“Francesco Portelos has been extremely difficult to work with, was transferred twice, and there are multiple investigations pending against him.”

Schools officials said they did not know if the special schools investigator was also looking at Hill.

Portelos plans to continue his live stream Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., unless he gets blocked by administrators.

 “I’m very tech-savvy, and for the short five years of my career used that knowledge to educate and improve the school,” Portelos emailed the Daily News.

“Now I have to use my tech savviness to survive.”

Visit http://www.ustream.tv/channel/quickercam to see him at “work.”
rmonahan@nydailynews.com


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/si-teacher-camera-rubber-room-article-1.1175095#ixzz28SC7kJID

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