Join the GOOGLE +Rubber Room Community

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UFT, NYSUT Fight to Keep Tenure in New York State Supreme Court

How I wish the UFT and NYSUT meant what they said today:

“For the past 10 years, teachers have been demonized across the country,” he said. “You can’t demonize people and expect them to say, ‘hit me again.’ We’ve got to end this reign of terror.”
- Attorney Charles Moerdler
When I worked for the UFT 2007-2010, I was told not to question the investigations of any agency, OSI, SCI, OEO. I asked: "How can we defend members' rights if we do not question the tactics and conclusions of investigators who either do not know what they are doing, or deliberately choose to make false claims into facts?"

I was told to be quiet. Me? Quiet? Not when someone's rights are at stake.

Ergo, I do not work for the UFT anymore.

Betsy Combier, Editor
President, ADVOCATZ

Michael Rebell: The Anti-Tenure Lawsuit In NYC Will Fail, and Why

 Mona Davids' Attorneys Withdraw From The Anti-Tenure Lawsuit

The Frivolous Case of NYC Parent Mona Davids v Tenure

 A Select Few Make A Profit Off of the California Vergara Lawsuit on the End of Tenure Rights For Teachers

NYC DOE Press Office Issues A Press Release on ATRs

Unions call for dismissal of anti-tenure lawsuit

Lawyers for the city, the state, the UFT and its state affiliate NYSUT asked a Staten Island judge on Aug. 25 to dismiss the lawsuit to abolish tenure brought by TV personality Campbell Brown and others on the grounds that the state Legislature has dealt with many of the issues in play.
The union lawyers argued that Brown and her group were bent on destroying teachers’ due process rights under the guise of education reform. “Creating a climate that demonizes teachers does not help children and it does not improve education,” said Charles Moerdler, a partner at the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, which is representing the UFT, after the hearing.
Charles Moerdler
The lawsuit, filed in 2014 after plaintiffs in California won a similar lawsuit at the lower court level, charges that teacher tenure deprives New York children of a sound, basic education, as guaranteed in the state constitution. 
“It would be unprecedented to say public employees can have no job protection,” said Richard Casagrande, the NYSUT general counsel, in his oral argument in court. “This is a political attack that says if we just take away teacher rights, we’ll improve education.”
General Counsel Richard E. Casagrande
The UFT and NYSUT joined city and state attorneys in arguing that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the state Legislature this spring significantly altered the statute governing tenure and the teacher evaluation and discipline process. For new hires, the standard probationary period is now four years and teachers will usually need three years of Effective or Highly Effective ratings to earn tenure; and teacher disciplinary proceedings have been further expedited. 
Their remarks were made during oral arguments before Justice Philip G. Minardo in a packed courtroom of the Richmond County Supreme Court on Staten Island. Minardo reserved his decision for a later date after hearing passionate arguments from — and asking pointed questions to — both sides.
Minardo grilled the union representatives on the details of the legislative changes, but saved some of his toughest questions for Jay Lefkowitz, the lawyer for the plaintiffs.
State Supreme Court Justice Philip G. Minardo and Dr. Marianne LaBarbera, sitting and John Minardo and
Kathryn Krause Rooney at the couple's wedding reception in the Richmond County Country Club, Dongan Hills. (Courtesy/Joey G. Making Memories) February 2015
Lefkowitz argued that the lawsuit should proceed because changes in the law merely “tweaked” existing laws. He also insisted that the teacher evaluation process was based on “soft factors” or subjective observations instead of “hard metrics.”
The judge reminded him that evaluations are based in part on student performance on tests as well as observations, which may indeed be subjective. “Subjectivity has a place in all professions, does it not?” he asked.
During the hearing and afterwards in remarks to the press, Moerdler drew a direct connection between attacks on teachers and the news of a nationwide teacher shortage.
“For the past 10 years, teachers have been demonized across the country,” he said. “You can’t demonize people and expect them to say, ‘hit me again.’ We’ve got to end this reign of terror.”

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Streamlines Teacher Misconduct Investigations

Here in NYC, the Department of Education took care of speedy investigations many years ago - really, how long does it take to make up false accusations and get a few employees to say they are true (or lose their jobs) in order to terminate someone else?

Not long. And NYC is a mess - the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), Special Commissioner For Investigations (SCI) and the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) are as corrupt as any agency can get, running rampant without anyone controlling or overseeing their actions (and I mean the Department of Investigations). Do NOT call any of the organizations if you or any family members work for the Department of Education. Report wrong-doing to someone outside the system, to me, or to the police.

But wait! Didn't I post a story on this blog in 2013 about this same matter?
Yep, sure did:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Betsy Combier, Editor
President, ADVOCATZ

Secret Emails About Office of Special Investigations Being in Chaos


Marking a big turnaround managing teacher misconduct

(Calif.) Three years after a critical audit found the average teacher misconduct case could take 22 months to resolve, state officials reported last week that timeline has been cut almost in half.
In 2011, the state auditor reported that a typical educator discipline case could take 683 days to mature from the initial investigatory stage to action by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
During the 2014-15 school year, the agency reported that the average case took only 392 days to travel through the system.
The new efficiency is the result of streamlining procedures and delegating some decisions either to CTC’s executive director or to a secondary misconduct panel, the Committee of Credentials.
The commission, which serves as the state's standards board for educator training and professional conduct, came under fire after auditors found more than 12,000 misconduct cases unprocessed during the summer of 2009.
Part of that backlog were less serious complaints that had been set intentionally aside, but officials also acknowledged inefficiencies in the manner that agency staff undertook investigations – especially on cases where violations were not likely to result in any disciplinary action.
Nanette Rufo, director of the CTC’s division of professional practices, noted in a report to the board that the year-end caseload had gone from 4,133 in 2010-11 to 2,357 in 2014-15.
Reports of arrests and prosecutions – known as RAP sheets – accounted for a total of 1,757 cases last year, down from 1,971 recorded last year and 2,200 in 2012-13.
The largest category of misconduct was alcohol-related, accounting for 2,290 cases – down from 2,409 in 2013-14 and 2,408 reported in 2012-13.
Joshua Speaks, spokesman for the CTC, (pictured at left) said the agency had to engage in a comprehensive reevaluation of how misconduct cases were processed in order to drive the new efficiencies.
“This evaluation identified delays in our process, outdated policies and procedures, and insufficient internal workload tracking,” he said. “In response, the Division of Professional Practices added key new management and staff positions, expanding by about 20 percent; updated their processes and the policies governing them; and trained existing and new staff on these changes. They also created new internal reports to give staff and management better tools for tracking cases and create greater accountability within the division.”
A key chokepoint in the process is the appeal that a credential-holder can make. Under state law, after the CTC has made its determination and issued a sanction, that decision can have the case heard by an Administrative Law judge.
The credentialing commission is represented in the appeal trial by the state Attorney General, which has been challenged to keep up with the recent growth in caseload. The number of appeals requested has jumped from 60 in 2011-12 to 199 in 2014-15.
To help reduce the burden, CTC’s legal office has made a special effort to negotiate settlements before a case goes to trial.
The governor also agreed to augment the CTC’s budget with another $3.9 million to help cover the cost of appealed cases.