Join the GOOGLE +Rubber Room Community

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Teaching Guidelines From US Courts On Social Media


Resource Go-Kit

Scripted Trial with Jury
This highly interactive program combines the vampire craze and social media to give high school students the opportunity to wrestle with a current issue by participating in a trial and jury deliberations.
The topic is The First Amendment and Social Media: Student Rights, Wrongs, and Responsibilities. The strength of the program is that it has something for every student's abilities and aptitudes. Everyone has the opportunity to participate fully.

One Scenario – Two Format Options

The same scenario is used for the two formats offered – an Oxford style debate, and a scripted witness stand exchange. Both formats can be used in a classroom or a courtroom. If the event is staged in a courtroom, a federal judge presides and two attorneys serve as coaches. If the program is presented in a classroom, the teacher facilitates and students play all of the parts.
Students in the courtroomOption 1: An Oxford style debate involves two teams of four student lawyers on each side of an issue. They use prepared talking points as the basis of their arguments. This approach stimulates critical thinking and higher-level analysis and communication. All other students serve as active jurors. They have opportunities for small group and large group discussion. The winning team is decided by a simple majority of jurors’ votes.
Option 2: A scripted witness stand simulation involves 15 speaking parts. A federal judge and two student judges preside two adult attorneys make the unscripted opening statements. Student lawyers and witnesses do a scripted witness stand exchange. Two student lawyers present the unscripted closing arguments based on notes they take during the testimony. All other students are active jurors who deliberate in small groups. Each jury must reach a unanimous verdict. The winning team is determined by the majority of jury verdicts in its favor.

Teaching Precedent and Fulfilling National Social Studies Standards

The program applies the precedent set in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, the school newspaper censorship case, to a fictional scenario. Teaching and applying this landmark Supreme Court case supports the national social studies standards.

Fictional Scenario in Brief

Students in the courtroomStudents forming a vampire club called The Fangtastics at school post vampire-related content on the student wall of their high school’s official FaceLook fan page. When the principal decides not to recognize The Fangtastics as a legitimate school club because she believes it endorses dangerous cult activity, a students posts a critical satire about the decision on the student wall. The student administrator of the wall does not remove the satire or related student postings. The principal claims that all the students violated school policies by posting content that threatened a safe and efficient learning environment. The students claim that their First Amendment rights were violated and sue the principal and the school district in federal court.

Oxford Style Debate

Students in the courtroomIn the Oxford style debate, the 1) scenario, 2) procedures, and 3) agenda stimulate lively courtroom interactions among the students, the host federal judge, and volunteer attorney coaches. Eight students, selected by their teacher(s) in advance, are attorneys on opposing sides of the issues. 4) They use suggested talking points with prepared judge’s questions that they are provided in advance. The judge also asks spontaneous, follow-up questions to elicit their opinions. All other students serve as jurors who deliberate in a virtual jury room in the gallery of the courtroom.

Debate Materials for Teachers

Students in the courtroomThe program materials are reviewed by the teachers before selecting the student attorneys. The student attorneys are the only students who receive the materials in advance. Student attorneys should be prepared to read the talking points comfortably so that everyone can easily hear and understand them, but they shouldn’t memorize the points. The student jurors read the fictional scenario for the first time when they arrive in the courtroom.

From the ABA Journal:

Site Unseen: Schools, Bosses Barred from Eyeing Students’, Workers’ Social Media


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Phil Nobile and Jim Callaghan Describe Sabotage for ATR Rights by Howie Shoor at the UFT

Jim and Phil chime in on UFT sabotage of the ATR right to recognition by the Union.

Friday, October 26, 2012

UFT Borough Rep Howie Schoor Thwarted in Attempt to Swipe Nobile ATR Email List

Jim Callaghan After He was Fired From the UFT


The noble Philip Nobile writes Howie a love letter in response to Schoor's actions at the Brooklyn ATR meeting and former NY Teacher ace reporter Jim Callaghan chimes in with his own Howie Schoor story. But one would expect Howie to try to keep ATRs from organizing since the UFT pays him 200 grand to do that
I have criticized the UFT for its anti-democratic tendencies and contempt for free speech. Shameful examples: the censorship of NEW YORK TEACHER and EDWIZE, the strangulation of the Executive Committee's open mike,
the Bolshevik regulation of the Delegates Assembly, and the refusal to grant ATRs the same level of representation as rubber roomers of yesteryear.

But at your ATR meeting last night you and the union reached a new low when you and your representatives tried to sabotage my attempt to organize ATRs. Since you have refused to share the sign-up list with us, I started one of our own. I passed around a pad to gain signatures and contact information. While I was focused on Amy's spirited presentation from the front row, one of the ATRs in the rear, probably thinking that the list belonged to the UFT, handed it to Ellen Driesen who was walking the microphone around the room during the Q & A. Driesen knew purpose and the provenance of the list since she saw me bring it to the back rows.

A teacher named Vincent DeSiano kept his eye on the Dreisen. He told me that she delivered the pad to you while you were was standing off to the side at the front of the room flanked by some reps including John Capuano, a new special rep but apparently apprenticed in the union's dark arts. Capuano retired from the conference room and proceeded to trash the list out of sight in the corridor. He ripped off and crumpled the the top sheet. Before he could swallow the evidence, DeSiano intervened, retrieved the sheet and the pad, and brought it to me.

I immediately confronted Capuano in the corridor. He declined to state his last name or position, which I learned later from another rep. Not yet apprised of your hand-off to Capuano, I complained to you. You said you would look into the situation, but I sensed no indignation. When I learned of your role, I confronted you. "I know nothing about it," you said, none too convincingly.

I demand a written apology and full explanation from you, Dreisen, and Capuano regarding your dirty trick, a squalid attempt to prevent ATRs from organizing. Bad enough that the UFT denies good standing ATRs the same level of representation once afforded to bad standing rubber roomers of the past. 

  Jim Callaghan:
Ask Howie about a bigger dirty trick:
When I was investigating shakedowns by Allied Barton guards at the Staten Island rubber room- including demanding-in writing--- $20 for a holiday party from the detainees, Howie told me to lay off. (I have the photos of the sign put up by Allied Barton).
Howie then sent my emails to him and his emails to me to the D.O.E. official in charge of the Staten Island rubber room.
The "official" catering menu had 20 mis-spellings and used the rubber room phone number as its "business phone.
There wasn't enough food at the party and members felt ripped off.
Ellie Engler and LeRoy Barr then had me transferred out of the Staten Island room- 2 train stops from my house and sent Ron Issac from Queens to Staten Island. (Issac has been putting on a great act for five years of complaining about not getting any work to do on the three days he shows up at the office and leaves at 2:00 every day. So why did Randi hire him at $80k, plus a five year pension which is vested this year?). Ask the ICE caucus.

As punishment, I was re-assigned to the Manhattan and Brooklyn rubber rooms, where all I was allowed to do was listen to members vent- with good reason.
I was not allowed to help them, write about them in the NY Teacher or improve their conditions. (Park Place in Brooklyn at one point had 24 people in a 500 square foot room).

I have copies of Schoor's quisling letters to the DOE officials. -He was trying to show them how he had "ordered" me off the corruption story. The D.O.E. official had a legal responsibility to report the corruption to Condon. We will see what happened as my case winds it way through the courts and we get to depositions and discovery. (Mulgrew has spent over $100,000 fighting my case using Randi's old firm).
FYI: Allied is owned by a close pal of the mayor-Ron Pereleman. (not that Randi or Mulgrew would protect the company for that reason). 
Feel free to re-post or circulate.

Understanding Facebook and Social Media

Mike Mulgrew Gives His Uninformed Opinion On "Rubber Rooms"

UFT Leader: Mayor’s Beef on ‘Rubber-Room’ Shift Has No Traction

By DAVID SIMS | Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2012 5:00 pm
The Chief
The United Federation of Teachers’ and Department of Education’s efforts to eradicate the “rubber rooms” that staff facing disciplinary charges would languish in for months or years have flopped, according to Mayor Bloomberg, but UFT President Michael Mulgrew accused him of not looking at the big picture.
The DOE and UFT agreed to end the use of “temporary reassignment centers” in an April 2010 accord that reformed the disciplinary system to put a 60-day cap on the amount of time Teachers could spend out of the classroom without being charged with misconduct, and put Teachers to work in administrative jobs while they awaited hearings.
‘Didn’t Work So Well’
But during the Oct. 19 broadcast of the John Gambling Show on WOR-AM, Mr. Bloomberg said that the administrative-jobs concept hadn’t worked out because the Teachers are rejected at their new posts.
“Can you imagine just how accepted they are when they walk into these schools? And so, you know, it didn’t work so well,” he said. “I know it’s galling, and it is real money, but you’ve got to put it a little bit in perspective,” he added, addressing the cost of paying Teachers who could face termination for misconduct. “The system has improved dramatically.”
Mr. Mulgrew said the Mayor was concentrating on isolated cases that have attracted press attention. “It’s worked out extremely well. You’re talking from 800 cases down to 200, [with] a couple of outlying cases which I won’t speak about individually” taking longer than 60 days to complete, he said.
“The cases themselves are moving very quickly; by and large they’re sticking to 60 days, and they’re getting in and out,” Mr. Mulgrew continued. “The Mayor will talk about one case he read about in the news, but he won’t check the other 200.”
He noted dissonance between the Mayor’s position and that of his Schools Chancellor, Dennis Walcott. “The Chancellor is out there saying it’s worked out wonderfully. Maybe they should get together and talk,” he said.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Will There Be An ATR Agreement in NYC Soon?

Will a Teacher Evaluation Agreement Be Reached in NYC? a Contract? an ATR Agreement?

Ed In The Apple

At a 90-minute interview on Wednesday evening Chancellor Tisch was optimistic, more than optimistic that a teacher evaluation plan agreement will be reached by the mid-January deadline. The Chancellor is either a glass half full type of person, has her ear at the door, or a little bit of both. If an agreement is not reached the city faces the loss of $300 million, and, the union the wraith of that guy living in sin in the executive mansion in Albany.
Almost under the radar the Public Employees Relation Board (PERB) has assigned three arbitrators to the fact-finding panel that will eventually recommend a new contract.
From time to time the department and the union have discussed some sort of separation incentive for ATRs.
These are not different people, the union negotiating committee members and the NYC Office of Labor Relations (OLR), with department input, has been discussing all three issues for months.
Let me make it clear: I have absolutely no “inside” information. The parties, rightfully, keep the discussions/negotiations close to the vest.
Teacher Evaluation: 495 of the 700 school districts in New York State have submitted plans; while the plans are dense, frequently over 100 pages in length, they are rather “vanilla.” In the 60% section many of the plans call for “one announced and one unannounced lesson observation a year, a few involve peer involvement in the evaluation process. A complex piece that will continue to evolve is how to assess the almost 80% of teachers who teach non-tested subjects. The SED is a using a Student Learning Objective (SLO) format to assess teachers in non-tested subjects for the 20% section of th law – I strongly suggest that you view the videos that describe which students will be assessed, called the 50% Rule, an overview, called SLO 101  and the 34-slide roadmap. Remember: you will be tested on your understanding of SLOs and your next check will be withheld if you don’t received at least a “developing” score on understanding the SLO process. (Only joking …)
The contending sides have had innumerable meetings – from my perspective the current U-rating appeal procedure is broken – almost all of the unsatisfactory ratings are sustained by the chancellor – in the former days perhaps 90% were sustained … it was a reasonably equitable process. The negotiating gulf is significant but not huge. I frequently hear cries – “Why do we have to agree at all? Let’s give up the money; the City Council will fill in the lost dollars.” Well, there is no guarantee and thousands of teachers would be laid off, and, let’s not forget the governor’s 70 plus percent approval rating. The governor has taken the position that there is no need to amend the seniority layoff laws (“last in, first out”) due to the teacher evaluation law which, in theory, will rid the system of incompetent teachers. No agreement, the “last in, first out” may be gone – including the ATR pool – it could mean excess = layoff. The union leadership must be nimble. (See discussion of Newark Contract ratification debate here)
As Chancellor Tisch explained, “five years down the road the system may look very different.” As we move into years two and beyond the plan will be tweaked, perhaps numerous times.
The Teacher Contact: The fact-finding process, very quietly, has begun. Months, many months, down the road, absent an agreement in the interim the panel will produce a fact-finding report which is not binding but in the past has provided a framework for contract settlements.
The cynics argue: don’t go to fact-finding, wait for the next mayor. Who is to say the next mayor will open the city coffers? Who is to say that by January of 2014 the nation is not in a “double-dip” recession? Or, a Romney presidency will sharply reduce dollars to education and to states driving the city to draconian cuts in funding and services?
Remember little things like health plans for active and retired members are negotiated separately from the contract and currently cost over a billion dollars a year. In other words, once again, the union leadership must be smart.
In Albany there is growing pressure to amend the Triborough Law, which requires that expired contracts remain in place until the successor agreement is in place.
These are perilous times for teachers and teacher unions.
The ATR Mess: The city and the union have, once again, been discussing some sort of separation incentive, a lump sum payment to encourage retirement or irrevocable resignation. I know teachers ask why not a buy-out – allowing teachers to retire before they have accumulated sufficient years or age – that type of  settlement probably requires approval by an outside actuary and legislative action.
Deadlines result in pressures on both sides and the governor set a mid-January deadline for negotiating a teacher evaluation plan. The possible loss of $300 million would devastate a school system already reeling from a series of cuts. For the mayor ending his mayoral tenure with dramatic cuts and teacher layoffs may be unpalatable. On the union side appearing recalcitrant and angering a powerful governor could have dire consequences.
In baseball trades you will occasionally read about a trade with a “player to be named.” One side added a “sweetener,” a low minor leaguer from among a wide choice of players; both sides want fans and the media to praise the trade.
The mayor has to stand on the podium and tell the public, “…this settlement is good for the children and the City of New York,” and the union president needs the support of his union members who vote on the plan (only active members, not retirees vote).
A ticking clock may speed up the pace of the negotiating process.
Endgame is a skill, in chess and contract negotiations.