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Friday, January 11, 2013

The Script: How To Get Rid Of An "Incompetent" Teacher

The NYC Teacher Performance Management Termination Script

 The How To Get Rid Of Tenured Teachers document scripts the entire process of getting rid of a teacher who is, according to somebody with power and influence, "incompetent" - whatever that means. In NYC Mayor Bloomberg leaves nothing to chance. He wants tenure to end, and I have the scripts written as "letters" where principals fill in the blanks.
The UFT is as much at fault here as the NYC Department of Education, because Mike Mulgrew, Ellie Engler, Mike Mendel, Claude Hersh and Richard Casagrande (NYSUT) allowed the PIP+ process (a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement evaluations clause) and the "guidelines" posted below to be used against any teacher, not defined as good or bad by any data or facts.
Betsy Combier

The NYC Teacher Performance Management Termination Script

As most people now know, the NYC Department of Education wants to get rid of all tenured employees of the Department. These people are, it is said, lazy, incompetent, and harmful to the health, safety, and welfare of children, and should never have been given a job for life (tenured position).

In fact, the NYC DOE wants teachers with tenure out so badly that they will gladly alter your performance record and change your U ratings to S ratings if you sign your name to a settlement agreement saying you will immediately and irrevocably resign. And you can never sue the Department for any reason.

As I have written many times before, this is a sad joke on the employee, who, thinking that the settlement is a great idea, signs it, and then cannot get a job anywhere else. Why? Because he/she did not demand a giveback - his/her removal from the "Ineligible/Inquiry List". This List is the same as the anti-communist protests of the '50's under Joseph McCarthy. There is no rational reason for the mobbing of individuals simply because they used to work for the Department of Education.

Yet, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) may deny that it exists, so that Special Representatives may continue to earn astonishing sums of money (members' dues) while doing nothing. Yet, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) may deny that the Ineligible/Inquiry List exists, so that Special Representatives may continue to earn astonishing sums of money (members' dues) while doing nothing. All the UNITY caucus and UFT Special Reps. say in private that every re-assigned member is "guilty" of whatever is charged against them. There is no effort to help any member win his/her U-rating appeal, grievance, or 3020-a, for that matter. And, it does not matter if this is unfair, as can be seen in the Special Complaint filed by Gail Friedman. The 2005 UFT contract took away the right to grieve "unfairness".

Anyway, the basic bottom line is, to get tenured (and expensive) teachers out of the system in order to hire two newbie teachers for the price of one. The rating and evaluation processes have nothing to do with individual performance. A person may be Teacher of The Year, but if he/she makes too much money, out he/she must go.

Of course Mayor Bloomberg is a control freak. He does not have too much faith in the capabilities of anyone to accomplish quickly and efficiently what he wants (i.e., get rid of tenure and tenured teachers). Therefore, he created the Teacher Performance Unit in 2007, and opened a new floor - the 7th - at 51 Chambers Street to accommodate the expedited hearings under the TPU, the "incompetency" 3020-a.
These are all expedited and there is no room for error.

Mike Bloomberg had his underlings create a script for all the Principals who may not be aware of how to quickly get rid of a teacher in the building. The Office of Labor Relations is at the same location as the Gotcha Squad, and drew up, in 2007, the document below. I was given this document several months ago by a principal.

I turned around the first couple of pages from the original, in order to make for easier reading:
Performance Management
Performance Management
Performance Management

2012: More Investigations, Less Information To The Public

Allegations of wrongdoing in schools pile up but stay in the dark

Investigators who look into the city’s schools received more allegations and opened more cases than ever last year. But they found wrongdoing less often than at any time in the last decade.
And once again, only a tiny fraction of the investigations were made public.
The Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation received 4,173 complaints in 2012, 20 percent more than in the previous year, according to the annual report it released today. The complaints prompted 795 investigations.
SCI looks into alleged violations of law and department regulations, from accusations of sexual misconduct to concerns about fraud and embezzlement, to allegations of cheating on tests. (The Department of Education also has an internal investigative unit, the Office of Special Investigations.)
In 2012, SCI also closed 752 cases, many opened in previous years because SCI investigations frequently move slowly. Of them, investigators found wrongdoing in 247 cases for a substantiation rate of 32.8 percent, the lowest in a decade. Condon recommended that 83 education department employees be fired as a result — 20 percent fewer than in 2011.
Condon’s office released just 16 investigation reports, meaning that 94 percent of times when investigators found wrongdoing, their findings stayed under wraps.
The release rate was in line with past years, when SCI has published reports about substantiated allegations between 5 and 10 percent of the time.
Last year’s SCI releases included reports about nepotism, corruption, and sex abuse. It did not include any reports about cheating or academic improprieties.
In a year with a spate of high-profile sexual abuse allegations in schools, the unit received 679 allegations of sexual misconduct, or 16 percent of the total number of allegations. That proportion was in line with recent years.
SCI reports that are not published are sent to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who has the power to act on Condon’s recommendations or take other steps to address wrongdoing. At that point, the only way for a report to become publicly available is via a Freedom of Information Law request. That means that an enterprising reporter, advocate, or elected official would have to know first that an investigation happened, and then would have to file a legal request for permission to look at the report on it.

The 'U'-Rated Teacher "Plague"

As we all know, "U" and "S" are opinions, have no facts or data, are meaningless, and are changed by the NYC DOE if the teacher agrees to resign. We, the public, actually have no idea who is in the classroom with our children.

See the misleading report below.

Betsy Combier

Bad apples: New report shows dozens of city schools are plagued with 'unsatisfactory' teachers

A scathing new report from the education reform group StudentsFirstNY shows that kids in poorer neighborhoods who need more help in school are more likely to end up with the underperforming teachers.


Jan 10, 2013 


Dozens of city schools are crammed full of bad teachers, with some kids seeing incompetent hacks in as many as a third of their classrooms.
A scathing new report from the education reform group StudentsFirstNY shows that kids in poor neighborhoods who need the most help in school are far more likely to end up with the learning lemons.

“It’s a double hit,” said Micah Lasher, StudentsFirstNY’s director. “These kids start out with challenges, and then we give them a sub-par education. We’re making the challenges worse.

The report looked at the number of teachers in each of the city’s 1,509 general education schools who received “unsatisfactory” ratings from their principals.
The so-called “U-ratings,” which are based on formal classroom observations and used in tenure decisions, are very rare, with only 3% of the city’s 65,000 general education teachers receiving failing grades last year.

Nearly half of the city’s schools had no U-rated teachers at all.
Yet U-rated teachers were concentrated in certain schools, particularly in struggling neighborhoods of central Brooklyn, the South Bronx, southern Queens and lower Manhattan.

At a stunning 30 schools, 20% of teachers had unsatisfactory ratings.
Two schools had lemons in at least a third of their classrooms.

But teachers and parents say U-ratings aren’t just about teacher quality. They’re also a reflection on how aggressive principals are in pushing out teachers they don’t like.
Parents at Public School 4 in the Bronx suspected tough management led to 34% of instructors getting U-ratings last year.

“If the principal is rating the teachers, who’s rating him?” asked Anthony Patterson, 52, whose daughter, Tajanae, is a sixth-grader at the A-rated school. “I’ve never had an issue with the teachers.
The report on teacher quality advises the city to adopt a new teacher evaluation system and find new ways to attract high-quality instructors.

It comes a day after Gov. Cuomo used his State of the State speech in Albany to call for bar exam-style tests to keep bad teachers out of public schools as the city battles the teachers union over new teacher evaluations.

If the union and the city fail to reach an agreement on a new teacher rating system by Jan. 17, the state will withhold $250 million in funding.
Education Department officials said they are already working to implement the recommendations of the report.

“Having a great teacher is critical to our students’ success, which is why we have pursued many of these recommendations,” said agency spokeswoman Connie Pankratz.