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Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Daily News, PR Media Employed By The Department of Education, Goes After Rubber Room Teachers Again

The Daily News works for the Department of Education, remember this as you read the latest attempt by the DOE to sway public opinion their way and have the public believe that each and every person charged with 3020-a deserves to be fired. There are no facts that they - the Department and the Daily News - can rely on, so they make it up.

What Mike Bloomberg, Dennis Walcott, the major newspapers (which receive advertising dollars from Bloomberg) and all their supporting staff do, is ignore Education Law Section 3020-a where a vote in an Executive Session to determine probable cause (Education Law 3020-a(2)(a)) is required, and give the rubber ball, probable cause, to anyone who wants to play with it.

No NYC case had this vote before the charges were served on the Respondent tenured employees in this article. This means that anyone who actually "found" probable cause can charge, testify against, and conclude, that an alleged  act of misconduct or pattern of incompetency is "true". Then, the conclusion is, the allegation becomes a fact. And, the Daily News takes the conclusions of the arbitrator as fact as well. How easy is that?

For this leap of faith (from fiction to fact, allegation to evidence) to occur, there has to be a strategy in place. He it is, in my opinion:

1. The UFT and NYSUT have to agree with a clear path and/or bridge from the original fiction/violation of law to conclusion/fact/evidence.

2. The arbitrator has to put aside his/her ethics and agree with the DOE that whatever they are alleging is true and all circumstances which do not fit in are irrelevant.

3. The arbitrator has to find the DOE witnesses, whatever their ages, "credible", over the tenured Respondent, who must be found "not credible". NYSUT then tells their clients, do not have any witnesses.

4. The arbitrator, who knows that if there was no vote in Executive Session, can make any penalty he or she wants, because there is no legal basis to proceed as the arbitrator without a proper determination of probable cause and he/she has already exceeded his/her authority to hear the case.

As we all now know, without the UFT in agreement with the harmful, unlawful process of determinating probable cause with no Executive Session, the DOE could never have gotten away with 12 years of baseless 3020-a hearings; NYSUT does not oppose violations of the law, rules, and contract, and therefore "permits" by omission the introduction of documents which allow an allegation to become a fact; many arbitrators consider themselves bound to find 7-year olds "credible" over a 25+ year tenured teacher, because then they stay on the panel and make their $1400/day; and as the hearing itself is founded upon Education Law 2590 and not 3020-a(2)(a), any penalty is ok, and all arbitrators are immune to prosecution.

But most arbitrators are attorneys and should be complained about to the NYC Bar Association if a decision  is contrary to the facts or violates attorney ethics. Same goes for the Gotcha Squad attorneys. Anyone charged and penalized wrongly may appeal to the Supreme Court in an Article 75.

So, Ben and Rachel, if you did your homework, you would not be able to write about how the Department needs to fire everyone brought to 3020-a. What should happen instead, is that someone should look at the actual facts, assess the case before it is brought to 3020-a, and find a suitable resolution before the public has to spend millions of dollars on this rubber room process with the probable cause rubber ball.

Betsy Combier

NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg

City will spend $29 million on salaries, benefits of educators it can’t fire

There are 326 teachers and school administrators who have been reassigned from the classroom yet still collecting pay, the Daily News has learned. These educators are accused of abusing kids, breaking rules or being lousy at their jobs — but a controversial firing process makes it hard to terminate bad employees, education officials say.


The teachers union, led by Michael Mulgrew (pictured), was sued by the city in September for allegedly impeding the 2010 agreement to speed up the firing process and get rid of rubber rooms.

The city will spend a whopping $29 million in 2013 on the salaries and benefits of outcast educators who are deemed too dangerous or incompetent to work in public school classrooms but cannot be immediately fired, the Daily News has learned.
As of Friday, there were 326 city educators who have been reassigned away from the classroom yet were still collecting pay, a sharp rise from 2012, when 218 ousted teachers drained $22 million from city coffers, Education Department records show.
The teachers and school administrators are accused of abusing kids, breaking rules or just being lousy educators. But they're still collecting salaries because of a controversial firing process that makes it too difficult to terminate bad employees, education officials charge.
Back in 2010, Mayor Bloomberg and the city teachers union agreed to eliminate the shameful "rubber rooms" that house these expensive educational pariahs, but critics say the only difference is that today the accused teachers are spread out in spare offices across the city instead of being herded together.
Education Department officials blame the union, and say that part of the problem is that the power to fire bad teachers is in the hands of jointly appointed hearing officers. Some of the hearing officers are just too lenient, officials say.

Teachers sent to this 'rubber room' read newspapers, draw pictures and chat in October 2007.

Of 72 educators whose firing hearings were completed in 2013, just 32 were canned. Instead of being fired, the rest received fines or suspensions.
Some of the educators who dodged the firing bullet in 2013 to return to jobs in city schools include:
*Stefan Hudson, a former dean at Westinghouse High School, who grabbed, pushed, shook and slammed a student into a table. A hearing officer fined him $10,000 and required him to complete an anger management seminar at his own expense.


Head of the American Federation of Teachers , AFT President Randi Weingarten speaks to the Daily News Editorial Board. (Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News)

*Shenequa Duke, a Bronx special education teacher at Intermediate School 25 who used a broom to hit a late-arriving student. Despite an "apparent lack of contrition," a hearing officer merely ordered her suspended for 45 days.
*Edgar Ortiz, a teacher at Bronx Public School 73, who was arrested for patronizing a prostitute in 2012. He reported back to school the following day without notifying his superiors of the arrest as required by city rules. The hearing officer found him "remorseful" and stuck him with $7,500 fine.
Education Department officials blame the union and lenient hearing officers for leaving too many bad apples on the city payroll.
"We've worked extraordinarily hard to remove either poor-performing or grossly inappropriate educators, but special interests to protect adults over children - aim to impede the process," said agency spokesman Devon Puglia.
In September, the city filed a suit against the teachers union, claiming it is impeding the 2010 agreement to speed the firing process and eliminate the rubber rooms. But a union spokesman said the hearing officers who have the power to fire teachers serve at the pleasure of the Education Department.
"The Department of Education can and does stop using any arbitrator with whose decisions it disagrees," said union spokesman Dick Riley. "The Department of Education also has the ability to appeal arbitrators' decisions to the courts."