First, who are bad teachers? I have written before and will keep writing that I certainly do not know who a bad teacher is, in most cases where this term is used. I know that whoever did not care about or teach anything to any of my four daughters was, in my opinion, not a "good" teacher, but I cannot speak for any other person, parent or student. See one of the latest posts on Diane Ravitch's blog about Adam Urbanski and the complicated process of evaluating teachers.
I certainly did not know that I would be quoted under that headline.
The online edition of the sunday NY POST had a better headline - see the article posted in full, below..
What I told Ms. Edelman was that when an educator is charged with misconduct or incompetency, and sign up for a NYSUT attorney, in many cases the NYSUT Attorney tries very hard (sometimes, in my opinion, abusively) to get the educator to resign, retire, leave town, or settle. Anything but go to a hearing. I believe the NYSUT Attorneys know how much of a due process disaster the hearings are, from the viewpoint of defending an educator's rights. After watching the attorneys work at 3020-a for almost 8 years, 2003-2011, I thought there was a better way to defend, and started as a paralegal advocate in defense of Respondents brought to 3020-a in 2011. No one who is innocent of charges should be forced into a settlement of any kind. You can win a 3020-a.
The shocking clauses in all settlements are the give-backs, ie agreement to pay thousands of dollars and/or take many hours of Professional Development (PD) on classroom management, lesson planning, Common Core, etc. Where does this money go? No one seems to know. I wrote a FOIL request to the New York State Education Department. No information there. I wrote a FOIL to the New York City Department of Education. No answer.
If the educator really has done something terrible, then a settlement is a good idea. But if an educator is threatened, yelled at, and disrespected for no reason, and the charges are not valid (made up by a hostile administrator) and then is told he/she will be terminated if he/she doesn't settle, then there is something very wrong. This is, in my opinion, extortion. Educators who know they are innocent just should terminate any representation by anyone who is abusive or disrespectful, and hire someone else. Also in all settlements are clauses which say the signer of the agreement cannot ever sue the Department for anything that has happened to bring about these charges.
Really? My suggestion is this: the minute you receive your charging packet with your specifications, write and file a Notice of Claim. Notarize your signature and send to the NYC Comptroller's Office as well as the Corporation Counsel via certified mail, return receipt requested. You then have a year and 90 days to sue any public agency personnel who have harmed you.
And, my quote in the article below does not refer to the so-called "bad" teachers, but refers to all the "good", innocent teachers and employees who are threatened, accused of things they did not do or did not intend to do, and are considering leaving their jobs. This is not good for the children in the classes of those excellent, often veteran tenured teachers, because learning needs continuity. The Department of Education doesn't care about the kids. This is obvious. I wonder if NYSUT Attorneys or Reps care, either, but that's another post.
Adam Urbanski: Teacher Ratings Are Nonsensical