this is not legal advice, as I am not an attorney:
The MYTHS about 3020-a hearings in NYC (not all of them) are in bold black:
1. When you are charged with incompetency, inefficiency and failure to provide adequate pedagogy, etc., you will be terminated and lose your pension
While no one can guarantee the outcome of a 3020-a proceeding, this mantra of NYSUT and some private Attorneys is absolutely false. When you reach the years to get your pension, you get it. period.
The way you win your 3020-a for incompetency is by providing a strong defense.
A strong defense requires:
* written rebuttals of all U-rated observations (mini-observations, formal, informal, and snapshot) created within a few weeks of receipt and emailed to the principal. Edit to make sure the grammar is correct
* transcripts made of any and all secret tapes which provide relevant and necessary facts to support your position.
*case law and correspondence received under FOIL that there are no facts in observations - Elentuck v Green
* submission of documents and testimony on events seen by you that prove misconduct by others at your school, especially if committed by the principal and/or the assistant principals (for a case of retaliation or whistleblowing)
* any and all incidents of non-compliance with special education laws, rules, and procedures
* any and all incidents of non-compliance with laws, rules, and policies governing Title 1 funding and fair student/school funding guidelines
* submission of APPR S-ratings from school years outside of the charged years
* bringing in at least 3, but hopefully more, witnesses to testify for you, your work, and/or your character. Give subpoenas to anyone who is a student, or who works for the NYC DOE.
2. When you are charged with incompetency, inefficiency and failure to provide adequate pedagogy, etc., you must only discuss the charged years and the specifications, nothing else
This is NYC DOE/NYSUT gobblygook, and not a defense strategy at all. Some private attorneys buy into this plan, but we at ADVOCATZ do not. We bring in WHY the principal made the charges (had to get rid of tenured teachers, wanted to get rid of expensive teachers, retaliation, make a spot for a relative or friend, etc). There are any number of reasons to charge an employee with tenure, none of which have anything to do with what the teacher is actually doing in the classroom
3. NYSUT defends you
An urban myth, that proves "you get what you pay for". NYSUT is free, therefore you get nothing. Actually, there are many NYSUT attorneys who I do like and respect (see #4 for the others), but all must abide by the policy of "stay within the agreed upon boundaries". In my opinion, trying to say that a teacher gave in a lesson plan when a principal says they didn't is not a defense. The legal team must show that the principal said that "there was no lesson plan" (they were not interested in seeing it and didn't ask for it) because they were intent on getting the employee charged with 3020-a and because the principal didn't want him/her in the school, and there are no facts in observations anyway. This is a good defense strategy - in our opinion at ADVOCATZ. Sometimes NYSUT wins. Sometimes everyone wins.
Again, a good defense at 3020-a is submission of all the facts, hearsay, witness testimony and Respondent's papers, rebuttals, tapes, transcripts, notes, and anything else.... and having an arbitrator who will consider these submissions. Several arbitrators currently on the 3020-a panel are absolutely under the control of the NYC DOE Gotcha Squad. You know who you are. So do we.
4. Betsy Combier is an "ambulance chaser, all arbitrators hate her, and everyone who has her on his or her case is terminated" (Maria Elena Gonzalez Lichten to a Respondent assigned to her)
C'mon, Claude (Hersh - Assistant General Counsel at NYSUT - see below) these claims are totally false....I asked you several years ago to stop your attorneys at NYSUT from talking about me as if I was a criminal. I have a CD made especially for me by a Respondent in which Maria Elena started screaming about me and how the Respondent was never to talk with me, never, never, never. He fired her and hired me and one of the ADVOCATZ attorneys for his 3020-a. Then there is the time that I was walking down the hallway where the hearings are held, at 49-51 Chambers Street, 6th floor, when I saw an arbitrator who I liked very much, and I put my hand up to wave hello as I walked by his hearing room. I was looking behind me, so I did not see Maria Elena walking in the opposite direction. Suddenly my hand was smacked so hard it hit the wall. Maria Elena didn't even look back or say she was sorry for hitting me. I think she needs anger management!!! Evidently she despises me for putting a picture of her husband, Stuart Lichten, on this blog. Too bad. See his picture below.
|Attorney Stuart Lichten|
By the way, I feel a little uncomfortable knowing that the lawfirm of Lichten & Bright P.C.
|Attorneys Stuart Lichten and Daniel Bright|
represents NYSUT's Claude Hersh in the Federal 1983 action filed by teacher Lisa Guttilla. She was forced into resigning by NYSUT Attorney Steve Friedman before her 3020-a hearing began.
And then there is Paul Brown, who, when he saw me on the 6th floor hearing office, told his client that she was never, ever to speak with me and NEVER take my card. She had it already, and fired him that day. And then there's Keith Gross.....
So tiring to have to write about NYSUT attorneys, even more tiring to keep reading about them. The fact of the matter is, I and my team at ADVOCATZ put 100% effort into every single case: seeking witnesses, documents, statistics, outcomes, grades, SOHO reports, and anything else that could be used as a defense to 3020-a charges - which are almost always an exaggeration of the truth or severely wrong and false. It's most certainly a challenge providing assistance at 3020-a, but I cant imagine doing anything else.
Three Myths of Teacher Tenure
- See more at: http://labornotes.org/blogs/2014/11/three-myths-teacher-tenure#sthash.dyMG5syK.cRFVil0K.dpuf