There are no facts or statistical data in observation reports, says the Court in Elentuck v Green. We use that in our 3020-a arguments.
But in New York City, the Department of Education and NYSUT go along with the process set up by the Department's Office of Legal Services, which we know is mandating a speedy trial, literally. You are charged quickly, then brought to a hearing quickly, told by your NYSUT attorney that one or two witnesses - and no character witnesses - is fine, or that you do not have to testify at all (which will lead to automatic termination in almost 99% of cases), and a quick finish is best. I've written about that, see the "Gotcha Squad" and the 3020-a Arbitration Newswire.
I could not disagree more. Look at the Notice of Determination of Probable Cause on
Education Law 4020-a Charges, below. I removed the teacher's name from the document, and left the principal's name for a reason. Rushell White "found" probable cause on this teacher at her school, charged her with incompetency, but kept her in her classroom teaching throughout the 3020-a hearing, saying "I could not find anyone to replace her".
All charged employees receive this form, hot off the press in April 2012. Before that, New York State Education Department sent out the entire 3020-a Law in a document titled "APPENDIX A". This single piece of the charging packet is to an independent non-lawyer like myself the most incriminating piece of information in the 3020-a process. If you look closely, you will see in the first sentence "Please be advised that at a meeting in executive session on the above date the school district identified herein has found that there is probable cause for Education Law 3020-a charge(s) against you. But right above this paragraph, in the box where it says "Date of Executive Session", there is no date. Why? Because the Panel For Educational Policy never met, never voted, never found probable cause. Education Law 3020-a has not been followed. New York City's Department of Education does not want any outsiders telling them that they did not find probable cause, so there is no PEP member voting on probable cause. And the Bylaws say that Chancellor Carmen Farina does not have a vote on the PEP, the NYC school board. Therefore, she can NOT delegate a vote on probable cause to anyone. Yet there it is.
Here, Rushell White signed off on the Notice, so she found probable cause. Of course she did. She follows the process I call the "Portelos Way" (named after workplace bully and cybernut Francesco Portelos) where, if anyone challenges her or even says 'hello' the wrong way, zoom, you are charged with something you did not do. In order to support this bizarre violation of procedure and law in order to get a teacher charged, NYSUT and the DOE simply omit all mention in the 3020-a of the procedures mentioned here. If anyone does bring the subject up, as in a Motion To Dismiss which is always submitted in cases I work on, the DOE attorney comes up with the argument that the 3020-a in NYC was changed, so all charged employees are proceeding under Education Law 2590 instead of 3020-a.
No one is told about this, but just look at the paperwork yourself. Many charged employees never do read their charging papers and sadly rely on others, like their attorney. Mistake.
And we hear that the principal/Superintendent "determined" probable cause because they were delegated that right by the Chancellor. Yep, up pops a Delegation Letter, signed by Carmen Farina (and before her, Cathie Black, Dennis Walcott, and Joel Klein). In any random case, where the errors are brought up about the charging process, a delegation letter suddenly is brought in in a day or two signed by the principal or Superintendent. There is a stack in the back. Anything to keep the myth alive. Totally without supporting law. Or, we have heard that the principal/Superintendent has "found" probable cause for charges by having an Executive Session in his/her office, with him/herself.
I wish I could say I was kidding.
Why is the UFT and NYSUT going along with this ridiculous stuff? Your guess is as good as mine.
Here is the TENURE page on the UFT website:
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials
Q: What are the circumstances that can result in an expedited hearing?