Wrong, ugly wrong. The NYC DOE charging process, or the Gotcha Squad re-assignment-3020-a procedure is wildly out of control because no one is in control. If a principal feels someone is close to exposing theft or wrong-doing by the admin at the school, or may be doing something wrong themselves, the tenured staff member is often thrown out of his/her classroom quickly, and then the principal calls "legal" and finds out what to do next. This should be the other way around, with probable cause found by the school board (the Panel For Educational Policy or PEP), and then the re-assignment, or investigation, followed by re-assignment. But it does not work this way. See Education Law 3020-a, especially Section 3020-a(2)(a) - which is not complied with at all.
At all times remember that speed is the only thing that matters to those at the top or in "legal" and involved with 3020-a:
The 3020-a Arbitration Newswire: Digging Up The Garbage On the UFT/DOE Partnership of Harm For Charged DOE Employees
|NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina, Mayor Bill deBlasio|
- first of all, it is very easy with the new set of arbitrators on the NYC permanent panel in NYC (and nowhere else is there a permanent panel) to fire anyone. If you do not know (as most private attorneys don't, especially if they are on their first 3020-a, or second-third) all the ins and outs of the UFT contract, the ATR agreement, buyout, Fair Student Funding, senior transfers and exactly how the Danielson rating system and HEDI fail, anyone can be fired at any time. 3020-a hearings are a minefield, even for my legal team after 14 years of observing and working on 3020-a cases. Every case has a WHAT???!!! moment that makes it unique and unforgettable. The charged Respondent can win, if the representative - the legal team - is experienced enough to know the minefield and how to defuse it.
Very unfortunately, however, sometimes the charged employee is the person who loses the case, by having a prior set of charges, admitting wrongdoing and making deals when the misconduct never occurred (NYSUT's fault) and testifying poorly (not answering the question, being arrogant, etc). There is a way to testify that works, and I think it is absolutely crucial to give pointers on how to testify before the charged employee goes on record. Notice that I don't say WHAT to testify about, that would be coaching testimony. But a guide to HOW to testify is what we do. As I have previously written on this blog, do not think that by not testifying you will not be terminated. If you do not put your side of what happened into the record, you will be terminated. Sometimes the Respondent won't listen, or the arbitrator is hell-bent on termination from day 1 (yes, I will tell you more about the bad ones on the panel on this blog and my website Parentadvocates.org, soon).
-secondly, many (not all, true) ATRs are senior teachers at the 20+ years into teaching, usually with all S ratings until the Danielson rubric raised its horrible head, Fair Student Funding put the budget of the school squarely in the hands of the principal and the principal decided the staff member was too expensive to keep on the school budget. Without senior transfers, the only way a principal can get an expensive employee out of the school is to charge that employee with anything, i.e., sharpening a pencil too long, if that's what kind of 3020-a charge which must be made up.
- third, the rubber room folk waited for 2-15 years to have their days in arbitration, and that was the fault of over-anxious principals dumping anyone who would not do something or, who would. Mayor Bloomberg woke up one day and realized that there were not enough hearings and too many people in the temporary re-assignment centers ("TRCs") . He did what all politicians do when confronted with a mistake they made: first, try to hide the facts from the newspapers (that did not work, I made sure of it when I used to work for the UFT), then, try to make the mistake go away (not necessarily fix it, because then it will look like you are admitting the mistake). But the rubber roomers are almost always folk who had not had a hearing yet. ATRs are employees who have been excessed after a school was closed, or who won the 3020-a and did not get fired. There is a reason why the tenured employee did not get fired!!!! Principals lie under oath, and tell their AP, parents, students, staff to lie as well. Everyone follows a script. In my opinion, most people are bad liars. You can spot a lie immediately, because the person who does not tell the truth gets confused, and loses track of what they said, and change their story. When I read the transcripts to prepare for closing arguments, the lies stand out as if there were red highlights.
- fourth, the Editorial Board did the easiest thing for people who have made their minds up and refuse to see anything different (which is surprising, considering that the Wall Street journal is widely respected): go with the prevailing theory. The Board is misinformed, but probably could not look at any other versions than what their funders wanted, which is disappointing.
- fifth, many ATRs that I know are the best in the business. They are intelligent, hard-working, terrific individuals who asked the right question (why do I have to change the grades? Where's the money?) to the wrong person, and before they can blink are being accused of harming a student, having sex with a child in the classroom, saying something that "upset" someone, etc. But, when you look deeper into the situation, you find out it never happened.
Anyway, articles like the one below are extremely harmful to all the wonderful ATRs out there, and I apologize for re-posting such an ugly piece of the WSJ's dislike of public school teachers because of the misinformation fed to them from their funders and allies. But I could not resist the urge to tell the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board that their opinion post below is just, plain, stupid.
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials
|NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio|