Friday, June 13, 2008

The Collaterial Damage Done To The Students When A Teacher Is Removed


The DOE's dirty little secret is the damage that is done to the students when a teacher is removed from his/her classroom. While a few teachers need to be removed because they really are a danger to their students (examples: sexual abuse, corporal punishment, gross incompetence, and drugs etc.). However, the DOE has lumped teachers accussed of these serious behaviors with the 93% of teachers who will end up back in the classroom. The DOE refuses to differentiate between minor or frivolous incidents, if they are even true, with serious incidents. The lack of a clear and fair removal policy allows Tweed to encourage principals to remove teachers at will. Especially highly-paid veteran teachers. Moreover, the unfair, one-sided, and biased investigation process allows the DOE to keep teachers in "rubber rooms" for over two years at full pay until their 3020-a hearings are completed.

While these teachers will eventually find their way back to the classroom, what about the students they left behind? The DOE does not even acknowledge the collaterial damage to the students that removing a teacher brings. In many cases the school must use substitutes or ATRs that are not even certified in the subject area for the remainder of the school year. In fact some special programs such as Advanced Placement classes must be discontinued in mid-year due to a lack of a quality teacher. Further, the trust between teacher and the students is destroyed and any academic progress is reversed. Moreover, the removal of a fellow teacher lowers morale and inhibits other teachers to make the extra effort to reach the difficult student. Finally, the removal of a teacher from the classroom may be a short-term victory for the principal, it is a long-term disaster for the school as teacher distrust and fear make cooperation and collaboration with the administration highly unlikely. This lack of unity affects the student body as well as few teachers are willing to sponsor clubs or provide adult direction for student activities for fear of being accused of inappropriate behavior. Is it any wonder that overall student achievement is flat?

It is a pity that in the zeal by Tweed to get teachers to retire or resign they seem to have forgotten their prime responsibility. To do what is best for the students. In the wacky world of DOE "children last" continues.

9 comments:

Pissed Off said...

Still "children last"

17 (really 15) more years said...

The kids are no more than the widgets produced by the DOE machine. It's absolutely sickening the way they are viewed by the DOE, administrators, and unfortunately, some teachers.

If I hear one more of my colleagues refer to a child as a "dummy" or "a good reason to keep abortion legal", I won't be responsible for my actions.

Woodlass said...

Thanks for the post. Not many people are writing on this subject.

Leaving the building on Friday, I passed a student who was asking each teacher as they walked by: "Yo', miss, are you coming back to this school next year?" I looked quizzically at him. "I'm just tryin' to find out which teachers'll be here next year."
How sad, that they're even being deprived of a relatively stable environment, just like you say.

Also . . .
Where you talk about a short-term victory for the principal, it might also be a short-term victory for two other people: a kid or a parent wanting to get back at a teacher and finding this protocol useful. In other times, principals had the skills to separate real stuff that called for immediate removal and the "he said/she said" stuff, that goes on in everyday life in all kinds of situations and merits no more than a discussion to air out some complaints and raise the level of understanding. Apologies either side, depending on the situation, really serve the purpose in most cases. Then everyone can get back on task.

17: It's a shame that you have colleagues thinking that way. Are they new people or burnt out ones?
If they're new, tell them to get out of the profession. We don't need their poison. I don't know what can be done about the others. It's awful when people get that way.

Chaz said...

17:

In my school quite a few teachers feel that way and they are allowed to teach the same way because the principal doesn't target them. His motto is "Better not to care than care too much".

Woodlass:

I try to dig up as much as I can on issues like this. However, most teachers simply put their heads in the sand and think it can't happen to them. I intend to keep posting (sorry to disappoint you schoolgal) about issues that are really important to our profession. Further, I will continue to target the DOE, our union, and the educational reform non-educators that want to take our due process rights away.

Socratic Method said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JUSTICE not "just us" said...

In my rubber room teachers are still coming in(we are up to 100). Principals are "settling scores" with their enemies. Meanwhile back at the disaster(no grade for us) that is my school my students do not have a teacher that could teach them anything since my skunk of principal could not and would not find some one qualified to teach Special needs students a foreign langauge.

As I sit in my spot in the rubber room reading all the major rags (newspapers) and a number of books and having long conversations with fellow inmates I no longer think about what my students are doing in the class room since I will be out of the class room for a minimum of one to two years based on false charges from a principal who has been fired!

Some one tell me that this situation is not totally absurd.

ed notes online said...

Chaz- You hit on an important and neglected point - one that needs to be made time and again. We know that the anti teaching gang couldn't care less about teachers going to the RR but when you start talking about kids you might get a blink.

There are too many examples but here is one:
A 15 year teacher with an impeccable rep is sent to the RR supposedly because a kid said she called him an idiot. (Sounds like 15 could see half her staff be charged with stuff like this.) The teacher actually said "you didn't get it."
But the principal is Lead Acad and in a few years has turned over much of the staff. Sources tell me her class has been in chaos since she left with subs and all sorts of school assets being used (like the coaches had to be in there full time to prepare them for the
tests.)

The teacher came to terms with the RR fairly quickly and can deal with it but the kids in a 4th grade class had their lives turned upside down from stable to chaos.

Another example: a high school CL is sent to the RR in April after a kid says he said soemthing inappropriate. Weeks later he is exonerated and back in school in early June. His classes were covered by subs. That's what 150 kids who lost their teacher while having to pass regents, etc.

I think this is more than collateral damage.

Chaz said...

Justice:

Keep your spirits up. According to people in the know, only 7% of the teachers sent to the "rubber room" are actually terminated.

Don't let the DOE beat you down and take the time in the "rubber room" as fully-paid time off. Try to enjoy yourself, knowing when the 3020-a hearing comes your principal won't be there.

Norm:

It's all part of Kleinberg's "Children Last" program. Who cares about the students, just get the teacher, that is all that counts.

Like you, I will keep bringing up this issue until something is done by our union.

Anonymous said...

Perfect summary of the mantra and mindset emanating from Tweed and tric kling down to a school near you:
"Better not to care than care too much". Sad,indeed.How many of us have been given those withering glances, eyerolls and you should know better lectures? If it doesn't produce revenue for an administrator or entrepeneur, it doesn't count and shouldn't exist!