Monday, July 14, 2008

Why I Broke My Vow Not To Comment On Edwize

I broke an almost three year silence on commenting on Edwize after reading Ron Issac's article on the the recently negotiated agreement with the DOE on the Teachers Reassignment Center (TRC) commonly known as the "rubber room". I couldn't let the article and Ron Isaac's betrayal of the teachers he is supposed to represent go without responding to it. It is bad enough that the UFT keeps negotiating with the DOE at the expense of the teachers but it is worse when they brag how they helped the teachers when common sense suggests otherwise. The Ice blog and myself previously wrote a piece about how this settlement was not good for the teachers and can be found here.

First, I must comment on how most people think that the teachers reassigned to the TRC belong there. Nothing is farther from the truth. Most teachers are reassigned to the "rubber room" due to incompetent, vindictive, or insecure principals. Furthermore, ageism and salary are also a factor. Finally, the investigative process is one-sided and unfair, every teacher can be accussed oi misconduct or incompetence if the administration is out to get you. Since only 7% of the teachers, subject to 3020-a charges are actually terminated, the question is why make things easier for the DOE in their persecution of teachers? Leave it to the UFT in doing just that with their agreement with Tweed. Let's look at how Ron Issac spun the agreement.

  • The principals no longer need to show up at the 3020-a hearing but can testify from the comfort of their office where notes and reminders are sitting on their desk. Where is the teacher's due process rights? What happened to the right of facing your accuser? How is this a win Ron?
  • The disciplinary process that is one-sided and unfair, remains unchanged. Why didn't the union demand an independent investigation to determine if the teacher needs to be removed? If the DOE and UFT wanted to reduce the "rubber room" overcrowding they could have had an independent arbitrator review the existing cases to determine if they should be sent back to the classroom. How is this a win Ron when the process remains unchanged?
  • The adding of 8 arbitrators is a win for the DOE and a loss for the teachers. Three out of four teachers want the process to run as long as possible. Even Randi acknowledged this. The longer the hearing process goes, the fuzzier the memory, witnesses disappear, and the web of half-truths fall apart. Expediting the 3020-a hearing process not only saves the DOE money, but helps them in their case against the teacher. This further weakens the safeguards of teacher "due process" rights. This is another win Ron?
  • The unenforceabilty of any DOE decision that violates this agreement. The UFT does not have any enforceable authority if the DOE does not follow the agreement, and of course as history has shown, Tweed will only follow what they want to. Anything that is not enforceable is not worth the paper it's written on.
At one time Ron Issac fought the union and was respected for his advocacy for the teachers in need. However, since blogging with a phony name to support the terrible 2005 contract that has resulted in the problems we have today, Ron has become a shrill for the same people that he would rant about. Gone are the days Ron Issac was an advocate for the teachers. Now he is just one of the many Randi's cronies who does what's right for the union leaders and not for it's members. In my opinion Ron Issac rivals Leo Casey as a spin meister that is not worthy of the classroom teachers' respect.


NYC Educator said...

I'm amazed they printed your comment. Comments I've tried to post along those lines did not go up.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Bloomberg once offered Randi the position of deputy mayor, Bloomberg is capable of offering many other little things.

ed notes online said...

"Why didn't the union demand an independent investigation to determine if the teacher needs to be removed? "

Proposed by ICE's Jeff Kaufman at a June 2006 UFT Exec Bd meeting and rediculed by Unity.

By the way - getting Jeff and James Eterno off the Bd so they could not raise issues like these was a focal point of the Unity/New Action 2007 election joint slate. New Action now issues phony leaflets bragging about the things they bring up at the EX Bd meetings, all things that they ask Randi to endosre so she won't be mad at them.

Losing James and Jeff as voices of the rank and file was shame.

Chaz said...


I'm not an ICE member but I do agree with you about James & Jeff not being on the executive Board.

avoiceinthewilderness said...

I was engaged in a highly intellectual discussion with our school's union rep about the arbitrary charges being brought against teachers. He asked me quite matter of factly:
"I don't get it. Don't these people have lawyers?"
Enough said?

Anonymous said...

Is he a spin "mister' or a spin "meister?"

Woodlass said...

Chaz: about that 3rd point you made: "Three out of four teachers want the process to run as long as possible. . . The longer the hearing process goes, the fuzzier the memory, witnesses disappear, and the web of half-truths fall apart."

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but if someone's allegations against a teacher are false or even exaggerated, they surely would want this case over with as soon as possible. (In fact: I wouldn't even want it to be a "case" at all. I would prefer it to be resolved with a discussion in the principal's office and that's that.) But if a fake "trial" — as established by this fault-ridden contract — music occur, I can't see how you gain anything by extending a time period for increased memory fuzz, witnesses disappearing, or half truths. I'd want it aired out, and FAST. Then I'd want to be back in the classroom. Why would anyone want to sit around waiting for things to get more vague if you know you didn't do anything wrong? I don't think you're suggesting that only a mere 25% of teachers are innocent of the charges, but if they feel as I do, it almost seems that way.

NYC Educator: Have you tried posting anything recently on Edwize that's been rejected? It's possible they've changed their ways after people made a stink about how bad they were at posting oppositional views half a year ago.

Anonymous said...

I tell why a lengthy process helps a wrongfully accused teacher. When a teacher gets charged, he or she will be fined or suspended, if not worse. The only chance a teacher has is to have the absence of witnesses, then the case has a good chance getting thrown out. If DoE is able to provide any evidence as flimsy as it can be, a teacher will get a fine by the arbiter, maybe a relative small amount.
It is not what you think it is, it is an illegal process.

Chaz said...


Anonymous said it all.

Remember, most of the teachers are subject to 3020-a charges based upon a minor incident that the DOE twists, perverts, and embellishes. The longer the process takes, the more difficult the DOE has to keep their story straight.

Regardless, what you may think. It is in the teacher's best interest to have the 3020-a process take a long time. This does not make the teacher guilty, it is how the 3020-a process works.

Anonymous said...