Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Why Is It That Only Teachers Must Meet Contract Time Lines?
In my years working as a teacher for the DOE I have found that only teachers appear to be required to meet time lines and not the DOE. Granted, there are exceptions, for example the union won a rare victory when the DOE challenged and lost the use of the 90 day limit to give a letter to the file. This is known as the 90-Day decision However, these victories are few and far between as our union tends to look the other way in enforcing time lines in the "Contract". Let's look at specific examples of the contract that the DOE violates or ignores.
Article 18: Transfers And Staffing - B: Hardship Transfers
Many teachers are frustrated when applying for a hardship transfer when they meet the condition of traveling more than one hour and thirty minutes each way between their home and place of employment. The DOE drags their feet and in many cases does not approve the transfer and forces the teacher to continually reapply until the DOE finally allows the teacher to move to a closer location. However, many teachers give up after first applying and are forced to travel over one hour and thirty minutes each way because of the DOE ignoring or refusing the original request. Time lines? The DOE needs no time lines. They just drag their feet and delay the request until it disappears,
Article 21: Due Process & Review Procedures -G:3020-a Procedures - 2B Rotational Panel
A pre-hearing conference must be held within ten to fifteen after a selection of an Arbitrator. What a laugh, I know cases where the pre-hearing was held over a year after an Arbitrator was selected! As for ten to fifteen days? Not in this universe.
Article 21: Due Process & Review Procedures -G:3020-a Procedures - 2e Rotational Panel
The final hearing shall be concluded no later than 60 days after the pre-hearing conference and a written decision must be rendered within 30 days of the final hearing date. Suffice to say this never happens. Many teachers spent an average of two years in the "rubber rooms" and some Arbitrators may take up to 9 months to render a written decision once the closing statements have been submitted. If the "Contract" was really enforced then all the Arbitrators would fail to meet the final paragraph of Part 2f which states " "Failure to abide by these rules shall be "good and sufficient" grounds to remove the Arbitrator". Reality shows that these time lines are unrealistic and make a mockery of the 3020-a process. Here again the time lines are ignored and with good reason. However, it is still another example when it comes to others, time lines are not important.
Article 21: Due Process & Review Procedures -G:3020-a Procedures - 4. Investigations
If a reassigned teacher is not charged under section 3020-a within six months of being reassigned. The teacher must be returned to his or her school, unless SCI is the investigating agency. I know of at least 5 teachers who have been reassigned and after a year they have no charges. I am sure there are many more teachers citywide. So much for the six month contract limit. This is another case where the DOE ignores the "Contract". By contrast if a teacher fails to meet the ten day appeal process once he or she is given their 3020-a charges, the DOE will terminate them.
For the DOE it appears time lines are not for them to meet only the teachers they want to target,