Thursday, June 17, 2010

According To The DOE Teachers Are Guilty Until Proven Guilty But Are Never Innocent



There is tremendous pressure on reassigned teachers to admit guilt and take a settlement as the UFT and DOE want to eliminate the backlog by the December 31st 2010 date as proposed in the "rubber room agreement". Under the UFT/DOE agreement under 3020-a teacher innocence is not an option since the Arbitrator will always give something to the DOE for their efforts to terminate the teacher since the Arbitrators can only stay on the panel with the DOE's (and UFT's) approval. Therefore, it is extremely rare (2%) for a teacher to be found innocent, For example, the teachers accused of incompetence and took PIP+ the DOE deal was to irrevocably resign after one year or pay a significant fine ($15,000) to stay on for two years. Unless the teacher is ready to retire these settlements are unrealistic and are being rejected. The same goes for teachers subject to SCI investigations where the SCI investigator did not recommend termination. One teacher was offered a $70,000 fine and two courses and many others were given deals that exceeded $10,000 and suspensions of up to one year. Few of these teachers have actually taken such deals and are awaiting their 3020-a hearings or the long-awaited mediation. Regardless of the settlement, the teacher admission of guilt in taking the settlement is of prime importance to the DOE and will result in almost certain termination if the teacher is charged again under 3020-a.

Complaints to the UFT leadership about how the DOE has violated the spirit of the "rubber room agreement" has been met with indifference and inaction as not all teachers are being offered mediation and the DOE settlements in some cases are outrageous. Granted, nobody is putting a gun to a teacher's head to take a settlement but when the NYSUT attorney and the Arbitrator is telling the teacher the alternative could be termination, what is the teacher to do? It takes a brave teacher to say no when the possibility of termination is on the table and in all 3020-a hearings the DOE asks for termination as the only possible remedy. You can explain that only 10% of the teachers actually are terminated but when the teacher's own lawyer and Arbitrator tell them what the alternative can be, the teacher gets scared and takes a deal under duress.

It appears that the DOE philosophy that all teachers charged are guilty and stay guilty when they take a settlement is still in force and not in danger of changing anytime soon. Shame on the DOE and shame on the UFT for not changing the "teacher is guilty" process.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Prior to a case headed into the actual hearing, NYSUT and DoE are on the same page that is to push for a teacher to accept the settlement at any cost by any means.
NYSUT attorney starts to pay attention to the code of the professional conduct only when a hearing starts and all remarks are recorded.

Anonymous said...

The fines are an obscenity and nothing less than pay-to-play extortion. Apparently there is no limit to fines in this Wild West fine frenzy facilitated by our very own UFT.
Any settlement admitting guilt is a death sentence for the teacher.
Individual teacher representations (statements) to NYSUT early and often should be 'no unfavorable settlement'. This message will get to the DOE adversary, trust me.
And the previous commentator is dead on.
If you are a teacher in the 3020a process it is OK to take advantage of the fact that there is communication between DOE and NYSUT legal staff that is not on the record. And not admitted.
Previous comment is dead on.

Anonymous said...

I assume you think they are all innocent? You would rather let 1000 guilty teachers go free, than to come down hard on 1 innocent teacher.

A majority of those teachers are in the position they are in for a reason. Please note I said a "majority", not ALL.

Anonymous said...

To anon 5:24:

3030a proceeding is not designed to force senior to retire, to punish teachers disliked by supervisors, to get rid of a teacher who is too old, to messy, to loud, to headstrong, and other endless pretexts.

I would say that 90 percent of teachers rounded up in the rubber room do not do things rising to the level of 3020a proceedings.

DOE uses the rubber room to scapegoat, more importantly to terrorize the rest of the staff in school buildings.

Anonymous said...

The rubber room has always been about suppressing teachers than protecting children as DOE so claimed. Tell me which child is being protected by embellished and exagerated even fabricated charges.
It is all about a moneybag and his federal prosecutor waging a war against working people.

Chaz said...

I muwst agree with Anon 5;36. tHE TWO SIDES INFORMlly (with the Arbitrator) try to strike a settlement and scares the teacher in taking it and pleading guilty.

Anon: 5:24. I must assume you are not a teacher and you are ignorant on how it works.

Anon 12:29 Right you are.

Anonymous said...

Chaz:
Where do you get your stats from? Less than 2% acquittal rate sounds about correct, but it seems as about 50% are either terminated or resign/retire-just look back what has happened to the rubber room inmates our cells.
Many of the deals being offered would not have even been made before the new agreement. Many teachers are getting a second chance on life. Sure some of the deals are not fair-so don't take it.
As for the NYSUT lawyers, what do you expect them to do? How can they negotiate it without speaking to the other side and to the Arbitrator? Think about it.
My question is why don't more of us group together and approach a law firm, get a reasonable rate and fight the DOE?

Anonymous said...

This country, along with many other countries, is descending ever further into dictatorship, into the kind of tyranny that strips citizens of the most basic right to eat, sleep, walk, breathe in safety.

One proven strategy is to render its population intellectually and psychologically dull and unable to reason and resist.

To do so, education needs to be destroyed (and the subsequent Chinese Cultrual style re-education an opportunity for a feeding frenzy for the very rich).

One of the very first classs of the population to be scapegoated, vilified, demonized and destroyed is that of educators.

Hence, bloomklein's strategy, long employed in Chicago (and finally being vigorously challenged), and leveled at teachers all over the country.

Nearly ALL of the past 6-8 years of the rubber room, and its antecedent school-based torture of teachers is politically based, a classic purge. Lives are slowly and hideously destroyed.

Any of the nonsense (and it is literally not sense and not truth) that anyone writes about "guilty" teachers is either reeking of ignorance or hatred or both.

Cayce

Chaz said...

non 8:47

50% termination rate???? Where did you get that from? my stats come from talking to people who have actually gone through their hearings (about a 20% termination rate) and the total is about 10% for all teachers charged under 3020-a.

By the way, if the teacher has the courage to refuse a settlement the Arbitrator's award" is usually a better deal and you never pleaded guilty.

Anonymous said...

Spell check headline (Guity?) otherwise I agree. It is just not fair that three peole (DOE lawyer, NYSUT Lawyer, and Arbitrator) try to scare a teacher into taking a reidiculous settlement. DOE often offers settlement because they can get a harsher punishment and a guilt admission. It is not to 'avoid the expense and uncertainty of a trial'.

Queens Teacher said...

Check this out:

http://www.cityhallnews.com/newyork/article-1337-behar-claims-bundlers-offered-$200k-to-assembly-race-to-switch-charters-position.html

Anonymous said...

After being in the rubber for 3 years and 10 hearings, my arbitrator said "I fail to see how this is a 2030a case." Still, he fined me $3,000.00 because he said I wasn't sorry enough. My case was frivolous and I would love to see his psychology license. I never had an attitude during my hearings, but my UFT lawyer kept saying to act very contrite and apologic. I did. It didn't make a bit of difference. The results of these so called hearings are predetermined and has absolutely nothing to due with due process or anything legal. The Doe should be ashamed of themselves.

Chaz said...

Unfortunately, the Arbitrator almost always give something to the DOE. That is why there is only a 2% acquittal rate.