Monday, July 12, 2010

To All Chapter Leaders: Do Not Let The Teachers In Your School Take The PIP+ Program - Unless You Want To See Them Terminated

The DOE never stops in finding different and innovative ways to get around tenure and seniority rules to terminate senior teachers. One of their more successful attempts is the PIP+ program. This program is a voluntary program, approved by the union, to give a teachers who are being accused of incompetence by the administration a chance to show that he or she is not incompetent. I previously wrote about why no teacher should ever take PIP+ and one year later I am more convinced then ever that no teacher should ever take PIP+. It is simply a termination program for most teachers. While the idea of PIP+ seems good, the problem is the vendor who supplies the PIP+ educator (in many cases these are retired administrators with no experience in the NYC classroom) are paid by the DOE which brings into question how impartial is the PIP+ educator? The result after two years of data was that over 90% of the teachers who took the PIP+ program failed and 3020-a charges were filed for incompetence. Alternatively, the DOE has informed administrators to try to scare the teacher in resigning so they do not have to go through a costly ($250,000 or more) 3020-a hearing by offering them a deal that results in the teacher's removal from the DOE payroll forever.

Your District & Special Reps may tell you that all teachers offered PIP+ must take it, that is a lie! The PIP+ program is voluntary as stated in the latest contract (Article 21J-3 pg 123) and refusal to take it is not a chargeable offense (Article 21J -5 pg 123) as an Arbitrator has already ruled on that Here. You might ask why would the union recommend a program that has a 90% failure rate? Easy the union leadership, who have not been in the classroom for a decade or more, really believe that these teachers are incompetent! Shocking but true, I heard it myself from a union official high up in the UFT leadership.

To ensure that teachers who failed PIP+ were terminated, Tweed set up a unit of lawyers and retired principals whose only job is to file 3020-a charges against the teacher. This group is known as the "Teacher Performance Unit" or TPU for short. It is commonly known as the "Gotcha Squad" and with the new teacher evaluation program accepted by our union, look for the TPU to expand even more as additional senior teachers will be targeted by vindictive and biased administrators for incompetence. By the way, the union sponsored PIP program is not the same and all teachers offered it should consider taking it but not the DOE sponsored PIP+.

To all Chapter Leaders: Do not let the teachers take PIP+, unless you want to see them terminated.


NYC Educator said...

Thanks for doing the research and share it. I think, in a piece like this, you ought to also point out the regular UFT-sponsored PEP program is not quite so pernicious as this one.

Chaz said...

You are right and I will add it.

VEGA said...

When I was a Chapter Leader in 2008, an ATR from a closing HS took part in PIP at the advice of the DR. When I met her "mentor" it was blatantly obvious by her demeanor and the interaction between them that the teacher's days were numbered. She ended up in the Rubber Room at the year's end. Chaz, I wholeheartedly agree with your advice.

Anonymous said...

By declining the PIP plus, a teacher can be accused of not cooperating which by itself is not a terminable offense; to have a pip plus expert testifying against you, a teacher will be in very deep troubles. Do not have a false hope that pip plus person comes to help, he or she who poses as someone impartial, gets paid to come in and to close the case against you.

Anonymous said...

Even though this comment is not aboout PIP+, I need to talk. A lovely young girl was drowned on a school trip. The punishment for the teacher was that she was fired. I agree. The punishment for the A.P., demotion. The punishment for the principal, 2 years probation. We used to say you can't fire a principal short of murdering a child. Condon said the school failed to have the legal permission slips for this trip. What I don't understand, is the school a person? The administraters jobs are to approve field trips and have the proper permission from the parents. It is not the school's fault, it is the administers fault. Okay, now they can commit murder and get a slap on the wrist. God bless the family of the lovely child.

moriah said...

I also followed the story of the drowning of the student from Columbia Secondary School for Math and Science. This school looks and acts very much like a Charter School, but it is not on the list of DOE Charter Schools. The Principal, A.P.'s and teachers are all inexperienced. If you read their biographies, they have little or no classroom experience and little or no experience teaching inner city children. The teacher who was fired was a first-year teacher who should never have led a class on a trip to the beach--with or without a life guard. An experienced mentor teacher should have been in charge. Andrew Stillman was probably the Assistant Principal you are talking about. He was a New York teaching fellow who worked in a high school in Brooklyn, and then jumped into the Leadership Academy. He did have experience in the classroom but not enough to be an effective administrator. The Principal, Jose Maldonado, has had little or no classroom experience.

Nicole Suriel's drowning was not an accident. She was killed by the Corporate Charter School culture that is contemptuous of experience and training. I predict that this negligent system will harm and kill many other children.

I was going to write an article about Nicole's death and post it on my blog, but felt that it was too soon after the tragedy to be talking about educational policy.

My sincere condolences to her loved ones.

P.S. Chaz is right. Stay away from PIP+.

proofoflife said...

I agree with you Moriah, the principal and the AP should have been fired!!!!!! Plain and simple. This is a typical example of putting the blame on the first year teacher. The report on the news yesterday stated the AP who was supposed to attend stayed behind because he had paper work! RIP Nicole.
Chaz, I was wondering , how long does it take for a U rated teacher to get assigned to the PIP program? (not plus) I heard there is a waiting list. Is that true? Thank you.

Chaz said...


I believe there is a waiting list for PIP. However, principals have been told to try to get the teacher into PIP+ without going through PIP.

Alternatively, get a mentor teacher to do an informal PIP and use him or her in your 3020-a hearing.

proofoflife said...

Thanks. By mentor teacher , do you mean a teacher in the same building? I thought another UFT member could not testify against another in a 3020A.

Chaz said...

Not true. It happens all the time. However, a mentor teacher will not usually testify against a fellow teacher but can testify for that teacher in a 3020-a hearing.

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