Thursday, September 30, 2010
This post is a follow up of my previous post on the "double standard" when it comes to disciplining teachers and administrators by the DOE. Now it seems Mayor4life, Michael Bloomberg personally ordered the suspension of prostitute turned teacher, Melissa Petro. However, the Mayor4life has ignored administrators that have been accused of sexual misconduct and has allowed them to continue in their schools.
The first is Principal Richard Bost of the troubled Fordham Leadership Academy who has been found by the DOE's Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) that he sexually harassed and grouped a school Secretary and harassed other female teachers in his school. According to the New York Daily News, a new OEO investigation was started concerning additional sex harassment charges.
The second is an Assistant Principal, Michael O'Herlihy, who was defrocked as a Priest and later sued by a former student who claims he sexually molested him when he was 16 years old. This was reported by the New York Post. His last school (he could still be there) was Manhattan Comprehensive Day and Night High School. These two admainistrators would appear to be more a threat in the schools then Ms. Petro. However, Mayor4life Michael Bloomberg appears unconcerned when it comes to them.
What is most disturbing is the media's failure to question why the "double standard"? I understand the Daily News and Post would not bring this up since they do not want to embarrass the Bloomberg/Klein Administration but why not the New York Times? local news media, How about Gotham News? other education bloggers? It is very important that the hypocrisy and unfair discipline procedures are exposed for what they are. While I do have a problem with Ms. Petro's past occupation, she is less of a "threat to the children" then Principal Richard Bost or Assistant Principal Michael O'Herlihy.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The DOE “Double Standard “Tweed Removes A Teacher For Her Prostitute Past While Leaving Accused Sexual Molester Administrators In Schools.
The New York Post headline on Monday showed a public school teacher, Ms. Melissa Petro” who had admitted on her facebook page that she advertised as a sex worker (prostitute) on Craigslist before she started her teaching career. The DOE immediately removed her from the classroom and reassigned her, pending an investigation. According to Tweed she is now considered “a threat to the children” and it does not matter that she provided this service years before she started teaching and no children were involved in those services she provided.
On the other hand much more dangerous administrators who have been accused of sexual assault and harassment, one , Assistant Principal Michael O'Herlithy of Manhattan Comprehensive Day and Night School, with a boy that resulted in his defrocking as a Priest, are allowed to continue in their posts. Here, Here, Here, and Here. With regard to the Principal of Fordham Leadership Academy, Richard Bost, Chancellor Joel Klein, who claims “zero tolerance against educators that commit sexual acts” overruled the local Superintendent who had removed the Principal and sent the Principal back to his school. I guess it is "zero tolerance" for teachers and not his favored administrators.
The hypocrisy by the DOE is almost laughable. The presume teachers are guilty while administrators are innocent. If that is not a “double standard” what is? The DOE lawyers are the same people who remove a teacher from a classroom and claim they are “a threat to the children” and then extorts them for $5,000 and a course. After they pay the extortion, these teachers are no longer “a threat to the children”. Unbelievable! You just can’t make this stuff up.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
The Lazy DOE Spins The Wheel Of Misfortune When It Comes To Assigning Reassigned Teachers And Then Blames The Teachers Union For The Many Grievances
The DOE’s arrogance and incompetence is just unbelievable. When the DOE and UFT completed the “rubber room agreement” , the understanding was that many of the reassigned teachers would be placed in their schools in their District and do circular six duties. While, those teachers who were determined to be a “threat to the children” (what a joke. See my Ebony and Ivory post) was to be sent to their CFN’s or the Regional Office. However few, if any, teachers were sent to schools and the nincompoops at the DOE did not have the intelligence to even follow this simple directive from the “rubber room agreement”. Instead, these lazy DOE employees appeared to have spun a wheel to determine the placement of many of the reassigned teachers. This haphazard and ill-conceived distribution of reassigned teachers seems to violate the spirit of the “rubber room agreement” (what else is new?) and the UFT/DOE contract. The DOE’s inept handling of the reassignment problem has resulted in numerous grievances by the reassigned teachers due to the apparent violation of the contract that requires the DOE to place the teachers in their district or Region
In some of the more egregious cases teachers from Staten Island and the Bronx must go to the School Construction Authority in Queens for their duties to measure school buildings. Moreover, Brooklyn teachers were sent to Queens while Queens teachers were sent to Brooklyn. I also wrote previously that it appeared that the reassigned teacher’s location was based upon the first letter of their last name. I guess they spun the wheel and whatever the first letter of the last name came up, that is where that person was sent.
The question is what will our union do about it? Based upon Michael Mulgrew published comments it would seem the union will not take the lead in forcing the DOE to abide by the “rubber room agreement” and the contract but will accept individual grievances for reassigned teachers who are unhappy with either their work assignments or geographic location. Here again the union fails to be pro-active and require the DOE to follow the rules. Instead they leave it up to the reassigned teacher to fight the DOE’s abuse and disregard of the “rubber room agreement”. As for the criticism that the DOE has received from their incompetent handling of the reassigned teacher placement, Tweed has went into a defensive shell and blamed the teachers union New York Post and the Daily News for the many grievances. Our union should have taken the lead on this issue and make sure that the DOE followed the rules. If that means filling a lawsuit, so be it. For many of us it seems that the union once again signs an agreement with the DOE only to take no action when the DOE breaks that agreement.
How many times has the UFT negotiated an agreement with the DOE only to watch the DOE break the agreement or deliberately misinterprets the conditions in the agreement. When it comes to the DOE/UFT agreements, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The Inconvenient Truth About Charter Schools That The Education Deformers Don't Want The Public To Know
After watching Oprah Winfry fawning over "Waiting for Superman" and how the show blames the teacher unions for why schools don't work. They had a panel of ed deformers like Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, and the maker of "Waiting for Superman" that was simply a teacher bashing session and a Charter school lovefest. Randi Weingraten was seen on a videotape and gave her usual wishy-washy defense of the system and was a weak counterbalance to the education deformers. While these education deformers were quick to blame teacher tenure they failed to explain that it is the Principal that grants tenure. If the teacher is that bad then why did the Principal grant that teacher tenure? It is time to expose these education deformers for what they really are, elitists that want to pick and choose students while demanding money from the public trough. Let's look at the issues the education deformers don't want the public to know.
Class Size Matters
Too many educators the most important criteria for improving academic achievement is class size. However, the education deformers ignore class size because they know that Charter schools usually have much lower class sizes than the public schools. In New York City class sizes are the largest in the State and rising, thanks to an underhanded secret deal between Chancellor Joel Klein and New York State Education Commissioner Stiener to allow for an increase in New York City Public School class size despite money that was to be used to lower class sizes under the C4E lawsuit in 2007. An article by the Daily News Juan Gonzalez tell how the City used the money to reduce class size into a Tweed slush fund is a must read.
The education deformers are always preaching how the children need "great teachers". However, the latest studies show that it takes eight years for a teacher to reach their peak and at least three to five years for a teacher to master the classroom. However, many of the Charter schools are populated by the "two year wonders" Teach For America non-certified novices. They never stay long enough to be a "great teacher" . The high teacher turnover rate at Charter schools is another dirty little secret that the education deformers want to hide from the public.
Great parents are the most important criteria for academic success for students. Is it any surprise that solidly middle class areas, where the parents expect there children to do well academically, no Charter schools exist? To ignore the parent factor is downright disingenuous and just plain wrong. Here Charter schools do have an advantage since parents who don't monitor their child's academic progress are unlikely to apply to a Charter school or spend the hours required to volunteer their services. Only those parents who want to take the extra effort to ensure academic success for their child are part of the Charter School.
Student Selection Process
Remember, to get into a Charter School the parent or guardian actually has to file an application and in many Charter schools the parent and child must go through an interview process before being accepted. Furthermore, the Charter schools are reluctant to take "English Language Learners" and Special Education students. The few that are accepted in the Charter Schools usually have a very mild case of either language or disability and can be placed in a regular classroom setting with littleor no additional services. In communities where Charter schools are located the neighborhood Public School have a much greater percentage of "English Language Learners" and Special Education students.
Student Attendance & Discipline
Many students who have either attendance or discipline problems are consoled out of the Charter school if they slipped through the interview process. The Charter school will encourage the parent to remove the student and enroll him into the Public School claiming they have the resources to handle the problem. Moreover, if the child starts to fall behind academically, the Charter school will push that student out of the school before the critical testing period. Consequently, the Charter school's test scores and graduation rates are highly suspect.
The majority of Charter schools have a homogeneous population and would appear to violate the 1954 Supreme Court ruling of Brown vs. The Board of Education. However, education deformers seem oblivious to this segregation based on race, gender, and culture. How they get away from this is that the Charter schools have big money supporting them (Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, hedge funds, Barack Obama, etc) and ignore the apparent violation of the 1954 Supreme Court ruling.
When these education deformers tell you how great the Charter schools are. Please bring up this article and show them how not only is it not true but that every public dollar that is given to the elitists who run the Charter schools take away needed funding to the Public School system.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
It has happened again. Tweed has reneged on the latest "rubber room agreement" and refused to send reassigned teachers to schools. Instead, Tweed has dumped reassigned teachers randomly in DOE offices throughout the City. While it seemed that most of the teachers charged with incompetence were sent to their local CFN offices, the rest seemed to have been sent by the first letter of their last name. For example If the reassigned teacher had a last name starting with G,H,I, or J, they were sent to one place. While the reassigned teachers that has a last name starting with C were sent to a different DOE office. Unbelievable!
In some cases teachers from the Bronx and Staten Island were assigned to a place in Long Island City while Queens teachers were sent to downtown Brooklyn. Furthermore, the apparent haphazard nature of who goes where suggests that the DOE waited to the last minute to assign these teachers and little though was given to geographic considerations. For example two teachers from the same school who were accused of misconduct were sent to two different locations. One lives close to Long Island City and is only a 10 minute train ride to the DOE office while the other lives in Bayside and is only a ten minute drive to the DOE offices in Flushing. Instead the idiots at Tweed put the person near Long Island City to Flushing and it takes her over an hour to take two trains and a bus to arrive at the Flushing site. While the person at Bayside takes 75 minutes to arrive at her DOE office in Long Island City. You might think that the DOE did this purposely. No, they are not intelligent enough for that. It is simply DOE incompetence that has caused this mess.
While a few reassigned teachers have some limited work to do, the majority were told to stay in their work area and don't cause trouble since the hasty reassignment process did not account for these teachers actually doing any work. In one location teachers are sitting at a conference table with nothing to do Many others are at desks and given no or "make work assignments" and this is probably the rule. Why many of these teachers were not sent to schools is beyond me and why has the union not protested this apparent violation of the April agreement? Closing the "rubber rooms" was a good idea but making mini "rubber rooms" and scattering teachers to the far ends of the City without defined assignments was not the intention of this agreement. To my union, why was the needs of the reassigned teacher not taken in account and what are you doing about it?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The Story Of Ebony & Ivory - In The Bizarro World Of The DOE, Settlements Are Made With "Bad Teachers" Who Are Threats To The Students And Staff
Some teachers may object to this post because it seems to give credence to the DOE perverted philosophy that teachers who are reassigned, ATRs, and advocates are "bad teachers". However, the truth be told there are some "bad teachers" out there. This article is about two of these "bad teachers" who were not only kicked out of their schools but caused trouble at the reassignment center. These two teachers, despite their terrible behavior, were incredibly given very lenient settlement terms by the DOE legal services and were sent to unsuspecting schools where they will be doing more damage to both the students and staff by their behaviors. By contrast some of the "great teachers" who were sent to the reassignment center on frivolous and embellished charges were either offered harsh settlement terms or have elected to go through their 3020-a hearings.
To understand the sense of injustice and hypocrisy by the bizarre DOE legal services you need to understand the behaviors of these two individuals. Let's call them Ebony and Ivory.
Ebony was a very disrupted influence at the reassignment center. She, time and again got into arguments with both other teachers and the site supervisor. It was a monthly occurrence for her to call the police on the most frivolous of incidents. She was always insubordinate to the site supervisor and refused to follow the rules that other reassigned teachers followed. Ebony had previously finished a 3020-a and for some reason was not placed in a school' However, she caused so much trouble at the reassignment center that the DOE filed new 3020-a charges based upon her behavior at the reassignment center and yes she received two consecutive unsatisfactory ratings while at the reassignment center. This person's dangerous behavior would make you believe that this is the type of teacher who the DOE would never settle with. Guess again, the DOE settled with Ebony for a small fine and a course thereby exposing the poor students of the unsuspecting school she is assigned to.
Ivory was a troublemaker from day one. She has a bad habit of disappearing for long periods of time and was known to show up to punch in and come back at checkout time. She accused many of the males of making inappropriate advances and sexual remarks, including the union representative and the site supervisor. She also called the police on occasion for imaginary actions directed against her and was herself arrested for threatening another teacher with a sharp object. A month did not go by without Ivory getting a disciplinary hearing on her time and attendance issues or her behavior. As you can guess she also received two consecutive "unsatisfactory ratings while reassigned. Ivory is a threat to everybody that are exposed to her and yes, just like Ebony, Ivory settled with the DOE for a small fine and a class. Just unbelievable!
How bizarre, the DOE tries to terminate "great teachers" while settling with "bad teachers" who are threats to the students, staff, administrators, and themselves. Go figure.