Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Has There Been An Increase In Teacher Incompetence Charges Under Section 3020-a? I Think So.
I have been hearing reports from sources involved in the teacher 3020-a process that the DOE is going after more teachers for incompetence under State law 3020-a. According to my sources, in the last couple of months they have seen an influx of teachers who have been charged with incompetence and are now working their way through the 3020-a process. While there is normally an uptick in teacher incompetence cases this time of year, it appears there are many more than normal, at least according to the people involved in the 3020-a process.
Assuming the increase in 3020-a incompetence cases are true, what could be causing it? My guess is because of the upcoming teacher evaluation system. If a Principal fails to have the DOE charge a tenured teacher with incompetence by the end of the school year, the Principal would be unable to charge the teacher with incompetence until the end of the 2014-15 school year since the proposed teacher evaluation system requires two consecutive years of "ineffective ratings" before the DOE can fire the tenured teacher. Worse yet, the DOE and Principal must show that they provided the necessary and adequate support to improve the teacher's ability in the second year and that may be an issue going forward for the DOE since their history is to provide little or no real assistance to a teacher. In addition, the teacher must have an independent educator (PIP+?) observe them who will provide an "expert opinion" on whether the teacher is incompetent or not and that opinion will be part of the 3020-a hearings. Unfortunately, the teacher termination path under the proposed teacher evaluation system is a "death sentence" for the 87% of the teachers, if the independent educator finds the teacher incompetent. As for the 13% of teachers whom the union will appeal their "ineffective rating" the DOE must shoulder the "burden of proof" to the Arbitrator that the teacher is really incompetent and is not as a result of differences with the Administration. That might be a "bridge too far" for the DOE and the Principal to prove it and I suspect few of the "lucky 13%" will have their "ineffective rating" upheld and be fired since the arbitrators will have plenty of the other 87% of the teachers to terminate.
In conclusion, if my sources are correct, then there should be a significant increase in 3020-a charges for incompetence as we approach the end of the school year as principals see their last change to rid themselves of teachers they don't want or like for the next two years and they are taking the opportunity to get rid of them using the present 3020-a process.
Note:" I might not have gotten it exactly right but that is because our union lacks transparency and does not inform its members how the new teacher evaluation will actually work. Furthermore, they have kept secret the "nuts n bolts" of the process.