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. 


NYCDOEnuts said...

Hearing the same thing. Also wanted to share that some of these incompetence cases have been already settled (with the teacher terminated) and the courts are beginning to side with the department again (there was an Court of Appeals decision released just yesterday where the court sided with the department, citing the evidence the DOE had accumulated).

Elementary school teachers in Queens seem to be a favored target.

Anonymous said...

"I...principals see their last change to rid themselves of teachers they don't want or like for the nest two years and they are taking the opportunity to get rid of them using the present 3020-a process."

How about teachers that are truly incompetent? Isn't that possible?

burntoutteacher said...

In years past, a teacher might receive a U rating for a year, two years or more and perhaps at some point either a)"improve" b) transfer or c) the principal would find another victim to target, and the teacher would go back to the more deserved S rating. At no point was there ever talk of 3020 hearings, or losing one's job or license. Now, after a single U rating, principals are actually threatening teachers with a 3020 and in the last two schools I taught in teachers were being brought up on 3020 charges after a single U rating! Teachers I know were told to transfer or they would get a U rating and would be brought up on 3020 charges. I know of one excellent teacher, who was targeted for political reasons, who received a year-end U rating after a single observation that was actually a wonderful lesson. (We all know how ridiculously arbitrary the observations are.) The principal then told her to transfer or he would start 3020 hearings the following school year if she were still in the school. This is not an isolated case. The principals are out of control here and the union is helpless (despite the hearing officer's recommendation that the U be reversed, the DOE refused).

Anonymous said...

Burntout--the union is not "helpless"--they gave our rights away with both hands and both feet. Not too helpless to leach off our paychecks, giving darn little in return!

Anonymous said...

These charges will increase with the lifting of the cellphone ban, which most of the mayoral candidates have advocated eliminating.
More cellphones = more opportunities for distraction and a worse Danielson score.

Geo Karo said...

Then, you've got the political witch-hunt cases, like that of Francesco Portelos:
I was a member of the SLT and exposed that it has no power. They removed me and I exposed the lies and existence of the Rubber Rooms. Now they want me to tear apart the faulty 3020-A process? I can do that. The hearing, should they really choose to go that route, will be public...very public.
This is a nasty system that wants total obediance and no one acting in a civic-minded fashion (translation: doesn't want anyone asking serious or perceived serious in SLT meetings).
Hello, Liu, deBlasio, Thompson... Do you swear to end the wasteful witch-hunts? How has the decade of untold sums dumped into 3020a's and gotcha squads improved education?
Remember scores dropped and the gaps widened.