Tuesday, October 28, 2014
How Educators Need To Act In Their 3020-a Hearing.
When tenured educators are charged by the DOE under State regulation 3020-a, the only outcome the DOE wants is termination. However, in only half the cases does the DOE get the educator to leave the system and most of them decide to resign or retire rather than go through the stressful 3020-a hearing process. It appears that between 45% and 55% are either terminated, forced to resign, or retire. The reason that the DOE does not get its way is that the DOE must prove the charges against the educator by the preponderance of relevant evidence in front of an independent arbitrator.
There is no matrix for determining the arbitrator's award. Except if the arbitrator finds the educator committed sexual misconduct then termination becomes the automatic award. Different arbitrators weight the DOE specifications (charges) differently, despite the number, severity, and type of specifications against the educator. Therefore, its extremely important that the educator's appearance and demeanor will go a long way in influencing the arbitrator award. Here are the actions an educator must take in the 3020-a hearing to save their job.
First, and foremost dress and act professionally. Treat everyone in the hearing room with respect, even the DOE lawyer! Your attitude will be noted by the arbitrator, Men should wear a suit and tie while women should wear business attire. Don't be argumentative, emotional, or display displeasure. These actions at the 3020-a hearing will result in the arbitrator giving a more severe award then might otherwise be warranted.
Second, be on time and never miss a hearing date. Being late to your hearing will annoy the arbitrator and will make your lawyer's defense more difficult.
Third, thoroughly familiarize yourself with the charges against you. Craft a point-by-point rebuttal and give it to your attorney. The more you understand the DOE specifications, the better prepared you will be to defend yourself. Stay attentive and take down notes when witnesses testify..
Fourth, The DOE will blow even the most trivial action into a major incident and take things said or did by the educator out of context. Your job is to defend yourself with clear, concise, and understandable actions and put it into the proper context. Try to show your intent behind the action you took and express sorrow, when appropriate, that your actions were misunderstood. Do not be arrogant!
Fifth, Try to get witnesses for your defense. Past and present students are important and will help your defense with the arbitrator.
Finally, Tell your attorney everything! If you lie to the lawyer or caught in a lie at the 3020-a hearing it will probably result in termination.