Over the years I have heard stories about how school administrators are not treating teachers with the proper respect due their profession. However, as the climate against teachers have been ramped up by the education deformer organizations and their political and media allies, this disrespect has seeped down into the school administration. This development is especially true in the New York City schools where many principals have treated their teaching staff as mere worker bees and not the educated professionals they are.
Part of the problem is the DOE's Bloomberg era managers who instead of being fired when Bloomberg left office were retained by the disappointing Chancellor, Carmen Farina, and their punitive DOE policies against teachers were allowed to continue unabated. Another part of the problem was that 20% of the principals came out of the infamous "Leadership Academy" some with little or no classroom experience and have been trained to be the CEO of their school by applying the "top down approach" and dictating school policy. The final part of the problem is the Governor's disrespect for teachers and their union and takes every opportunity to impose policies that have no basis in improving student academic achievement but instead are aimed at terminating teachers.
Examples of teachers being treated unprofessionally are two stories told to me by two colleagues in the last month who were threatened with a docking of pay after missing their Professional Development due to medical reasons..
The first case occurred in a large comprehensive high school in northeast Queens where the teacher, who was rated "highly effective" last school year, suffered a "heart attack" and despite a doctor's recommendation that he not return to school this school year, the teacher felt an obligation to help his students pass the Regents. The teacher was able to struggle through the first two weeks back despite not feeling well so he left after the end of his classes. However, on Monday of the following week. was a "Professional Development" (PD) day and his absence was noted by the Principal. The next day the teacher was called down to the Principal's office and was told he will be docked two hours of pay for his failure to show up for his PD. The teacher decided to retire on the spot, leaving the students with no teacher to prepare them for the Regents.
The second case was in a small school in Southeastern Queens where a teacher informed the administration the week before that he will not be attending the mandated PD due to a long standing medical testing appointment, The administration gave its approval and the teacher, thinking that since he hasn't taken any time off during his three month assignment at the school, thought that everything was properly handled and left for his testing appointment. The next week he received an email that unless he supplied a medically certified letter showing the tests were medically necessary, he would be docked for the time. Luckily, the doctor had given the teacher a note and he had the time taken out of his CAR and not docked pay.
If teachers were treated professionally, instances like these demeaning actions would never occur. In offices throughout the country if an office worker took an hour or two off, there would not be threats of pay reductions or demand for doctor notes. However, teachers are not being treated professionally and that's the issue.
Maybe our disconnected union leadership should not be having a love affair with the Chancellor and demand that the teachers be treated with professional courtesy from her and her Tweed cronies. Moreover, they should be using member dues to run a series of commercials bringing back respect for teachers and their profession instead of using it for questionable causes.