Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The DOE And UFT Have Made It Easier To Termminate Teachers.





















Back in 2007 the UFT and DOE agreed to a voluntary program called "Peer Intervention Program Plus"  or commonly known as PIP+.  The theory behind the PIP+ program was to have an independent evaluator observe the teacher accused of incompetence and recommend possible improvements.  However, the PIP+ evaluator was neither independent or fair and over 90% of the teachers who took the PIP+ program were found to be incompetent and forced to resign. retire, or be terminated in a 3020-a hearing where the Arbitrator almost always found the PIP+ evaluator to be an expert witness.

Interestingly, the union leadership told the Chapter Leaders to encourage these unfortunate teachers to take the PIP+ program without bothering to tell them that the PIP+ program was voluntary and that over 90% of the teachers lost their jobs.   Instead, they told the Chapter Leaders that the PIP+ program would allow the teacher another six months without the school administration observing them and have an independent peer evaluate them.  Unfortunately, the independent evaluator almost always sided with the Principal as they worked for a company that depended on DOE contracts and didn't want "to bite the hand that feeds it" by going against the Principal and finding the teacher competent.  Hence the over 90% incompetence rate. 

Now, with the new teacher evaluation program there is no need for the PIP+ program.  Instead. after a teacher is found to be incompetent the first year he or she gets a peer validator and the first year of the peer validator program, over 70% of the teachers were found to be incompetent by the peer validators and I suspect the percentages will approach the old PIP+ number.  Why do I say that?  Well just read Betsy Combier's blog who published a letter from UFT lawyer Adam Ross that makes it virtually impossible to challenge a peer validator's decision    Despite the UFT/DOE contract that claims that their main goal is to improve one's pedagogy.  In fact, the Ross letter makes it clear that there is no teacher remediation but termination is the sole goal of the program. Moreover, once a peer validator finds the teacher incompetent its virtually impossible for the teacher to avoid termination in the 3020-a process.  Who's side is our union leadership on?  Certainly not the teachers side.' The letter is below.






29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chaz, I am confused. When you say that if a teacher is found to be incompetent, they have to have a peer evaluator for the next year? How is a teacher determined to be incompetent? Are you mixing up the peer evaluator with the TIP program for teachers found to be ineffective or developing? My understanding is that a teacher found to be ineffective via ratings for two years in a row with the TIP "may" be brought up on 3020a charges and "must" be brought up on 3020a charges after 3 years. I do not understand where the incompetence area comes into play. How does a teacher get labeled incompetent and is this different from ineffective. Are you saying that a principal can just go ahead an try and charge a teacher for incompetence and if the hearing officer agrees he or she can recommend a peer evaluator instead of outright firing? Any info is appreciated!

Chaz said...

You are confusing the City version with the State version. The State version requires three consecutive ineffective ratings to automatically go into a 3020-a. two consecutive ineffectives is optional by the District.

In the City version after receiving one ineffective, the DOE and UFT will assign a peer validator, which is very much like the old PIP+ program and will result in the DOE filing 3020-a charges.

Anonymous said...

So, the city will file 3020a if an ineffective teacher goes through a peer evaluator the following year and the peer evaluator gives and ineffective as well? Can a teacher quit or retire during the peer evaluator year and have a clean record if they want to work in a district other than NYC in NY State?

Anonymous said...

I know people who were rated ineffective last year and they know nothing about a peer validator.

Anonymous said...

All I know is that NO ONE should go into teaching as a career now. It is a dead end disaster. Imagine going to college for 6-7 years (BA + MA), taking a slew of tests, passing other hurdles, going through the insane process of applying to individual schools for a job AFTER the DOE already hired you, only to find out that the average admin is not only not supportive, but wants to look good to their superiors by being hard on those 'lousy teachers' who are, of course, responsible for all educational failures.

Two days ago we had a PD. A prospective new teacher who came to watch actually started crying after our heartless AP told the staff that those who do not turn in a tenure binder will be terminated. Her tone throughout the entire PD was similarly mean, dispiriting and abusive.

We teachers who have 'tenure protections' know that it is largely worthless with regards to practical application. Now any abusive admin can derail you with much more ease than ever before. Nearly every teacher I know agrees that there is no more future in teaching. We are all making plans for another life or career and just holding our breath.

Anonymous said...

TENURED teachers are being terminated left and right because the "unbiased arbitrators" are in no way "UNBIASED." They are pawns of the DOE and are being paid by the DOE. This is a total sham. No one is doing much about it because the union is powerless and weak. All "dues" money should be returned to the teachers and the union should just close up shop. It doesn't matter who the Union president is; they're all in the DOE's pockets. In a few years there will be no tenured teachers remaining and no one will stay long enough to retire!! They will have gotten their wish: NO MORE TENURE and NO MORE PENSION benefits. It's all over!

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the UFT have an obligation to inform members of this waiver of our rights? It's terrible that the UFT signed off on this, but it's even worse that they kept it hidden from us, especially when it can have such a dramatic effect on those of us being brought up on charges. I'm not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that a CBA has an affirmative legal obligation to inform those it represents of something like this.

Chaz said...

Anon 9:15

The arbitrators are paid by the State and not the DOE. However, it does appear these new arbitrators are siding more with the DOE than the teacher and the "awards" are more severe, including termination.

Anon 5:27

Yes, you can resign at anytime and the DOE simply puts you on their "do not hire" list but you can get a job in another NYS school district.

Anonymous said...

And if they beat the charges they get thrown in ATR pool for torture. Sick system! Union is behind it all and playing stupid while robbing millions every pay period.

Anonymous said...

ANON 5:27

If you are rated ineffective in NYC you will NEVER be hired here on Long Island (given the number of applicants who do not have any past ineffective ratings).

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:45. That's not true. How you do on your job interview is what matters the most.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:11
Your past performance in an identical position is the most important indicator to a potential employer (this is apart from having a relative on the local school board). Ineffective ratings, tenure denials, firings etc, will kill your chances . No surprise there. I can only speak for Long Idland and my 35 years of experience on hiring committees here.
Professional references, job interview, and demonstration lessons are certainly important too.

Anonymous said...

I agree. How would any other school district know that you were rated "ineffective" (Unless you tell them at an interview) Anybody have any more thoughts on this topic?

Anonymous said...

They will call your previous principal before hiring you

Anonymous said...

If a teacher quits the DOE and applies to another district in NYS, my understanding is that the DOE only has to provide verification that the teacher worked for the DOE. If a teacher was rated ineffective and quits, that information is sealed in the DOE records. If a teacher wants to admit to a new potential district that they were rated ineffective, that his his or her own business. Someone fired from 3020a charges is a whole different ballgame as you have to state on a new job application that you either were terminated or you quit pending termination proceedings. However, if you quit the DOE after a mere ineffective, there is no way that a new district should be able to know that rating from my understanding as that info in not to be shared. Anybody here able to back this info up?

Anonymous said...

Of course a hiring district will want to see your evaluations. And speak to your principal. And see your transcripts and certification.

Anonymous said...

How does a hiring district get these evaluations? (Other than if a teacher provides the evaluations) I thought information in an ex teachers record are matters of privacy that are in a personnel file. I also thought that labor law only requires that a former employer only has to provide proof that an employee worked for whatever amount of time that he or she did in fact wok. The above poster who states that he or she works on a hiring committee on Long Island, can you please tell us how your district gets copies of a prospective teachers evaluations? Lastly, if a teacher has 10, 15, or 20+ years in as a teacher in NYC with a clean record up till the last year or so of their career, does this mean that ALL of these positive evaluations are also included when you look at a prospective teacher to hire? In other words, if a negative evaluation is emailed to your district, are not all the other 99% of the positive evaluations also emailed to your committee as well?

Anonymous said...

I was discontinued after my fourth year. The discontinuance was based on an ineffective rating in my fourth year alone. My experience is that is/was near impossible to get a job on Long Island anyway even before this happened. I am currently working in a charter school where we do not use the Danielson ratings.

I also think that it depends on the proximity to when you are applying to your new position.

Anonymous said...

The previous year or two prior to your interview is the most relevant. I cant imagine a district outside the DOE wanting to see an entire ten to fifteen year transcript of your previous ratings.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:30/7:55

If you want to stand out from the experienced and inexperienced pack of job applicants in the suburbs (several hundred for each posted opening), you must highlight your excellence (if any) in your previous teaching position (if any). Past excellence is seen as the very best possible indicator of future excellence. Nothing new there. And provide written verification of such. Of course, you don't have to. Nor do you have to provide highly relevant references such as your former principal. Nor do you have to provide your undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Heck, you don't even have to dress modestly and appropriately. You won't be hired.

I see less and less teacher applicants with "10, 15, 20+ years" experience in NYC teaching now find employment in suburbs in any case (since experience beyond three or four years is not necessarily valued, new hires are essentially on the step-1 pay scale, and there are several hundred applicants for each position). Again, not commenting on labor law, education law, far-fetched examples, or hopeful assumptions...just telling you like it is.

Anonymous said...

"Experience beyond there or four years is not necessarily valued". Well, I guess you really are on a hiring committee as you plainly admit that the of hiring prospective teachers is all about money and not the vast amount of experience and knowledge that a veteran teacher could bring to your district. If I was a criminal in big trouble you can bet that I would want a lawyer with 10, 15, or 20 years experience to defend me. Teachers who would want to leave NYC after teaching for this long probably have a good reason to want to leave and that reason is either being bullied by a vindictive/ young principal or a the teacher is simply sick of the oppressive working conditions in NYC. (overcrowding, violence, etc.) If a hiring committee does not have the wisdom to see this or weight the fact that a teacher has had a successful 15+ year run as a teacher, then that hiring committee is just as bad as the ed-deformers who shaped this whole mess to begin with. Yes, you are telling it "like ti is" and that is what makes it so sad.

Anonymous said...

How in the Hell can you provide a reference from your prior principal if you quit your teaching job due to the fact that your principal was a menace to your career? A teacher who is leaving his or her school is most likely leaving BECAUSE of the principal. Do you actually see references from principals when a teacher left a school seeking a job in the suburbs?

Anonymous said...

Very hard to get s teaching job in the suburbs even if you have a perfect record. Seems unfair too me.
NYC is not the only place the newbies are more prized than the experienced ones. Unfair also.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but a teacher with say 15 or 20 years experience in NYC who gets a job in the suburbs will at most be placed on step 7 of most salary schedules. The question is, will suburban school districts be willing to pay a teacher at step 7 if they have tons of experience? Once again, this is all about money. This kind of nonsense never happened in the 90's when the economy was good and school districts were practically begging for experienced teachers. Today, experience equals less money for the district. All about the almighty dollar.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:49

Step 1 and only Step 1 in my very large suburban school district no matter the length of experience. Been that way for the last 10 years or so. Will honor MA and grad credits. 300+ applicants for every job. Tenured teachers from other suburban districts rarely apply (too risky) and tenured and experienced (7 + years) city teachers are simply priced out.

Most likely to be hired are 2-4 years experienced (full or part time) candidates with outstanding evaluations and recommendations who are excessed from the declining enrollment suburban districts.

Not the profession I'd recommend to my children anymore.

Anonymous said...

"Experienced teachers are simply priced out". How are they "priced out" when you say that all newly assigned teachers are all placed on step 1?

Anonymous said...

Great question!

The quote is: " ...experienced (7 plus years) city teachers are simply priced out"

The pay cut to step 1 is essentially unaffordable to them. They are priced out.

(of course there are exceptions to this and to all things in life)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the answer. The thing about the teaching profession is that veteran teachers really can't find work outside of the teaching profession that easily. If a veteran teacher is forced to quit working for the DOE due to BS politics, a pay cut in another district is better than no job at all.

Anonymous said...

Terminated left and right. Literally true since there have been exactly two, one on the left and on on the right. You are an hysterical henny-penny.