Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Why Teachers Should Not Resign Under Section 3020-a If You Are Charged With Incompetence.
It's common knowledge that most NYSUT attorneys recommend that the teacher resign rather than face an almost certain "award" of termination is found to be incompetent (ineffective) by the arbitrator. The NYSUT attorney will tell the hapless teacher how the UFT leadership agreed to a more draconian teacher evaluation system that shifts the burden of proof onto the teacher rather than the DOE. The NYSUT attorney will tell you by resigning the teacher could get another teaching position outside the DOE. While some charter and private schools might hire the teacher, many teachers who were terminated by the DOE have also found positions in these schools as well.
Here are some reasons not to resign and make the NYSUT attorney to fight for your job.
First, despite how the new teacher evaluation that makes it easier to terminate alleged "ineffective" teachers, if you can show evidence of discriminatory or disparate treatment relative to your colleagues. For example dumping the majority of behaviorally challenged students in the cohort into your class and the administration's refusal to discipline them or using a different observation rubric on the teacher than used on other teachers.
Second, by resigning you will probably have a difficult time in getting NYS unemployment which is $420 per week for 26 weeks.. By contrast, if the arbitrator terminates you for incompetence you will at least, get NYS unemployment and have some money coming in for a half a year.
Third, by resigning you are immediately taken off payroll and health benefits stop,unless the DOE is willing to make a deal to keep you on for the remaining semester. On the other hand, by forcing the NYSUT attorney to fight for you, you can stay on payroll for another 6 to 12 months before a decision to terminate you is made.
Finally, if you resign or get terminated you automatically lose all the retroactive pay owed to you. That could result in almost $45,000 for top salaried teachers who resign this school year. Therefore, its in the teacher's best interest to fight the DOE charges. Back in January of this year the NYS courts dismissed a class action lawsuit by four teachers who resigned and where told they could not receive their retroactive payments. The entire case can be found on EdlLawFaqs blog and is interesting reading. The bottom line is if you are charged with incompetence by the DOE under 3020-a then make the DOE take you all the way through the 3020-a hearing process and if your NYSUT attorney recommends otherwise and is stubborn then it might be worthwhile to look into a private attorney. Resigning gives the teacher no benefits and will result in the teacher not receiving unemployment and with a 0% chance of getting their retroactive raises.
Of course every teacher should look at all the different issues whether one should resign or fight the 3020-a charges of incompetence but on the face of it most teachers should try to fight the DOE charges as best they can and not make it easy for the DOE to remove you from their payroll.