Friday, August 11, 2017
The DOE Wants Another Bite Of The Apple To Terminate Teachers.
Before 2009, the DOE had a policy that when a teacher won their 3020-a hearing but was fined for minor infractions, even a simple letter to the file, they were returned to their school and resumed their appointed position. However, Chancellor Joel Klein and the Officer of Legal Services decided that principals did not have to take back their teachers who survived their 3020-a hearings. The result was that these teachers were dumped into the ATR pool, along with veteran teachers of closing schools (163 under Bloomberg), and excessed teachers from closing or reduced programs. The result was an explosion of ATRs that ranged from 1,300 to 1,800 educators. Once labeled, the DOE ensures that it sticks, no matter how many satisfactories or "effective ratings" the ATR receives.
Because of the ideological stand by Bloomberg and his Chancellors, the ATRs were subject to a dehumanization strategy through the media and education deformer groups, while the DOE was paying out over $150 million dollars annually at a time when school budgets were cut by 14%! Instead of encouraging principals to hire certified veteran teachers the DOE encouraged principals to hire "newbies", by implementing the "fair student funding" policy (which is only 90% funded) that incentivizes schools to hire "the cheapest and not the best teachers" for their schools, commonly known as "education on the cheap".
Next, in 2012, another Bloomberg Chancellor, Dennis Walcott, known as the Mayor's poodle allowed a discipline flag to be placed in the file, on any educator who had a substantiated OSI or SCI investigation, even when the 3020-a charges were found not to be true by the State arbitrator. This was known as the "Scarlet Letter". Despite promises by the UFT leadership to take this unfair labeling to PERB or to court, they failed to do so. During the Walcott tenure the ATR pool was separated into two lists. Those that were simply excessed due to closing schools or subjects and those that were disciplined or received an "ineffective" or "unsatisfactory" rating. Another way the DOE gets a "second bite of the apple".
Finally, the DOE's Office of Legal Services have found a novel way to get a "second bite of the apple". Up until this previous school year the Office of Legal Services would include every trivial infraction as a specification in an educator's 3020-a charges and this was known as "throwing shit on the wall and hope enough sticks" to get the arbitrator to terminate the educator. However, in the 2016-17 school year the Office of Legal Services came up with a better way to get a teacher terminated in the 3020-a hearings. What the DOE does is only charge the teacher with some of the specifications and wait and see how the arbitrator rules. In almost all cases the arbitrator will give the DOE something for their troubles like a small fine. Now that the teacher is labeled the DOE will then hit the poor teacher with the rest of the charges and show the arbitrator that the teacher had a previous 3020-a and was fined and that shows the teacher cannot be rehabilitated.
The New York Post reported on one such case in today's paper and you can read it Here. Moreover, NYC Educator wrote an article about the case in depth and is a must read. Adding to the two articles is that the Principal is a Leadership Academy Principal who never had a full time teaching gig and was accused of running an academic fraud factory. In conclusion, ni the collective eyes of the DOE once charged you are always guilty and its their duty to find novel ways to terminate you by getting a second and even a third bite of the apple.