Monday, December 17, 2007

The "Probable Cause" Bomb By The DOE & The Union's Ignorance

The DOE has apparently expanded the definition of the "probable cause" section for teachers subject to 3020a proceedings. The "probable cause" section allows the DOE to suspend teachers for two months without pay. The union informed us that the "probable cause" section would only be used against teachers subject to felony arrest, sexual touching or repeated sexual talk. Seems fair if the police have a probable cause to arrest you or you deliberately touched a student in an inappropriate area (breast, ass, privates, inside thighs) or you repeatedly talked sexual things with the students you can be subject to the "probable cause" section of the contract.

However, lately the DOE and their investigating arms (OSI & SCI) are carving new ground on what is subject to the "probable cause" section", thanks to the failure of the UFT & NYSUT to challenge their perverted interpretation , that any touch or statement can, and will be determined to be sexual in nature.

Praise a student and use a word like kiss in a sentence and you can be subject to sexual talk.

Touch a shoulder or arm and you can be ac cussed of sexual touching.

You try to challenge a student to do better and the student doesn't like it, you can be ac cussed of sexual harassment.

Sounds crazy. How can anybody equate the above actions with the original intent of the "probable cause" section? Unfortunately Randi and her flunky, Leo Casey, convinced the members that only the most serious misconduct would apply to the "probable cause" section of the contract. When in fact it only takes an OSI or SCI investigator to state that he or she thinks it was sexual. Sure the teachers are allowed to try to rebut the SCI investigators (apparently not the OSI investigators). However, very few teachers win. The result is that the DOE has expanded the pool of teachers subject to the "probable cause". section.

Why haven't the UFT & NYSUT fought this expansion of the "probable cause" definition? I don't know. Maybe they don't care. Or worse, they are in agreement with the DOE and to keep the peace with the DOE, they just sacrifice some teachers. Whatever the reasons the unions are aiding and abetting the DOE in their attack on teachers.

While Randi dances with Bloomie her teachers are being suspended without pay for actions that no right-thinking people would find wrong. Thanks Randi, thanks a lot.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

How Come I Didn't Get Invited To Randi's Party?

I read with utter shock that Randi Weingarten had her 50th birthday party and didn't invite me. As a dedicated dues-paying member of the UFT, I am upset that Randi didn't give me the opportunity to donate $100 and rub elbows with the likes of Leo (Darfur) Casey, Chancellor Klein, and Mayor Bloomberg. Wait a second, why was the Chancellor and Mayor invited to the party? I'm sure they didn't donate $100!

How many of the rank and file teachers were invited? My guess, not too many. Is this the same Randi Weingarten who was outraged by Kleinberg's "gotcha squad last month? I guess now that she is 50 (AARP eligible) Randi is allowed to have those senior moments by forgetting how anti-teacher Kleinberg is. Let me remind Randi what Kleinberg has done.

First, the elimination of grievances of LIF

Second, the end of the senior transfer system.

Third, the inclusion of the "probable cause" in the teacher contract that is currently being abused by the DOE to suspend teachers for up to three months without pay.

Fourth, severely restricting teacher- directed classroom learning.

Fifth, any student accusation is believed while the teacher response is not. The result, lack of discipline as teachers are afraid of being removed.

Six, the rapid increase in ATR's and "rubber room" teachers.

Seven, the increase in teachers leaving the NYC school system due to the difficulties in the classroom and the culture of teacher disrespect by Kleinberg.

There are many more anti-teacher actions by Kleinberg. However, I'm too tired to list them all.

I am sooooooo depressed that Randi Weingarten didn't invite me to her birthday party, I think I will celebrate Randi's birthday with a beer and a candlelight vigil at the local pub.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

DOE's Firing Squad

I found the e-mail from Chancellor Joel Klein quite humorous. The e-mail claimed how pro-teacher he is. However, it's not what you say but do and its very obvious that the reality is that Chancellor Klein and his cronies are anti-teacher.

The latest in his anti-teacher action is his use of one million dollars of precious funds to create a group of lawyers and retired principals to fire teachers for incompetence. It appear Kleinberg is frustrated how few teachers are fired for incompetence. The memo claimed only ten teachers were fired. Hence the DOE statement that they are not going after teachers. However, add hundreds (yes hundreds) of teachers who have been given (or will be given) 3020a charges for incompetence and DOE is trying to fire them all. How interesting Chancellor Klein's memo didn't include that! I guess he forgot.

The UFT calls this group the "gotcha squad". However, let's call it like it is a "firing squad".
The main purpose of this group is to help principals properly document their incompetence charges. To the uninformed teacher it might not seem like a big deal. However, it is a big deal.
Any teacher that runs afoul of a principal can be brought up on charges of incompetence. How you say?

First, you get a "U" observation and lesson plan. Next, the follow-up observation is "U". This continues for the year which finally results in a "U' for the year. The next year you are given a terrible schedule which will guarantee that you will be given the Peer Intervention Program (PIP). However, this will not stop the "U" rating the second year. Finally, you will be removed from classroom teaching and spend some time during clerical work in your school while the 3020a charges are filed.

This can't happen to you? Guess again. Even the best teachers can be railroaded. It only takes a student talking out of turn, or turning your back to the class to write something, and even a subjective determination that your lesson was not focused to get a "U" observation. The rest is obvious on the teacher's road to incompetence.

I believe the union needs to do more than simply wait out Bloomberg & Klein. The UFT should should be pro-active in demonstrating their objections to the anti-teacher DOE. We have given up too much to Kleinberg, its time to draw a line in the sand and yell "enough". We need to get our respect back. It's time to stop the DOE bullies!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kleinberg's Camp Granada

Back in November 2003 an anonymous 5th-grade teacher took Allan Sherman's classic hit about a summer camp (hello Muddah, hello Faddah) and put it into words for the New York City classroom. This song was published in the New York Teacher paper. I believe it is a good time to recreate this classic.

Hello Bloomberg, hello Klein. All your teachers have lost their minds. Your new workshops aren't pretty, we would be so glad if you both left the city.

All our classes are overcrowded and all our textbooks have been shrouded.
Now we are teaching without foundation. What will happen to the future generation?

Please just go. Oh, Mr. Mayor please just go. Do us a favor and Mr. Klein you both should go away. Please leave us and just resign!

From a rocker we're all reading. But are our students all succeeding? Please explain how we can all fit a class of thirty-five on a small carpet?

Don't you think it would be wise to make each class a smaller size? Instead you both decided all our readings should be shared or should be guided.

Please just go. Oh, Mr. Mayor please just go. Do us a favor and Mr Klein you both should go away. Please, leave us and just resign.

Now, about working conditions. Parents should start writing the petition. And the children are all complaining. It's too hot and cramped, it is really much too draining.

The windows in the classroom only open six inches. And if we leave them open too long, the pigeons fly in and make the classroom their new home.

Please just go. Oh, Mr. Mayor please just go. Do us this favor and Mr. Klein. You both should go away. Please leave us and just resign.

All the teachers work day and night.Our mini-lessons must be just right.
The teaching point,on charts, no chalk. Wait a minute, we forgot to "turn and talk".

Now lets talk about the new rules.No more chalkboards to be in the schools. Children's seats should be in fours. We don't remember voting on these laws.

Please just go. Oh, Mr. Mayor please just go. Do us a favor and Mr. Klein. You both should go away. Please leave us and just resign.

To the teachers, you just say. Longer hours, for little pay. Our contract you won't honor. Especially, for our teachers, it is a dishonor.

A few last questions before we go. How were you taught years ago? You sat in rows, what a pity! Are you sure your smart enough to run a city?

Note: Some changes were made by me to account for the last four years. However, almost all of it is a recreation. Maybe the UFT should use this song as a rallying cry for teacher respect.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What Does The Teacher Retention Satistics Show?

According to the union over 4,600 teachers resigned over the last year. This is double the resignations of the previous years. These resignations do not include retirements or firing's! Why are so many NYC teachers quitting the profession despite a 40% increase in teacher pay since 2002?

Could it be the overcrowded classrooms? How about the extra classroom duties like a sixth period? Or maybe it is the overall disrespect of teachers by the administration? Possibly the reluctance of teachers to discipline or interact with students for fear of being assigned to a "rubber room" (which went from 315 in March 2005 to 757 by June of 2007). while a biased and one-sided investigation is conducted on the poor teacher. In reality its a combination of all the factors cited above.

The doubling of teachers resigning and being assigned to the "rubber room" is no coincidence. The life of a New York City classroom teacher is becoming more and more dangerous and time-consuming. The New York City teacher does not command respect by the administration and a student's word is often believed over the teacher's. Is it any wonder why more and more teachers are resigning?

What can be done about this? Like I said previously. The union must start running ads showing how the Kleinberg administration is anti-teacher. Show how few teachers resign in the surrounding school districts and even fewer are reassigned, unless charged for a criminal activity.

It is obvious to me that the Kleinberg administration is anti-teacher (especially the older teacher) and the DOE motto should be that students lie....except about their teacher!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What is DOE's Idea Of A Good Teacher?

It is becoming very obvious that the DOE's idea of a good teacher has the following qualities.

1. Less than 5 years of experience (cheap).

2. Works on mindless test preparation.

3. Never questions a Principal's decision.

4. Do extra work without compensation.

5. Healthy and takes few days off.

6. Quits before the City pays a pension.

This is the main reason that the national test scores have remained stagnant the last five years.

However, there are other reasons for the stagnant teat schools. For example, the vast majority of the teachers reassigned to the "rubber room" are 45 or older. The very veteran teachers that can make a difference in the classroom. Instead, there are over 750 teachers currently reassigned and the numbers are increasing daily. As I have said previously, only 10% really belong there.

Further, many veteran teachers still in the classroom no longer challenge the students for fear of being accused of inappropriate behavior. Remember, the DOE philosophy is that students lie....except when it is about their teacher.

Finally, the quality of principals have deteriorated and many of them are vindictive and insecure. These principals want young, inexperienced teachers who when the principal says jump, they respond high high? While the experienced teacher would say why?

I see an acceleration of this process by the DOE with the end result of little or no academic progress, an increase in "rubber room" teachers, and a mass retirement in the next five years.

The DOE's idea of a good teacher? An inexperienced and cheap teacher who will leave the system before they are pension eligible. As for the rest of us. I guess it's time to count the days before retirement.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Any Questions On What The DOE has In Store For Teachers?

Despite an upcoming budget deficit that requires the DOE to reduce spending by 2.5% , the DOE has allocated one million dollars to hire a staff of lawyers and consultants to help principals terminated teachers for incompetence. I guess increasing the amount of the teachers in the rubber rooms by 233% is not enough for these non-educators. It is now quite obvious that the Bloomberg/Klein administration is anti-teacher. No matter how much Randi gives in they want more.

How do we put a stop to this witch hunt on teachers?

First, do not buy into the DOE policy to remove any teacher that they decide to, without a fair and unbiased investigation. Presently, that is not the case. The smallest item that OSI/SCI or the principal can substantiate results in the teacher's removal and a 3020a charge.

Second, do not hire any more arbitrators or NYSULT lawyers. If DOE wants to remove even more teachers, then stop helping them by buying into this perverted process. Further, the UFT must make sure that the arbitrators are handing out fair judgements.

Third, it is time that the UFT becomes pro-active in exposing the DOE's anti-teacher bias. Full page ads in the major newspapers and television showing how the DOE discriminates against tenured teachers.

Finally, 90% of the teachers in the rubber rooms should not be there and the DOE's perversion of the investigation process should be confronted by the UFT, not ignored.

To the UFT, talk is cheap, results are what is necessary.