I broke an almost three year silence on commenting on Edwize after reading Ron Issac's article on the the recently negotiated agreement with the DOE on the Teachers Reassignment Center (TRC) commonly known as the "rubber room". I couldn't let the article and Ron Isaac's betrayal of the teachers he is supposed to represent go without responding to it. It is bad enough that the UFT keeps negotiating with the DOE at the expense of the teachers but it is worse when they brag how they helped the teachers when common sense suggests otherwise. The Ice blog and myself previously wrote a piece about how this settlement was not good for the teachers and can be found here.
First, I must comment on how most people think that the teachers reassigned to the TRC belong there. Nothing is farther from the truth. Most teachers are reassigned to the "rubber room" due to incompetent, vindictive, or insecure principals. Furthermore, ageism and salary are also a factor. Finally, the investigative process is one-sided and unfair, every teacher can be accussed oi misconduct or incompetence if the administration is out to get you. Since only 7% of the teachers, subject to 3020-a charges are actually terminated, the question is why make things easier for the DOE in their persecution of teachers? Leave it to the UFT in doing just that with their agreement with Tweed. Let's look at how Ron Issac spun the agreement.
- The principals no longer need to show up at the 3020-a hearing but can testify from the comfort of their office where notes and reminders are sitting on their desk. Where is the teacher's due process rights? What happened to the right of facing your accuser? How is this a win Ron?
- The disciplinary process that is one-sided and unfair, remains unchanged. Why didn't the union demand an independent investigation to determine if the teacher needs to be removed? If the DOE and UFT wanted to reduce the "rubber room" overcrowding they could have had an independent arbitrator review the existing cases to determine if they should be sent back to the classroom. How is this a win Ron when the process remains unchanged?
- The adding of 8 arbitrators is a win for the DOE and a loss for the teachers. Three out of four teachers want the process to run as long as possible. Even Randi acknowledged this. The longer the hearing process goes, the fuzzier the memory, witnesses disappear, and the web of half-truths fall apart. Expediting the 3020-a hearing process not only saves the DOE money, but helps them in their case against the teacher. This further weakens the safeguards of teacher "due process" rights. This is another win Ron?
- The unenforceabilty of any DOE decision that violates this agreement. The UFT does not have any enforceable authority if the DOE does not follow the agreement, and of course as history has shown, Tweed will only follow what they want to. Anything that is not enforceable is not worth the paper it's written on.