Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The UFT/DOE "Rubber Room" Agreement RevisitedThree Month Later

The UFT, with much fanfare and against the wishes of the vast majority of teachers in the "Teacher Reassignment Center" made an agreement with the DOE that expedites the 3020-a process by adding 8 new arbitrators and having them deal with the complicated teacher incompetence charges. This UFT/DOE agreement which the teachers in the "rubber room" had no input or say in, was to make the 3020-a process fairer and bring teachers back to the classroom sooner. However, the reality is quite different in the three months since this agreement was signed.

I wrote in a previous post how the UFT failed the "rubber room" teachers and that the DOE has, time and again, refused to keep their promises. Lets look at what the UFT/DOE agreement promised and see if they were kept.

  • The DOE would review charges against reassigned teachers and see if they could be sent back to school. One of the leasions at a borough reassignment center did a survey of all reassigned teachers under 3020-a charges as of June and found that not one teacher had their 3020-a charges reviewed and sent back to school during the summer. In the three months after the signing of the UFT/DOE agreement, no teacher under 3020-a charges had their charges dropped and sent back to their school, not one!
  • Principals are still reassigning teachers to the "rubber room" without telling them why they are being reassigned. Another clear violation of the agreement.
  • To my knowledge, no administrator has been brought up on charges for making "false allegations" against their teachers. I don't expect that to change despite the UFT/DOE agreement to do so.
The DOE needs to do what the rest of the State does. Only remove teachers that were arrested and subject to felony charges and those teachers that had mental breakdowns that affected their capacity to teach in the classroom. Presently, the DOE removes any teacher the school administration doesn't like. Whether it is salary, ageism, racism, or personality differences. The UFT should demand an independent investigation to determine if a teacher should be taken out of the classroom. Is it any wonder that the "rubber rooms" remain overcrowded? It is difficult to understand why the UFT allows teachers charged with minor infractions to sit side-by-side with accused felons in the overcrowded "rubber rooms". It is like putting a Jaywalker in jail and subject that person to the same charges as a serial killer. No right-thinking person believes the two should be subject to the same punishment. However, the DOE does by painting all reassigned teachers with the same broad brush. The pity of this is our union agrees to the DOE approach.

As for the ATRs? Randi Weingarten is now making the ATRs a priority item for negotiating with the DOE . This is scary. Based on how well she has negotiated for member rights in her previous negotiations with the DOE, if I was an ATR, I would be afraid, very afraid!


JUSTICE not "just us" said...

What the DOE has done with the RR is to create "a prison culture" among educators. It is designed to break you emotionally so that you can throw in the towel. The fact that there is an inordinate number of African-American, Latino and teachers that are over 40 makes it even more obscene. It is the "Guantanamo of the DOE".

I come from a long line of people who have been political prisoners in Latin America so for me I can defintely understand what the DOE is doing and why. It is heartbreaking to see my colleagues who really can not handle reassignment and take it personal.
They can keep me in the RR until hell freezes over. I have done nothing illegal or immoral. The turd that put me in there was fired and humiliated by the 4th estate and this gives some me consolation about being in the RR. The fact that I am Latino sends a message to my students who are all African-American and Latino and mostly male that even in Civil Service you can expect to be "incarcerated". This situation needs as much light as we, teachers with "cojones", can shed light on.

To those who end up in "the Guantanamos of the DOE" my advice is to get in the best physical and mental shape of your life. Organize, educate , inform , make noise with your elected politicians and go out there and tell every one what is going on.
What do you have to lose than you have not lost already? If they are going to fire us all of us they would have done it by now. We can defeat BloomKlein so long as we have the moral high ground and the law on our side.

NYC Educator said...

Sad to say, I find your points utterly persuasive. I really can't figure out what the heck the UFT patronage folks are thinking.

The ATR mess keeps me thinking, "There but for the grace of God go I." They'll make it a priority, but they've made toothless unenforceable deals in the past, as in class size and reorg 3, and there's little reason to suppose they won't do so in the future.

ed notes online said...

It's a year since the UFT rubber room swat team went into action. Good work boys (and girl.)

I have a friend with 15 years in the system and an impeccable record and rep as an excellent teacher in the RR for 7 months because a kid said she made a comment that he was an idiot and couldn't learn because he is black. What she said was "if you didn't (sounds like idiot if you stretch it) do your work you would never learn. When she calls the UFT they say "shhh. better not to rock the boat."

Chaz said...

The DOE always believes the students over the teacher and the union just lets them reassign the teacher.

Under the DOE the teacher has no rights and according to Klein all teachers reassigned did something wrong.

FidgetyTeach said...

I am sitting in the rubber room right now. It is like an insane asylum. There are people in here who need to have their cases reviewed and removed because they are harmful to the rest of us. Some are slowly deteriorating and some are just good at hiding it. Where is our Union? I don't know. Noone has returned my calls since Friday. We need action immediately!

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Union will return your calls. They are too busy helping Bloomberg to run for the third time.

Unknown said...

and to top it all off, Randi, now the president of AFT (she won an election against nobodyO and not ever again going to run for UFT president has given away our parking permits. For what in return? Probably another kiss from Joel Klein. Just another knife in the backs of her members. ATR's should start looking for new jobs. She's already sold them out, I believe.

betruetothyself said...

we need to get more organized and get the message to the public. the public does not know about us being held at bay. we are suffering it the worst ways. i have seen too many people in the room lose it. i brain wash myself everyday to stay strong. however, how long will i be able to stay sane in this volatile, caustic and denigrating process. i feel like a prisoner that goes home in the evenings but then goes back to work release. we need to get our message out! Save US!

Chaz said...

The answer is to wait out the kleinberg administration until the cost to the City forces them to cry "uncle".

As long as Randi digs in her heels and does not give away tenure, the City cannot do a thing but pay the ATRs year after year.

Unknown said...

Randi is not capable of digging in her heels for her members. Since the contract of 2005 she has cowtowed to her freinds Klein and Bloomberg. Don't trust her. I believer she already is selling out the ATR folks, making a deal and hoping to get out of the UFT with her reputation intact. Don't let her fool you, she's not on our side anymore.

Anonymous said...

An alternate procedure to that now in place could track the provisions applicable in Civil Service Law Section 72 Leave for ordinary disability cases. Essentially, Section 72 bars an appointing authority from removing an employee from his or her postion [i.e., work-station] until after a hearing is held and an a determination is made that he or she is unable to perform the duties of the postion due to a disability or sickness unless the individual poses an immediate danger to himself/herselp or to co-workers or to the public being served.