Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Peek Into The DOE's Secretive "Gotcha Squad" And How They Are Trying To Terminate Teachers

I have been viewing the blog "rubber room reporter" and found an in-depth account how the DOE's Teacher Performance Unit (TPU) operates. The TPU is a $1.2 million dollar group, made up of lawyers and retired Principals, and has developed a process, including a worksheet for Principals on how to terminate teachers for alleged incompetence. Randi Weingarten has nicknamed the TPU the "gotcha squad" and has complained about their purpose. However, the union has done nothing to combat this secretive group in their bid to terminate teachers. Little was known about how this secretive TPU group works until Betsy Combier filed a "Freedom Of Information Request" or otherwise known as FOIL and then published it on the blog.

What is very interesting about how the "gotcha squad" works is that they seem to require that the targeted teacher go through PIP+ where 75% of the teachers are found incompetent. More about PIP+ in a later article but it is safe to say that the union approved PIP+ is just another Tweed tool to terminate teachers. Furthermore, the Principals are required to fill out the "Principal Worksheet To Terminate The Teacher." Finally, the Principal gives the poor teacher her final "U" observation once PIP+ is completed and the teacher is now removed from the classroom and the eventual filing of 3020-a charges a couple of months later.

It is unfortunate that we have a real enemy in Tweed rather than a partner to improve education. Tweed will do anything they can to terminate senior teachers, whatever the cost. Remember this is not about the children and the collateral damage done to them when a teacher is removed from the classroom. It is about the DOE's "Children Last" policy.


JUSTICE not "just us" said...

One is not paranoid if they are out to get you!

Chaz said...


Anybody who thinks we are being paranoid just needs to connect the dots:

Increase in ATRs
overcrowded "rubber rooms"
The continued hiring of "newbie" teachers.

Under Assault said...

Enabled by complicit union officials who roll over and play dead in the face of union busting.

Anonymous said...

Hey chaz I would love to be a be guset blogger possibly on your blog and would love to hear from you please contact me at

Chaz said...


I agree with you completely.

Anon 3:09:

I will email you about this.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Chaz,

I'm an applicant to the 2009 teaching fellows program, and I'm SO glad that your blog (as well as many other amazing blogs written by experienced teachers) exists!

Because of you I feel certain I will reject any offer letter I get from NYCTF. I'm applying to graduate schools to become a teacher the proper way. (Any suggestions, BTW?)

I don't want to be part of the problem! I hope some of the other NYCTF applicants for this year read about the ATR crisis and the DOE's discrimination before signing up to be, essentially, temp teachers.

I mean, I had every intention of becoming a teacher for life (I come from a long, proud line of public school teachers) and thought the NYCTF was a good way to go about that, but now I know what the program exists to do to the profession - kill it.

Anyways, just my $.02.

Kaytie Tanner
NYU '09
future English teacher

Anonymous said...


I took the time to read all the emails that Betsy published on her blog. It is almost chilling to realize that all the offers of help between the Tweed folks and the principals are offers to 'find' and document teacher incompetence. The subttext is that the incompetence will be 'found' whether it exists or not.

LI Educator

NY_I said...

The new PIP+ configuration is a serious betrayal of confidence. The PIP observers withhold formal, written reports from the teachers that they observe. The teachers under review may only see them during their 3020-a hearings. This is part of the process for terminating teachers. Thank you for adding vital details to this issue. (I have further details at my New York City Eye blog.)

Chaz said...

Thanks for the support. I have included you in my blogroll.

proofoflife said...

My principal is building a case on me. She has not observed me once this year! Another rat bastard teacher ( her pet) claimed I attacked her. The Rat was taken to the hospital inder the guise that I gave her an anxiety attack. I just heard that another teacher is missing 15 years of positive observations from her file. I have a meeting on Monday with the principal. I have been told I am getting a letter to the file. Funny thing is no one has asked me my side of the story. It is not really funny because I have been in a state of panic. It might come as a surprise to the UFT , but I do not want to go to the RR. I don't see it as a "vacation". Chaz , what you say is very true. My fellow teachers say, "don't worry she can't do that to you." They do not read the blogs. They don't realize the leadership of the DOE can and is doing far more than most members are aware of! I only hope on Monday I can remain cool calm and collected as they are going for my throat!

Unknown said...

I have to wonder WHY Bloomberg and Klein are so vociferously seeking to terminate teachers. Not to drag other city workers into the muck, but does Bloomberg train his sights on the police, fire department and sanitation workers,, the way he has focused on teachers?
It would be interesting to know WHY we, the teachers are in his sights as targets for termination. Are we in the way of something else that may be on his agenda? It would be interesting to know just WHY teachers seem to be targeted, and not personnel in the other departments of the city.
Anyone care to venture an opinion or shed some light on this observation?