Randi Weingarten of the UFT with much fanfare had vowed to close down the "rubber rooms" by signing an agreement with Joel Klein to have the DOE legal Office offer settlements to teachers subject to 3020-a charges and to seriously question the Principal's motives when they remove teachers from the classroom. For a fleeting moment the July 2nd 2008 agreement appeared to have had an impact. It did seem that many teachers were offered settlements and Principals appeared reluctant to remove teachers. The "rubber rooms" were slowly emptying out. However, since the holidays there has been a dramatic reversal on all fronts. The first teachers who were subject to the PIP+ process and allegedly found incompetent were no longer offered deals under the newTeacher Performance Unit (TPU). Only resignation or retirement were allowed. Further, Principals, under increasing budget restrictions and knowing that teachers are off their payroll in 60 days, would have senior teachers who are eligible for retirement, removed from the school after the Principals realized that the DOE legal Office was not serious in questioning the motives of the Principals' removal process. Moreover, the continued biased investigative arms of the DOE, the Office Of Special Investigations (OSI) and the Special Commissioner Of Investigations (SCI) assume teacher guilt and aids the Principal in railroading the teacher out of the classroom.
Obviously, the union has been caught sleeping at the switch as the much promised reforms and fairer treatment for "reassigned teachers"has been disregarded by the DOE. Furthermore, the DOE and the Principals are discriminating against older teachers and are using "ageism" in accounting for the increase in 50+ year old teachers sent to the "rubber room". Therefore, as the "rubber rooms" are filling up with older teachers the union just looks the other way. Where is the discrimination lawsuit now that the DOE has shown their hand and are actively engaged in removing senior teachers? based upon previous actions, don't count on the UFT to do the right thing and bring an age discrimination lawsuit on behalf of the senior teachers. Why do we pay outrageous union dues if the union does not advocate for us and stop the DOE's abuse of power?
It is very discouraging how the union keeps dropping the ball and lets the DOE get away with abusing teachers.
I just ask that the union live up to it's requirements and protect the teacher from the abuse of the DOE. So far, I am disappointed on the union's lack of aggressive action to counter the DOE.