Thursday, June 04, 2009

Why A Teacher Should Never Accept The Phony PIP+ Program - Unless The Teacher Wants To Be Terminated




For teachers who have been targeted for incompetence, the procedure by the Principal is to first give "U" observations the first year and give a "U" rating for the year. The second year the "U" observations continue and the Principal offer the Peer Intervention Program (PIP). The Principal must offer PIP if the Principal is to file future 3020-a charges against the teacher. However, even if the PIP teacher does not find any significant problem with the targeted teacher's classroom instruction, the Principal will continue to order the APs to give "U" observations and for the second year, an annual "U" rating.

Because the PIP program is a union program to help the teacher, the PIP teacher usually gives favorable comments about the targeted teacher's teaching ability. The PIP program in conjunction with the poor write ups the administrators do make it very difficult to terminate a teacher for alleged incompetence. Hence the PIP+ program.

Enter the DOE's infamous Teacher Performance Unit (TPU) otherwise known as the "Gotcha Squad". The TPU is a 1.2 million dollar group of retired Principals and DOE lawyers who's only purpose is to terminate teachers by any means possible. One of the components of the TPU is to make sure that the targeted teacher be given the PIP+ program. Unlike the PIP program the PIP+ program is fully funded by the DOE and uses outside vendors to supply retired teachers, usually not affiliated with NYC to evaluate the targeted teacher. Since the vendor is dependent on the DOE for their funding, it makes sense that the teachers they hire for the PIP+ program will follow the Principal's wishes and help terminate the teacher. Admittedly, not all PIP+ teachers do this but enough do that over 75% (some say its 90%) of the teachers fail PIP+. Once the targeted teacher fails PIP+, the poor teacher is removed to the "rubber room" and given a third consecutive annual "U" rating. It goes without saying that if a PIP+ teacher is too favorable of the targeted teacher, and pisses off the Principal, they will not be selected by the vendor for future assignments. Therefore, the high failure rate under PIP+.

Once the targeted teacher fails PIP+, the Principal notifies the TPU unit who starts 3020-a termination procedures as found on this link The question becomes what should a targeted teacher do? The answer is simple. "DO NOT ACCEPT PIP+" Despite the union's approval of the PIP+ program under article 21G.9 (pgs 121-123) of the Contract, it is simply a means to terminate teachers. Why our union has bought into this DOE inspired termination process is quite simple. Our union leaders, who have not been in the classroom for decades, has lost touch with what really goes on in the schools. Furthermore, our union leaders are not affected by PIP+.

Shame on the DOE, for using a program that the only purpose is to terminate teachers. Shame on the Union that accepts this program and knows that failing it will add ammunition to the DOE in their efforts to terminate the teacher. Finally, shame on teachers that for a few pieces of gold are willing to help terminate their peers.

27 comments:

Study said...

Good logic to PIP program. Its as tough as Praxis II exams was. Thank god I do not have such program.

NYC Educator said...

Tell it, Chaz. No one else is. I don't know where you get this stuff, but thanks.

Chaz said...

nyc educator:

Toop many teachers put their head in the sand and are oblivious to the potential abuses administrators are capable of. However, it is the District Reps who are really at fault. They should be telling the Chapter Leaders why they should alert their teachers of the dangers of PIP+. Presently, they are doing no such thing.

Anonymous said...

Chapter leaders do not explain aything to the teachers because they are so busy drinking coffee and wasting their time. In my school the chapter leader has periods off to do absolutely nothing. Nobody complains about anything for fear to the principal who is the best friend of the chapter leader.

Chaz said...

aNON:

I'm sure you are correct about some CL's. However, the teachers vote the jerk in. Blame the teachers since they are too ignorant and or lazy to protect their own rights. However, reduced by our current union hacks.

Anonymous said...

So I'm a little confused. If you are U rated, the principal has to offer you help to improve. So first they try PIP - right. Then they can still U rate you even if PIP doesn't find anything wrong with your classroom practice. After that you are offered PIP+? What happens if you refuse? Can you say you want a colleague to help you? I'm just a little confused about what happens after your second U.

Chaz said...

Anon:

Its simple. Under the union contract, if you refuse PIP+, the DOE can say that you refused PIP+. However, by refusing PIP+ the DOE can't use the PIP+ teacher as a witness and the phonyobservations against you at the 3020-a hearing.

UA said...

Very interesting. Never thought of it this way, so thanks. I'll pass the word.

Anonymous said...

Chaz,

What would we do without you? nyc educator is correct, you certainly come up with some very interesting topics that our union seems to ignore.

Chaz said...

I try to do my best. Knowledge is power and the more we know the more we can help our fellow teachers.

I hope to post more on the infamous TPU unit in the future.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Where's our union to protect us?

Chaz said...

Anon:

I have been asking the same question.

Anonymous said...

It is a good idea not to accept PIP plus as it is DOE's burden to present credible evidence at anyone's 3020a proceeding. Why walk into a known trap. Actually an Union rep said not to accept pip plus.

Chaz said...

Anon:

Of course I agre with you. However, too many CL's are not informed about the danger of the PIP+ program.

Anonymous said...

Not only you should not take pip plus, try your best to disrupt your principal's momentum in the building of incompetence cases. Do whatever you can, take a leave, switch school, even force DoE to charge you with minor misconduct to buy some time.

Anonymous said...

Many teachers who have been targeted for incompetence charges do not fully understand what a perilous position they are in. Incompetence charges are most vicious in declaring that you are wholly no good. If the charges stand, there is no rescue. It is a slow but certain death, and principal controls all the cards and there are no variables as in the trumped up and twisted cases of misconduct, corporal punishment and verbal abuse. In these cases Principals have to depend upon students testimonies, which are known to be much less certain, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Even the charges of corporal punishment or verbal abuse were substantiated at a hearing, that teacher only has a problem in managing the class, the shortcoming can be remedied by taking some college classes. Incompetence is a totally different story, you are not to belong to any school.

Chaz said...

Anons:

That is the point. Our union does not inform the teachers until it is too late. In some cases the CL's aid the Principal in destroying a teacher. I blame the DR's since they know the score and have the ability to:

1. Inform the CL & teacher what the Principal is doing.

2. Put pressure on the Principal by using the resources of the union.

3. Final a complaint to PERB of administrative abuse by the Principal.

Of course, don't expect our union to care. Therefore, nothing will be done to help the teacher targeted by the Principal.

Anonymous said...

documentation is very important. keep good records of all conversations. File harassment charges against them right away. let them see they are not dealing with a lame duck.

Chaz said...

anon:

That's the point. If the CL & the teacher files harassment charges and has the backing of the union, then you can stop the Principal. However, our union does not like to do this. Hence, the problem.

Anonymous said...

Confrontation with principal in most cases only adds fuel to the fire, the principal will most likely double his or her effort in seeing that teacher fired.
I know an extraordinary capable teacher who filed a grievance against her principal for harassment at the union's recommendation, and whom is also sought after by other principals. However, her principal not only refused to release her, she also brought up incompetence charges against her. Her principal prepared box after box of so-called evidences to the hearing.
No one will beat incompetence charges, be prepared for up to one year suspension if you keep your job.

Anonymous said...

Chaz is right. You can't keep ducking and if the teacher is as good as you claim. I'm sure the arbitrator will see right through the Principal's attempt. Further, the teacher can show retaliation. As an experienced veteran of the 3020-a process, when Principals lie they get caught and the teacher may be fined but not suspended.

Anonymous said...

None of the attorneys and arbitrator is a pedigogue, who are they to question a principal's judgement except a frensic expert such as a professor in education supervision and instruction. There have been teachers who survived 3020a charges of incompetence with hefty fines and suspensions, no one I know of completely defeated incompetence charges when the case is well prepared as most of recent ones are.
DOE's incompetence charge has little to do with teaching, it is largely subjective to the princiapal as to whether learning occurs or not.
Some principals may initially only want to get rid of a teacher from the building, just do not push them to get personal and to terminate.

Anonymous said...

When a teacher is being offered PIP plus, it is pretty clear that Department legal service is involved at this stage, that teacher needs to talk to an attorney familiar with the 3020a proceeding. Pitchfork does not match drones with GPS missiles. If a case is being built by a principal, something should be found to undo or delay the process.

Anonymous said...

Read this article by the truly fabulous Betsy Combier:

http://parentadvocates.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=7534

Chaz said...

Anon:

I disagree with you that the DOE has prepared their case well. In fact, the Principal sometimes is the best witness when she falls apart when crossed-examined by the NYSUT attorney.

Even to an arbitrator it is obvious when the NYSUT attorney shows that the students showed academic progress and the parents are happy with the teacher.

It is only when PIP+ is introduced does it become a problem as the PIP+ teacher is called in and may be beelieved.

Anonymous said...

It is the understanding from my observation that as long as a principal follows proper procedure in building an incompetence charge, the results of the hearing will be quite obvious, that teacher will be either fined, suspended, even terminated. It is none other than TPU from the legal service who assists principals in building their cases. It is pretty tough to beat.