Saturday, September 05, 2009
For Teachers Who Have Been Targeted By Their Principals - Here Are TheThings Teachers Should Not Do.
As the 2009-10 school year starts on Tuesday, many teachers are already being targeted by the Principal for either incompetence and/or misconduct. The end result is an eventual 3020-a termination process. There are many reasons that Principals want to terminate teachers ranging from ageism, salary, personality, unionism, and retaliation. Granted, 10% of the teachers charged under 3020-a probably deserve the charges. However, the other 90% do not. Unfortunately, teachers are easy targets when it comes to filing charges since teachers' skills are based on their caring & nurturing of the students. However, when it comes to legal issues, teachers are basically clueless on how to fight the charges against them. Therefore, the targeted teachers rely on either overworked NYSUT lawyers who far to often pressure the innocent teacher to plead guilty and pay a hefty fine or suspension or pay large legal fees to have a private lawyer represent them in the 3020-a disciplinary hearing. Consequently, many a targeted teacher ends up taking a deal and returning to school as an ATR without a classroom or building seniority.
What are the things that teacher should not do? Here is my list,
First, if the Principal or any other administrator offers you the "Peer-Intervention- Program" plus, known as PIP+, don't accept it under any circumstances. The latest statistics show that anywhere between 75% and 90% of the teachers fail PIP+. Its little wonder since the DOE pays the PIP+ vendor. Furthermore, the PIP+ educator is required to testify against you in the eventual 3020-a hearing making it easier to terminate you. Better to refuse PIP+ than have an expert teacher testify against you.
Second, never have a meeting with the Principal without the Chapter Leader present. There have been numerous instances where the Principal has called in a targeted teacher and offered the teacher a chance to resign and have the previous annual"U" ratings changed to "S" until the end of the present school year. Since the meeting is not disciplinary in nature, the Chapter Leader is not asked to be present. In some cases the Principal demands an answer immediately and a few teachers are pressured to resign. Under no circumstances should a teacher be threatened into resigning.
Third, if the Special Commissioner Of Investigations (SCI) wants to talk to you, don't you even consider it. Make sure you contact the union and they will arrange for you to be represented by a lawyer who will tell you not to talk to them. These investigators are biased and unfair and they are only out to "get the teacher" not find out the truth. The SCI investigators are notorious for substantiating the most frivolous events as serious misconduct.
Fourth, if it is the Office Of Special Investigations is doing the investigation then the union's position is to talk to them. However, the OSI investigations are also "biased and unfair" and I strongly recommend that the targeted teacher not speak to the investigator since the typical union advocate is worthless and are of little help in your case. To them it is just an extra union paycheck and they are more concerned in keeping good relations with the OSI investigator rather than advocating for the teacher.
Fifth, never respond immediately to a Letter-In-File (LIF) given you. Pen your response after calming down and assume it will be used against you in a disciplinary hearing. A month would be a good time to pen your response to a LIF after you have had time to look at it calmly and talk to people you trust and respect. Never give a full explanation in your response since you will be stuck with that explanation at the 3020-a hearing. Just write your denials of the charges and save the details for your 3020-a disciplinary hearing.
Finally, write up all events, either in a diary or notebook, including all conversations with administrators. They will be very important in your 3020-a hearing since after two years people can't remember many of the specific charges leveled against you but you will be able to have it written down for review and comment.
I am sure there are commenters that have additional ones to add to my list. Let's see them.