Saturday, October 03, 2009
Tweed Protects & Supports Bullying Principals And Allows ThemTo Remove Teachers As They Wish
The DOE claims that they take bullying very seriously and in the newspaper Gay City News , claim that they have strengthened the "Respect For All" program. However, the truth is that while the DOE tries to strengthen anti-bullying policies for students they are doing the opposite when it comes to teachers. Under non-educator Joel Klein's tenure, principals, many of them with little or no classroom experience, have been abusing their staffs and bullying them with threats of removal if they complain.
I have spoken to some Chapter Leaders (CLs) about the bullying of staff and they told me that the Principals seem to think they are empowered to do as they please in their schools. For example, one Principal assigned a "newbie teacher" two lunchroom monitor assignments despite the union contract. When the CL confronted the Principal about it he told the CL that the teacher volunteered to do the assignments. Of course this was untrue and when the CL tried to get the "newbie teacher" to grieve it she said that the Principal threatened to fire her (she's untenured) and needed the job. Another CL informed me that she was told that the Principal was not paying teachers to stay after school and participate in a late dismissal bus program that extended the teacher's day an extra 45 minutes. Under the previous Principal this was a per session job and many of the teachers shared the responsibility. However, the old Principal was forced to retire and a "Leadership Academy Principal" took her place. This "Leadership Academy Principal" with less than two years in the classroom, forced untenured teachers to volunteer to work the late dismissal program without compensation. The CL did grieve it but the DOE is delaying hearing the case and in the meantime the program is in effect without compensating the teachers.
Under Joel Klein's tenure, Tweed has always took the administrator's side when they bully the teachers. Tweed is known to find ways to violate teacher rights in the contract. You just need to look at the many grievances the union has to file on the same issues that are clearly stated in the contract. However. our union must be more aggressive in going after Principals that bully and
abuse the school staff. That means that the District Reps (DRs) must be given both the authority and the means to intercede with the Principal and let them know that abusing and bullying a staff member is unacceptable and will result in serious consequences if they do not stop it. Presently, many of the DRs seem either not to care or are unable to get bully principals to stop abusing school staff.
Finally, the union collects 140 million dollars from our dues. Some of that money should be spent on independent investigators who are called in by the union when an investigation of a teacher is started. Presently, there is no independent investigation process that is fair to the teacher and without an independent investigation, more and more teachers are subject for removal from the school simply because of an allegation, true or not. More about unfair investigations in my next post.