New York State has written a proposal to reform the teacher discipline system in their flawed and failed Race To The Top (RTTT) proposal. However, the New York State proposal is vague, short on information, and is really wishful thinking at best. The State RTTT proposes to streamline the 3020-a process and of course, appears to lack input from the very members subject to the 3020-a process. School-based teachers and administrators that would be affected were not consulted and it appears NYSUT had no meaningful input into the proposed changes as well. Only non educators, primarily lawyers for the State school districts seem to have developed the proposals.
It is well understood that the 3020-a process is slow moving and in some cases glacial with teachers spending over three years in the process. In fact a study in the New York State Public Personnel Law document published the following information from a Micheile Handzel who is General Consul of the Council of School Superintendents in New York State.
"Mr. Handzel’s presentation cites a recent New York State School Board Association survey covering 2004 through 2008 in which it received responses from 400 school districts. NYSSBA's report indicated that it took an average of 502 days to conclude a full §3020-a disciplinary hearing. The hearing itself took an average of 176 days and there was an average of 136 days between the last hearing day and the date of a decision".
It is quite obvious that 502 days to complete a 3020-a disciplinary process is quite long. However, what Mr. Handzel fails to mention is that New York State Law requires "due process" for tenured teachers and administrators. Therefore, these educators are entitled to a full and fair hearing. What are the major items that Mr. Handzel's legal analysis includes in the New York State's RTTT proposal? They are:
- expedite the 3020-a process.
- financial incentives to resolve 3020-a charges.
- reduce State financial requirements to arbitrators and transcribers.
- eliminate a full 3020-a hearing for teachers who are not properly certified.
Here again, the very groups who are affected by the 3020-a process are not consulted and only non educator lawyers are allowed any input into New York State's flawed RTTT proposal. I am glad that New York State's RTTT proposal is dead on arrival and let's hope it stays that way.