It is time to see how the "rubber room agreement" is being implemented and I must say the movie "The good, the bad, and the ugly" properly fits the failure of the DOE and the UFT meeting their obligations. I would like to report that the "rubber room agreement" is going smoothly. However, it appears that except for the eventual elimination of the "rubber rooms" where teachers were being warehoused, many of the promises have not been kept. Let's look at how the "rubber room agreement" is working.
It does appear that the DOE is living up to Mayor Bloomberg's commitment to close the "rubber rooms" despite unhappiness from Tweed and the Children First Network (CFN) administrators. Furthermore, the DOE has made an effort to settle as many cases as possible (on their terms - more about this later). Finally, with a new transcription service, no longer are there lengthily delays to close a hearing because of a lack of transcripts.
The DOE still are allowing principals to remove teachers at will. Since the agreement the Washington Heights "rubber room" has received 20 more reassigned teachers, while the Queess TRC has welcomed 10 reassigned teachers. It appears that principals are escalating the teacher removal process before the year ends. Furthermore, there is no mediation process (more about this later). What happened to immediately? If a teacher does not report their arrest immediately (within 48 hours) to OPI and the Principal. The teacher can be brought up on charges for failure to satisfy the definition of immediately in Chancellor's Regulation C-105. How come we teachers must comply with the word immediately while the DOE is not accountable. One month later there is still no mediation occurring.
The DOE has decided that their idea of mediation is to extort teachers with large fines, admission of guilt, take courses that establish what they are guilty of, and eliminate the right to sue the DOE. I have previously posted this before. This extortion by the DOE is bad enough but now they have the teacher's own Arbitrators pushing the frightened teacher to settle and this further pressures the teacher in taking an unfair settlement which marks the teacher as admitting guilt. What happened to mediation? According to the dictionary.
Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or "appropriate dispute resolution", is a way of resolving disputes between two parties. A third party member is involved in order to structure the meetings, and to help the parties come to a final decision based on the facts given through the discussions. Mediation is not legally binding so it does not have to be followed, although if one party does not, they can sometimes be taken to court by the disadvantaged member, depending on the mediation agreement.
Mediation, in a broad sense, consists of a cognitive process of reconciling mutually interdependent, opposed terms as what one could loosely call "an interpretation" or "an understanding of." The German philosopher Hegel uses the term "dialectical unity" to designate such thought-processes. This article discusses the legal communications usage of the term.
Mediators use appropriate techniques and/or skills to open and/or improve dialogue between disputants, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement (with concrete effects) on the disputed matter. Normally, all parties must view the mediator as impartial. Disputants may use mediation in a variety of disputes, such as commercial, legal, diplomatic, workplace, community and family matters. A third-party representative may contract and mediate between (say) unions and corporations. When a workers’ union goes on strike, a dispute takes place, and the corporation hires a third party to intervene in attempt to settle a contract or agreement between the union and the corporation.
Mediation is the only way assisted by one third, which promotes freedom of choice of protagonists in a conflict.
Having the teacher's own Arbitrator pressure the teacher in taking the DOE settlement is not arbitration but can be considered an ugly form of coercion that exploits the frightened teacher who believes that if they don't take the settlement on DOE's terms, the Arbitrator may take offense and impose a more severe penalty. Therefore, the DOE has won by getting the teacher to admit guilt by taking a course and get a large fine. How is this mediation? It is not! How can the Arbitrator be fair if he or she pushes for a settlement and the teacher refuses? While I do have confidence that the Arbitrators are honorable and fair people and will rule on the evidence (or lack thereof) I can see how many a teacher would be fearful of not following the Arbitrator's lead. This is not only unfair but downright ugly. Mediation? Don't make me laugh, this is worse then ever for teachers who wish to expose the DOE's lies, misstatements, and embellishments in the 3020-a hearing
Mediation? Yeah right! What a joke! The DOE appears to have won again. Thanks for nothing Mike (call me Michael) Mulgrew. Clint Eastwood you are not.