Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly. The "Rubber Room" Agreement One Month Later. How The UFT Disappointed The Reassigned Teachers

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.

The Good:

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 Bad:

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 Ugly:

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[1].

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.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for continuing to watch closely.


Anonymous said...

The DOE has been extorting fines from teachers at an unprecedented rate under this administration. The print media has been informed of this fact and has been afraid to go after this story. The editors of the newspapers shy away from stories that really expose Bloomberg. Perhaps the movie makers of the rubber room documentary can be convinced to expose this extortion by the DOE.

Anonymous said...

Again I say it, fines are nothing more than 'pay to play' extortion. How on earth would paying a fine make a teacher more or less incompetent? Why hasn't Mulgrew organized a "Refuse the Settlement - on DOE favorable terms - movement". DOE would not be able to handle the 3020a hearings and would be overwhelmed...and forced to offer more favorable terms. Once again UFT is never missing an opportunity to miss an opportuniy.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the arbitrator who mediates the settlement will not be the same one who presides over the hearing when the mediation fails.
The arbitrator at the hearing does not know the details of the failed mediation.

Chaz said...

Anon: 3:28

That is how it was supposed to work. However, at present, it is the teacher's own Arbitrator who gives the DOE proposal to the teacher. This is not mediation.

NYC Educator said...

I was really hoping for better. Maybe I'm naive. This, along with the evaluation debacle, is very disappointing.

Chaz said...

nyc educator:

I was hoping that the "Unity" crew would actually step up and protected their members. I guess I was wrong.

FidgetyTeach said...

Bravo Chaz!...I know about this firsthand because it happened to me. I was advised to settle my case by my arbitrator right after my hearing. They must be out of their minds to think i would settle after waiting so long to expose the truth. The nerve of them to think that I would sign away my right for a fair hearing and the right to sue! i will never be finished until I am fully exonerated.

The Veteran NY Teacher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Philip Nobile said...

We rubber roomers--I've been graced to pass the last three years in Brooklyn's Chapel St.
TRC--should agitate for a meeting with Mulgrew to express our disenchantment and force changes in rr agreement. I made my pitch at the last Exec. Comm. But, as expected, no reply from Mulgrew who typically blew off open mike.

It is impossible to be shocked by Mulgrew's persistent sellouts. But consider that he refused to negotiate the new teacher evaluation agreement with the DOE because, as he said at last week's DA, "the DOE doesn't understand education." Yet he eagerly signed off on the TRC pact with the same distrusted folks, ridding a PR headache at our expense and without the courtesy of consulting us. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

Why do all teachers believe everyone is out to get them? What reason would the DOE, Bloomberg and the Union President have to screw over all teachers? Do you think they just do it for fun? Or are you just all paranoid?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: UFT is not out to screw teachers it is just they have been outfoxed, again, by Klein.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Mulgrew seems to be getting bashed pretty good for not getting against the teachers.

Chaz said...

anon 12:41

Klein & Bloomberg automatically believe the charges against the teacher. While Mulgrew considers them an inconvenient problem.

It does not matter to the three of them whether the teacher is innocent or guilty.

Anonymous said...

My vote is for all of you just being paranoid.

Anonymous said...

If they are really after you are you really paranoid?

Angry Nog

Anonymous said...

I am not a teacher but I am in a union. I listen to this crap all day at work also. I do not know what it is about unions but they cause/fester these feels of distrust of management (administration in your case). I listen to my colleagues all day complain how management is out to get us. I can promise you that management in my company and the administration in your schools are not out to get us/you. Unions create a tension of the Union vs Management that you don’t find with employees not in a union.

I know you will say that I don’t understand because I am not a teacher but that isn’t true. Talk to you union friends (in and outside of the teacher profession) and to your non-union friends about their opinions of management/administration. There will be a very clear difference in opinion and level of distrust. There is one common cause of the distrust and that is the UNION.

Chaz said...

unions are necessary because vindictive and incompetent aministrators will always believe the students over a teacher they do not like. In an office you don't have kids making "false accusations". Your comparisons are not only flawed but is made out of your ignorance of the teaching profession.

Anonymous said...

As I said, I knew your response was going to be that I don’t understand because I am not a teacher. I truly believe that in your mind a majority of administrators are vindictive and incompetent. I am sorry that you hold so much hatred for your administrators and your profession. It is sad when a teacher has lost all passion for the profession and has become as angry and bitter as you are. Please remember that you went into teaching to help students. Please don’t let your anger towards the world hurt your students, they have done nothing to deserve it.

Chaz said...


As I said before. You do not understand what it is like teaching in NYC. How would you like it if your efforts are misinterpreted and unappreciated by administrators that have no classroom experience or falsely accused by a student.

Until you have been in our position, you cannot understand what is going on in today's NYC classroom.

By the way, I am an excellent teacher and many students ask to be put into my class. So much for nyour faulty analysis of me.

Anonymous said...

You are correct about the union creating tension between management and employees.

That would be the only way they could harvest dues from their members.

The problem is much more complex than just creating tension with

I'm not clear what your vocation is, but it is entirely possible that your management is not out to get you.

The major difference is that in the case of teachers, the administration is out to get senior teachers, whistle blowers, and people that they have some type of personal conflict with.

Teachers have been crucified in the press so that we are seen as sexual deviants, lazy, overpaid and the cause of all the ills of society.

On your job you probably are not experiencing the type of demonization and fascist treatment as are teachers.

The plan seems to be the destruction of public education and the siphoning of the funds into non union charter schools.

The concept being that the hedge fund managers and the crooks who are in politics will come out lining their own pockets and that of their friends with public sector dollars.

The definition of fascism is the collusion between government and business. That is what we have now.

The rich don't want an educated population. They want drones who will work 70 hour weeks and get lousy pay and benefits while the rich drain the labor and life out of the sheeple, or the population at large.

The parasite class needs corporate drones, prisoners and soldiers to die in their jingoist adventures.

The only concern being the bottom line. The union knows this and will help destroy the profession so as to be able to unionize the charter schools and gain more sources of dues.

The union should be decertified because it is involved in racketeering.

The union needs to have it's clock cleaned for causing so much damage to those it pupports to represent in negotiations with management.

The union is weak and is a patronage mill, run by a group of thugs who feed at the public trough. They are true pigs.

So until you are truly familiar with the education sector, kindly reserve judgement for the time being.

Angry Nog

Anonymous said...

The teachers have many complaints about everything but what it really comes down to is money. The Union is there to make sure teachers get as much money as possible.

The economy is horrible and the school district is struggling and all you teachers care about is your 4% raise. Don't worry about the 6400 teachers being laid off, as long as you vet teachers get your 4% you don't care. Not sacrificing your 4% raises to save jobs is just selfish.

In the private world you don't receive raises during hard times. Why should teaching be any different. In 2009, my company enforced a 10% pay cut from top to bottom. The 10% pay cut hurt but I would rather have that than have 10% of employees laid off. Not because it would be more work for me if 10% of people were laid off but because I care about my colleagues and hate to see anyone laid off.

You have a contract that was allows you to receive a 4% raise and I understand by law you are entitled to those raises. The issue is that contract was negotiated before the economy collapsed and before the State was in a major hole.

You "vet" teachers are not human. You do not care about your colleagues or your neighbors. You are protected by the Union and the last in first out layoff rules, so you don't care because you knwo your jobs are safe and that you are getting your 4% raise.

Grow a heart and do what is right for colleagues, neighbors and state.

Anonymous said...

How about you take a pay cut. You are a heartless pig who must be a newbie.

First, we are not getting a 4% raise. We are working without a contract since October.

Second, why don't you understand that us heartless veterans have put in many years at a much lower rate of pay than the newbies.

Third, what gives you the call to comment on something that you know nothing about.

We are underfunded and underpaid and subjected to fascist work rules and a union that is in bed with management.

At this stage in my career I can tell you to fuck off.

Angry Nog

Anonymous said...


If you read my comments you can see I am not a teacher.

I work for a private company and as you can read I took a 10% pay cut last year. The option was either to cut pay or to cut jobs. The our management team said it would be better to cut pay and save jobs. In my company I did not hear a single complaint, we were happy that our friends and colleagues still had jobs.

The Governor has proposed that the teacher union and all other public employee unions forgo raises to save jobs. The unions including the teacher union said no. The unions are controlled by the “vet” employees who’s jobs are secure and therefore they are unwilling to forgo raises even if it means saving jobs.

Please explain more about your fascist work rules. Is it that you have to be there by 7:30 or that you can’t leave until 3:30? Or is it the 156 days a year you have to work?

I AM A TAX PAYER!!!! You are an employee of the city being paid with tax money. I am a tax payer so I have the right to know exactly what you make and to comment all I want.

You are an angry teacher who has forgotten why you teach. Please save our children and stop teaching.

~Not Angry

Anonymous said...

I think that you are getting involved in a matter that you know nothing about.

Since you claim to work in the private sector why don't you begin by explaining why the banksters got massive bonuses during this economic downturn?

Since you claim to be in the private sector it would be safe to assume that you are making considerably more than a teacher.

So taking a pay cut was not as painfull as having to live like a maoist in a capitalist society. You believe all the lies spewed by the media about teachers.

Just remember that you would never have gotten to where you are without us lowly subhuman teachers.

From the way you write about this matter it would be best if you go and have a vasectomy. Since you are obviously careless about the future.

It just wouldn't be cricket to have little horror shows like yourself running around.

Why don't you do your collegues the supreme favor of contributing most of your salary to them so they won't feel so much pain.

Are you working for the hedge fund managers so as to offer more choice while getting a whopping 39% tax break.

Also, I tend to think that you have way too much free time on your job to be writing on this blog.

As always, bugger off.

Angry Nog

Anonymous said...

I am getting involved because I pay my taxes and I have a right to.

Just because I work the private sector is does not mean I work for a bank. It is NOT safe to assume that I or any of my colleagues are making more than a teacher. None of us make 6 figures and on top of that we have to save for our retirement, something you don’t have to do with your pension that I am paying for. The guys you see on TV everyday are making really good money but there are millions of employees in the private sector struggling like everyone else. Only difference is they aren’t crying poor and abused all day like you teachers.

A majority of my teachers throughout my life were great teachers and I appreciate them all. Thank God I never had an angry bitter teacher like you. Please save our children and stop teaching.

Not Angry

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