Sunday, July 18, 2010
A Child Drowns, A Teacher Is Fired, An Assistant Principal Is Demoted While The Principal Remains In Charge. Something Smells Here.
One of the most interesting stories going around in the media is the less than a slap on the wrist that Principal, Jose Madonado-Rivera received from the DOE after he was found to be at fault for the death of 12 year old Nicole Suriel. Despite a Special Commissioner Investigation report that lays the blame on the Principal, as well as the Assistant Principal and the teacher. The Principal was given a free pass. By contrast the Assistant Principal was demoted to teacher and had his salary reduced by $35,000, and the first year teacher was fired. In fact, the DOE press department said that Tweed awarded tenure to Madonado-Rivera nine days after Nicole's death. The problem here is that principals do not get tenure! They previously gave it up for a significant pay raise back in 1999.
The question is then how did the DOE award the Principal tenure? Let's see did Principal Madonado-Rivera work for the DOE before coming out of the infamous "Leadership Academy" and become Principal at Columbia Secondary School? It appears not. How about as a classroom teacher?He certainly did not for the New York City Public School System. Therefore, how could he have obtained tenure? That question remains to be answered by the DOE. I will be very interested to see how Tweed tries to wiggle out of this problem. Furthermore, the Principal has been accused of various infractions and abuses by teachers at the school and some teachers have left the school because of his abusive administrative style. Finally there is some question about the Principal-directed fundraising practices that may have violated the Chancellor's Regulations and pressured both parents and teachers to do their part in raising money for the school. The New York Times article has only skirted this issue. So it is not that this Principal had a good reputation with his staff for the DOE to take into account his lack of punishment.
Articles about the situation has been written about by many information services. The New York Daily News, The New York Post, The New York Times, as well as Gotham News and ednotes online. I suspect that more articles will appear about the Principal and how he runs the school before it disappears from the media.
While it does not surprise me that Tweed did not punish the Principal as I have written about the double standard previously, what does shock me is our union's apparent inaction in taking past teacher complaints to the Office Of Special Investigations (OSI). What were they waiting for? What union leader told the teachers at Columbia Secondary School to take their complaints to him or her? How would the union protect these teachers from retaliation since they are not one of the agencies that is protected under the whistileblower law while OSI is. Michael Mulgrew and company have a lot of explaining to do. To say I am increasingly disappointed with the Mulgrew Administration is putting it mildly. Here seems to be just another case on the union's failure to protect the teachers they represent.