Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Why Is The DOE Allowing Principals To Be Insubordinate By Refusing To Allow Teachers Back Into Their Schools And Their Rightful Teaching Positions?
One of the more interesting results of the April 15th 2010, "rubber room agreement" is that Tweed has decided to allow teachers who have not been charged under section 3020-a or are not terminated after their 3020-a hearings to reclaim their teaching position in their old school. This apparent reversal of policy by the DOE appears related to the existing and future budget cuts and Tweed does not want these teachers on their payroll. The Tweed policy change has forced principals and teachers to be reunited when they thought they would never see each other again. Worse for the Principal is that the teacher is immediately put back on the school's payroll and this is a real hit on the school's already reduced budget and with further reductions projected for the rest of the school year and next the Principal's ability to meet a budget becomes a real problem.
While most principals are reluctantly abiding by the DOE policy change, a couple of principals have refused to accept the teachers back. In fact, in one case a high school Principal refused to even let the teacher into the front door of the school. This Principal had a School Safety Officer hand a letter to the teacher at the front door to go to his CFN. The CFN's are caught in the middle since they are simply a messenger service and cannot assign these teachers to another school since they are not ATRs. Presently, there has been no resolution of this issue.
To me,the principals should be charged with insubordination by refusing a lawful order by the DOE to allow the teachers back to their rightful positions. However, presently no disciplinary actions have been taken against these principals for willfully disregarding a DOE order to reinstate the teachers in their rightful position. I have no idea whether the union is actively involved in resolving this mess but they should be by sitting down with the DOE about how to get principals to follow the rules. To date, the union has not taken any real action, except to encourage the teachers to file a grievance that can take up to a year to be heard. Filing a grievance is only a first step. A more important step would be to take these insubordinate principals into PERB for violating the teachers rights if the DOE fails to take the appropriate action against them. I do not blame the union since this is really a DOE problem. However, our union can certainly "nudge" Tweed in making sure their employees follow their own directives. If a teacher was insubordinate, the DOE would waste little time in holding a disciplinary hearing against the teacher for refusing a lawful and reasonable directive. Why is it different for these principals?
The more things change, the more they stay the same when it comes to the "double standard" when disciplining teachers and principals.