Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Letter To My Republican State Senator Who Supported Bloomberg's Bill To Eliminate "Last In, First Out" (LIFO).

My Republican State Senator wrote me a letter on why he supported reforming the seniority-based "last in, first out" (LIFO). He brought up three issues. First, he claimed that Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted the right to eliminate "poor performers". Second, he falsely claimed the bill S3501-B would include union input and third, would not destroy "collective bargaining". Of course, my Republican State Senator did not realize that I am no fool and here is the letter I sent to him in response.

Mr. Republican state Senator: I have been living in my community, which you represent, for the last 27 years and was proud to send my children to the wonderful schools. However, you can't imagine my disgust in your vote allowing New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg on his teacher bashing bill to eliminate "great senior teachers' . I am a proud union member who is appaled that Senate Republicans, like you, voted for a blantantly anti-teacher and union bill that targets senior New York City teachers. Your claim in the letter sent to me that your vote was not an attack on "collective bargaining" is far from the truth. Nayor Bloomberg's Bill to end "last in, first out" (LIFO) is simply an end run around the union's contract and the "collective bargaining agreement".

How can you seriously claim that you voted for a comprehensive teacher evaluation system to support the end of LIFO which included union input? When in fact, you voted for the Bloomberg Bill that "provides a temporary default layoff mechanism" which includes no union input and therefore, violates the very "collective bargaining agreements" that you claim to support.

As for teachers who are "poor performers"? Who makes the decision that a teacher is a "poor performer"? Presently, there is no objective mechanism in place that adequately measure a teacher's performance. Consequently, seniority-based layoffs (LIFO) is the only objective criteria to use. The Bloomberg Bill is the Mayor's misguided attempt to get rid of experienced senior teachers in his "education on the cheap" policy, nothing more.

Presently, the City of New York can get rid of "poorly performing" teachers by not granting tenure or if tenured, go through the State 3020-a Law for teachers accused of incompetence or misconduct. The State 3020-a is the proper mechanism for terminating teachers. Finally, the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) was entirely a creation of the DOE who wanted the right for principals to hire new and less expensive teachers instead of excessed teachers. The agreement with the union (another collective bargaining issue) was that the DOE will not impose an ATR time limit without it being negotiated with the union.

I can only conclude from your actions you are either ignorant of the facts or deliberately attempting to start a "slippery slope" to eliminate union due process protections and rights in New York State.



Anonymous said...


Thank you for once again ignoring that there are poor performing teachers. I hate when union freaks, I mean fellow teachers, refuse to recognize that there are poor performing teachers.

I do not agree with ending LIFO in the short term. There is currently no fair way to evaluate teachers so LIFO must stay in place. But in the long term I do recognize that that Union needs to support a process that allows for the principals to keep the very best teachers regardless of experience.

I have been teaching for 22 years and have been in NYC system for 17 years. I work with many unbelievable teachers with experience from a few years to 30 years. I also work with a few toxic teachers. These teachers have experience from a few years to 25 years. These toxic and horribly negative teachers have no business teaching. These are angry negative people who spend most of their day screaming at students. Teachers have no right to scream at students. Screaming and negativity is not productive and is not a teaching technique. Screaming should only be used in a situation when students are in danger and immediate attention is required. When screaming and negativity is used as a teaching technique it just makes me angry and I hope it makes my other fellow teachers angry too.

The union needs to set a timeline to propose a new system that allows for easier removal of these toxic teachers. I believe the public is smart enough to understand that the removal of LIFO is not the best option but at this time the public has only been given two options; LIFO or not. They are choosing NOT. The union needs to be proactive in letting the public know that they are in the process of developing a fair system that puts the best teachers in the classroom but also preserves our collective bargaining rights. They need to put a timeline with this, such as a new agreement will be reached by December 31, 2011. Ignoring the problem like the union and you do Chaz is not a solution. You are not trying to support the students, you are trying to preserve the union. Both can be done and it is time for the union to stand up for teacher rights and student rights.

~South Bronx

Anonymous said...


You must've skiped over this part:

"Presently, the City of New York can get rid of "poorly performing" teachers by not granting tenure or if tenured, go through the State 3020-a Law for teachers accused of incompetence or misconduct."

Ned Schneebly

Anonymous said...

Ned Schneebly,

I agree with the not granting tenure but I assumed that we were speaking about tenured teachers.

How many teacher do you know that have been fired due to incompetence through the State 3020-a Law? I have been around the NYC system for 17 years have not seen one.

I have only seen 2 teachers go through the process but they were accused of misconduct not incompetence. At least one was rightfully brought up on charges too.

There is also a difference between incompetence and being a poor teacher. To use 3020-a the teacher must be extremely out of line. It is nearly impossible to prove a teacher is incompetent unless they have done something very dramatic.

Please lets not pretend that the 3020-a Law is a useful way of removing low performing/toxic teachers.

Just because you went to school for teaching doesn't mean you are a good teacher, young or old.

~South Bronx

Chaz said...

Anon 8:32

You are wrong! The PIP+ program makes it easier to fire incompetent teachers. It is up to the Principal to go after those teachers and if they don't or won't who's fault is that.

As for State Law 3020-a? About 10% of the teachers brought up on charges are terminated and others are forced to resign. Again it is up to the Principal to file charges and then prove their case. However, since it is brought to an INDEPENDENT ARBITRATOR, the Principal better have some real good evidence, not the hearsay, embellishments, and outright lies that are common with these charges.

You claim that there must be a better way than LIFO. However, I have not seen one that does not take out the subjectivity of who is a "great teacher". You do notice Bloomberg or the education deformers never actually tell you what is the criteria?

Finally, if you really read my blog I do bring up "bad teachers" and will write about one tomorrow

Anonymous said...

Please also write about how your propose to remove that bad teacher from the classroom.

We need to remove these toxic teachers that scream the entire day. These are horrible for the children and the atmosphere of the school.

Anonymous said...

Did the last commenter fail to red Chaz's comments about bad teachers?

He told you the procedures available to get rid of "bad teachers". Your gripe is with the principals who fail to take action with real evidence.

I guess you like Bloomberg's proposal to get rid of senior teachers because they cost too much.

Anonymous said...

To South Bronx:

I think the dirty tricks and toxicity of the assault on EVERYTHING senior teacher by Mayor Scumberg, AND the visibly skewed newbie teacher hiring practices cause teachers to fight for LIFO even more. Yes, there are bad teachers with seniority, but they are in the vast minority. What vet teachers see now are schools hiring 95% newbies. Therefore, they don't feel a meritocracy is in place for the near or long term future, so they will continue to fight for LIFO. Without it, they feel that they are goners...and how can you blame them? Schools are simply NOT HIRING EXPERIENCED DUUUUUUUUH ! ALL vet teachers suck?