Sunday, April 10, 2011
The New York Post Did A 'Bad Job" In Their Article On How "Bad Teachers" Go Back To School. - The Blame Should Be Placed On Tweed.
I read the obviously biased and one-sided article on what happens to those so-called "bad teachers" by the New York Post's Susan Eldelman and can only shake my head with puzzlement as she writes about the "settlements" the DOE offers to teachers ratherthan proceed with the 3020-a termination hearings. If you read the article you get the impression that the DOE has no choice but to offer "settlements" because it is so difficult to fire teachers. The article claims only 33 teachers, out of the original 744 were terminated which is only a 4.4% termination rate. However, 94 other teachers signed a stipulation and agreed to resign by the end of the year. That means the DOE was able to remove 17% of the accused teachers either immediately or by year's end. Moreover, this number does not include up to 80 teachers where no decision has been made by the Arbitrators. What Susan Edelman should have investigated is why the DOE charges these teachers in the first place under section 3020-a if they don't intend to follow through with the hearings? If these teachers are truly "bad teachers"? As the DOE claims, then why didn't DOE pursue the cases through the entire 3020-a process? That is the real question that the Post should have asked.
The blame about "settlements" should not be placed on the teachers but squarely on the doorstep of the DOE and the principals/investigators who level charges against these allegedly"bad teachers". If these charges are really true, then what in the world is the DOE's Office of Legal Services making "settlements" with these "bad teachers" for? However, instead of Susan Edelman asking what the settlement offers were, she should be interviewing the Office of Legal Services on why they are offering "settlements" in the first place if they can prove their case against these "bad teachers"? Furthermore, she should be asking how the DOE can allow these teachers back into the classroom if they think they are guilty of misconduct or incompetence without going through a full 3020-a hearing?
In the article, Susan Edelman wrote about one teacher who took a settlement rather than go through a 3020-a hearing because he or she did the following:
One client agreed to pay the DOE a few thousand bucks and take a class in stress management after admitting "inappropriate comments" to students, such as calling one student's presentation "boring" and telling a another kid faking flatulence "to keep your gas to yourself."
Every good teacher verbally banters with their students and can brought up on charges by a vindictive Administration for "inappropriate comments" whenever they please. However, Susan Edelman fails to realize that what this teacher did is quite common, especially in high school with real misconduct issues. Her failure to even pretend to question the DOE on why they charge teachers with actions they know are frivolous or embellished is very puzzling. You might ask if the teacher really didn't do anything wrong? Then why did they take a deal? The answer is that many teachers are afraid and are willing to pay the DOE extortion just to get it over with and return to the classroom.
Of course, had Susan Edelman really did an in depth analysis of the so called"bad teacher" problem she would have found out that since Joel Klein's Administration, it is a Tweed policy to allow principals to charge teachers under section 3020-a by simply writing a Technical Assistance Committee (TAC) memo outlining the charges against the teacher without having to supply any real evidence necessary to prove their case. That is for the DOE lawyers to prove. In reality, many cases against teachers are based upon hearsay, rumor, gossip, and innocuous actions greatly embellished, twisted, perverted, and taken out of context. However, since Tweed allows principals great discretion in charging teachers it is almost impossible to separate the real misconduct with what the DOE charges teachers with.
Are there "bad teachers"? You bet there are. I have written about some of them Here, Here, and Here. However, the DOE Office of Legal Services willingly still made "settlements" with these "bad teachers" and send them back into the classroom time and again. Who's fault is that? The DOE of course.