Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Are The SCI Investigators Really Interested In Finding Out The Truth? Not If You Ask Me.
In the last five years I have written many posts that questioned the fairness and objectivity of the DOE investigative departments. The Special Commissioner of Investigations (SCI), The Office of Special Investigations (OSI), and The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). Nothing recently has changed my opinion of these investigative agencies and as far as I am concerned they are simply tools of the DOE to get teachers terminated when accused of the most frivolous of actions while protecting the alleged vindictiveness and misconduct of administrators You can find my previous posts on the DOE investigative process at corrupt investigations.
Now a teacher told me a story that confirms to me that these investigative departments, paid for by the DOE, are still more interested in getting teachers terminated than finding out the truth. This story, as told to me, is about an untenured teacher who was getting satisfactory observations by the AP of her high school until she witnessed another teacher coming out of a room with a student and with his Regents paper in hand which was in violation of New York State testing procedures. She quickly realized that the teacher was alone with the student and that her experience with the student told her he had no chance of passing the Regents without cheating. She knew the school was anxious to graduate the student out of the school however, she decided it was her duty to report the alleged cheating to the Assistant Principal who was in the hallway that January day in 2013. The Assistant Principal assured the untenured teacher that he will handle the problem. Of course a couple of days later she found out that the student miraculously passed the Regents and graduated from the school. She asked the Assistant Principal what he did about the cheating allegation and he told her that it was handled and don't bring it up anymore.
During the next semester the untenured teacher found herself being subject to numerous observations from the Assistant Principal and her "Satisfactory" observations in the first semester became "Unsatisfactory" observations after reporting the alleged cheating. The untenured teacher felt harassed and took her complaint to the Principal early in the Spring only to be told that the student in question graduated and follow the instructions given to her by the Assistant Principal about her classroom management skills The Administrative retaliation continued throughout the second semester and the untenured teacher was discontinued. End of story? Not quite.
During the summer the news media got wind of the story and wrote an article about an untenured teacher being terminated because of her claims of whistle blowing. It seems that after the article was published, SCI took the case on to determine if there was cheating going on at the high school. In January of this year SCI substantiated the alleged cheating and the school apparently removed the teacher involved. Sounds like SCI did their job right. Wrong! SCI never bothered to interview the discontinued teacher who made the original complaint about the alleged cheating.
The question is why didn't SCI interview the main witness to the alleged cheating? While I cannot say why SCI didn't interview the discontinued teacher, I must suspect that they were afraid that her testimony would have implicated both the Assistant Principal and the Principal in covering up the alleged cheating and maybe the Superintendent as well. It will be interesting to see how this entire process plays out and if these administrators are cleared or found to have participated in the alleged cheating since SCI is claiming that the investigation is ongoing. Stay tuned as I suspect this will not be the end of the story.