Friday, July 18, 2014
New York State Education Department Is Going After Teacher Licenses Under Article 83 For Non-Criminal Actions.
Over the last few years the New York State Education (NYSED) has directly or indirectly used some of the RttT funds to go after teacher licenses who were terminated in their 3020-a hearings for "moral turpitude". While the State always went after educators found guilty of a crime or criminal actions and removed their teaching license, it appears the State has expanded their definition of "moral turpitude" to include non-criminal actions as well in an attempt to get rid of more teachers. Lately the Office of Teaching Initiatives has allocated more money to investigate more 3020-a termination cases that were not criminal in nature. According to my sources, NYSED has used a portion of the increased federal funds allocated to the State (RttT?) to expand the State's "good moral charterer" determination to include non-criminal actions of sexual misconduct, corporal punishment, and other non-criminal actions that lead to the teacher's termination in the 3020-a hearing process.
Moreover, the NYSED has also included educators who took a stipulation to resign or retire rather than go through their 3020-a hearing that fit into the ever broadening definition of "moral turpitude". It appears all this is part of NYSED's attack on teachers, be it the badly flawed Teacher Evaluation System, their insistence to use high stakes testing against teachers while admitting that it's not appropriate for students, or the ever broadening of the "moral turpitude" clause of Article 83.. In fact, I know of a case of a teacher who was unjustly terminated in 2011 for corporal punishment in which she tried to restrain a violent child and never hurt the child in restraining him. When her unfair 3020-a decision was reversed by the State Supreme Court as being "shocking to the conscience", only to be reversed again in a 2 to 1 Appellate Court decision, ahe found herself three years later subject to NYSED's punitive Article 83 regulation.
While nobody wants teachers who are a danger to the children to have a license, it appears that the NYSED is using a broad brush to label many educators as not deserving of a teacher's license and many deserving educators can no longer be a teacher simply because the NYSED has expanded the "moral turpitude" clause to include educators who are not and never have been a danger to the children and that's not fair or right for that matter.