Friday, August 01, 2014
Teacher Tenure And The DOE Investigation Process.
The education reform groups and their deep pocketed hedge fund supporters have decided to go to the courts to attack teacher tenure, claiming that teacher tenure protects bad teachers and hurts poor and minority children. Led by the clueless Campbell Brown who claims that she doesn't want to eliminate teacher "due process rights" but to reform it. However, when asked how she would reform it, she was vague on what the specifics were for reforming tenure. What we do know about Campbell Brown is that she called for the firing of all teachers accused of sexual misconduct. According to Ms. Brown simply having a DOE assigned investigator substantiate the accusation is the only proof needed to fire the teacher. In her warped vision no real or relevant evidence is necessary to show that the teacher, in fact, committed sexual misconduct. When it was brought to her attention that the DOE investigation process does not determine guilt or innocence, only whether, in their opinion, the possibility exists that sexual misconduct did occur. Ms Brown decided the Chancellor should then have the final say in terminating the teacher and not an independent or impartial arbitrator who is trained to hear and evaluate real and relevant evidence.
Campbell Brown does not want teacher "due process rights" what Campbell Brown wants is to give a school district the right to fire a teacher without a fair or impartial hearing. Sure she supports a school district hearing but she knows full well that an internal hearing almost always results in termination. Just take a look at the "U" rating appeals by the NYCDOE where only 0.2% were reversed by DOE hearing officers. Similar percentages are probably true for discontinued teachers who never achieved tenure. The same results are likely if the DOE had the right to determine the fate of a tenured teacher and not an independent arbitrator.
That brings me to the DOE investigation process which I believe is corrupt, especially when the Principal wants the teacher gone from the school. When a teacher is subject to either an OSI or SCI investigation, the first thing the investigators do is to talk to the Principal. If the Principal likes the teacher, the worst that could happen to the teacher is a letter to a file . However, if the Principal dislikes the teacher, the two investigative agencies will substantiate the most frivolous of charges, including unfounded hearsay and have the teacher removed and subject to 3020-a charges.
If Campbell Brown gets her wish any politically motivated investigation of a teacher by a school district would almost certainly result in that teacher's termination, even when the charges are false, that's not "due process".