Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How Educators Need To Act In Their 3020-a Hearing.

When tenured educators are charged by the DOE under State regulation 3020-a, the only outcome the DOE wants is termination.  However, in only half the cases does the DOE get the educator to leave the system and most of them decide to resign or retire rather than go through the stressful 3020-a hearing process.  It appears that between 45% and 55% are either terminated, forced to resign, or retire.  The reason that the DOE does not get its way is that the DOE must prove the charges against the educator by the preponderance of relevant evidence in front of an independent arbitrator.

There is no matrix for determining the arbitrator's award.  Except if the arbitrator finds the educator committed sexual misconduct then termination becomes the automatic award.  Different arbitrators weight the DOE specifications (charges) differently, despite the number, severity, and type of specifications against the educator. Therefore, its extremely important that the educator's appearance and demeanor will go a long way in influencing the arbitrator award. Here are the actions an educator must take in the 3020-a hearing to save their job.

First, and foremost dress and act professionally.  Treat everyone in the hearing room with respect, even the DOE lawyer!  Your attitude will be noted by the arbitrator,  Men should wear a suit and tie while women should wear business attire. Don't be argumentative, emotional, or display displeasure. These actions at the 3020-a hearing will result in the arbitrator giving a more severe award then might otherwise be warranted.

Second, be on time and never miss a hearing date.  Being late to your hearing will annoy the arbitrator and will make your lawyer's defense more difficult.

Third, thoroughly familiarize yourself with the charges against you.  Craft a point-by-point rebuttal and give it to your attorney.  The more you understand the DOE specifications, the better prepared you will be to defend yourself.  Stay attentive and take down notes when witnesses testify.. 

Fourth, The DOE will blow even the most trivial action into a major incident and take things said or did by the educator out of context.  Your job is to defend yourself with clear, concise, and understandable actions and put it into the proper context.  Try to show your intent behind the action you took and express sorrow, when appropriate, that your actions were misunderstood.  Do not be arrogant!

Fifth, Try to get witnesses for your defense.  Past and present students are important and will help your defense with the arbitrator.

Finally, Tell your attorney everything!  If you lie to the lawyer or caught in a lie at the 3020-a hearing it will probably result in termination.


Anonymous said...

Chaz you forgot to record every conservation with your principal most of the time their words will doom them

ed notes online said...

Consider an open hearing so you can get some supporters to attend - and make sure they act as you say.

Chaz said...

Anon 6:57

Not true. When a Principal testify's against a teacher he/she is considered to be credible even when caught in a lie.

Philip Nobile said...

As a 3020a survivor like Chaz, let me add that you must resist the DOE investigators from the start. Argue your case, smartly of course, in the first interview. And bring a trusty colleague with you, not a feckless special rep who won't go to bat for you or give you his/her notes, if any notes are taken.

Anonymous said...

The book "Teachers on Trial: Values, Standards & Equity in Judging Conduct & Competence" by Prof. James A. Gross, published in 1988, is a must read!



Anonymous said...

Yet another horrifying incident from a Bronx school. Very few arrests or suspensions are being made for serious incidents. The abhorrent behavior is escalating in frequency and severity. This all because of political correctness. I hope this current incident wakes up DiBlasio and Farina.

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Anonymous said...

I am meeting this Friday with the superintendent, the school's lawyer and my two reps. This meeting someone?-will decide my fate. I have been on administrative leave since January 30. I was not told what I did. Then a week later I was told that my attendance is in question (I have several health issues and the last 4 years have used up my days); I was also told that a parent was upset that I brought in cat semen? which of course I did not. I'm a middle and high school health teacher and have been in my district 24 years. I have been targeted the last 4 years, since the new superintendent took office. My former principal, a she, would say and do awful things to me. I have been called into the superintendent's office, sometimes 5 months later, to discuss ridiculous things such as...I don't want you to put up these.cancer posters...etc. There's more. Any advice? I'm single, 51, and truly feel discriminated against, first for my health issues, then my age and gender. I have all good observations and APPR #s and the kids love having me as their teacher. The only issue is I have health issues. Thank you~ANB