Thursday, January 21, 2016
Bullying In The Classroom Continues And Our Union Does Nothing About It.
There was real hope when Mayor Bill de Blasio replaced Michael Bloomberg that the DOE "gotcha system" would be replaced with real collaboration. However, Bill de Blasio appointed Carmen Farina as Chancellor and she retained 80% of Mayor Bloomberg's policymakers at Tweed. Moreover, Carmen Farina turned out to be part of the problem and not the solution. While our UFT President is hugging the Chancellor, her failure to "clean house", allows her minions to continue to bully the classroom teacher. Finally, the school administrators are using Danielson as a punitive weapon against teachers, making the classroom workplace a hostile environment.
Stories, too numerous to list in this post are principals showing up unannounced in the teacher's worst class to catch the teacher unprepared. Field Supervisors requiring a Danielson like observation with students that the ATR has no history with or ownership of. Requiring lesson plans in a certain format despite a decision that administrators cannot require the teacher to do just that. Further, in far too many schools there is a climate of fear and an "us against them" approach between administrators and teachers. Worse yet, student misbehavior is met with administrator inaction and no consequences. Instead of having the teacher's back these administrators stab the teacher in the back. The result is that teachers feel bullied and disrespected.
When complaints are send to our union leadership, they bury their collective heads in the sand and do little to correct the situation. In some cases the union has privately told their DOE counterparts that they don't take many complaints seriously and claimed they are from disgruntled teachers. The result is few teachers get relief from administrative bullying and some end up in the 3020-a process and potentially terminated.
On February 8th there will be New York Healthy Workplace Advocate group that will lobby our Albany politicians to pass the NY Healthy Workplace Bill against workplace bullying, including the classroom. So far only UFT Solidarity has agreed to join the lobbying group. However, at present none of the other UFT caucuses, Unity, More, or New Action, have agreed to join the lobbying movement. Of course the deform sock puppets E4E has also refused to attend as well. That is a major disappointment for me since this is a teacher justice issue as well as a social justice issue that most everybody can support.
To join the lobbying effort you can sign up here: