Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Best Of Chaz's School Daze.

Occasionally, I will reprint some of my very best blog posts and in this reprint I will post how you can stop your COPE payments that allow our disconnected union leadership to abuse our funds to support their pet causes and eat quail on our dime.  We already pay $1,346 annually to support our bloated union and I see little reason to give them any more of my money when they don't bother to even ask me my opinion about issues that affect me.

Listed below is my COPE reprint, enjoy!

How To Deny The Union Your COPE Money.

I have made no secret for my contempt of the UFT leadership's use of our union dues and COPE money for questionable causes and political action that gives its members no say in the matter.  Since the union leadership feels that its members don't count when it comes how they spend our money, this post is dedicated to those members, who believe as I do, that our hard earned money should not go to our quail eating leadership or supporting a racial arsonist like Al Sharpton, who has never apologized for his false rape accusations, anti-Semitic statements, or his failure to pay his overdue taxes, like the rest of us are required to do.  All our money should be going to making our profession better and the classroom a less hostile place. The union took in $6 million dollars of COPE contributions last year and that should be used for the members, nobody else!

If you want to withdraw your COPE contributions, one of my anonymous commenters was kind enough to supply the information. Below, in red is the procedure.

How to cancel your COPE contributions from your paychecks:

Please send a fax requesting to cancel your COPE contribution. The information they need from you is displayed below.

They will send a cancellation card to your address on file along with a pre-paid return envelope so that you can fill out the card and send it back right away. As part of procedure, they must also receive the following fax from you:

RE: COPE Cancellation
TO: Danny Corum, COPE Coordinator

My name is ___________, File # _______________. I would like to cancel my COPE contribution as soon as possible.


Please do not forget to sign and print your name on the fax. The fax should be sent to (212)510-6435. Your contribution will be cancelled when they receive the fax and the cancellation card back from you. Please do not hesitate to contact them at (212)598-6826 or at should you have further questions.

Danny Corum
COPE Coordinator
United Federation of Teachers
Legislation & Political Action
52 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10004
phone: (212)598-6826
fax: (212)510-6435

 Maybe if enough of the members stop contributing to COPE, our union leadership might get the message and start listening to member concerns and not misuse money for their own personal ideology and needs.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What Happens When A Teacher Decides To Return To Teaching Before He Exhausts Terminal Leave?

One of the little noticed aspects of the DOE/UFT contract is the decision to dump teachers who decide to return to teaching before they exhaust their terminal leave, into the ATR pool rather than their appointed position.  Previously, teachers who decided to return to teaching before they exhaust their terminal leave would be allowed to resume their appointed teaching position.  Principals were very unhappy with this situation because it meant excessing a recently hired "newbie" and bringing back a veteran teacher who had institutional memory and knew their rights. Therefore, the DOE changed the rules, with the approval of the disconnected union leadership, and allowed principals the right not to reappoint teachers who decided to come back to teaching before they exhaust their terminal leave. Instead, they were assigned to the ATR pool.

This is just another example of our rights being nibbled away, piece by piece, as our union closes their collective eyes and proclaims how everything is just wonderful.  Welcome to Mikey Mulgrew's fantasy world where there is a new tone at the DOE as he continues his "love affair" with Chancellor Carmen Farina, while any ATR can be appointed, if they are good teachers, and there are no principals in need of improvement.

To understand terminal leave and termination pay please read my post Here.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The DOE Abuses The ATR Agreement And Our Union Allows It.

If you have been following the ICEUFT blog, James Eterno effectively dissected the section of the 2014 contract that pertains to the ATRs which reduces their "due process rights" and the section in the contract is included below:

This Rule 11(A) with respect to the absent teacher reserve (referred to above as the “ATR Program”) shall run through the end of the 2015-16 school year. At the end of that term, the parties must agree to extend the ATR Program and absent agreement, the parties shall return to the terms and conditions for ATR assignment as set forth in Rule 11(B).  

What is Rule 11(A)?  This is the rule that allows the DOE to start an expedited 3020-a on ATRs who are in a long-term vacancy or leave replacement position, among other issues that reduce ATR rights.  The expedited 3020-a is a one day hearing and a 15 day decision that was not supposed to affect ATRs in rotation.  However, many ATRs are getting temporary provisional positions only to find themselves covering different classes.  The result is that any ATR assigned to a temporary provisional position is subject to Rule 11(A) and any ATR that exhibits the ill-defined "problematic behavior" by two Principals in any two consecutive years will end up in an expedited 3020-a hearing.  The definition is below.

 If, within a school year or consecutively across school years, an ATR has been removed from a temporary provisional assignment to a vacancy in his/her license area by two (2) different principals because of asserted problematic behavior, a neutral arbitrator shall hear the expedited 3020-a . 

 You can read the passage on page 134 of the contract now found online.  

Already the DOE is trying to terminate rotating ATRs by using the above statement under Role 11(A).  If you don't believe me then read this below as it was sent to a rotating ATR by the teacher's NYSUT attorney.

This proceeding is being scheduled pursuant to Article 17(B), Rule 11(A)(3) ("Rule l l(A)(3)") of the collective bargaining agreement between the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the Department regarding Education Law § 3020-a procedures for the Absent Teacher Reserve ("ATR") program.

Under Rule ll(A)(3), your § 3020-a proceeding will be extremely expedited, and the Department must prove to the Arbitrator that you have demonstrated a pattern of problematic behavior." Therefore, your hearing is likely to begin as soon as the next several weeks, and time is of the essence. For your convenience, I have enclosed a copy of Rule 11 and Article 21 of the collective bargaining agreement effective from 2009 to 2018. I specifically refer you to Rule 11 (A)(3) and Article 21G. 

Article 11(A) is supposed to sunset this year but my sources tell me that the UFT is considering extending it to the end of the contract and that means the union has agreed to give the DOE the right to continue to abuse the ATRs. I guess the DOE and UFT love affair is only between Carmen Farina and Mikey Mulgrew not the members, especially the ATRs who they fail to even bother to consult with.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

How High Schools Hurt Students In The DOE's Education On The Cheap Policy.

Sometime during the tenure of Joel Klein, a nameless bureaucrat at Tweed realized that high schools could save on Science teachers by reducing Science instruction from 5 days to 4 days a week by making the laboratory requirement part of the 5 day instructional week instead as a extra period.  At first, many high schools resisted this approach as they realized that the loss of a month's instructional time would result in a significant reduction in the school's Regents passing rate which is based upon a 5-1 program.  However, as the recession deepened and schools saw their budget cut by an average of 14% (86% of fair student funding with some large comprehensive schools only at 82%), gradually and somewhat reluctantly schools adopted the 4-1 Science program.  First, it was only for Living Environment and Earth Science but eventually many schools extended it to Chemistry and even Physics.  The result was, as expected, a much lower passing percentage on  the Regents.

Some schools have resisted this trend and keep the traditional 5-1 Science program such as Hillcrest, John Bowne, and Goodard high schools but they are in the minority.  However, as the schools are expected to get more money (92% of fair student funding), maybe the schools will realize the importance of  going back to a 5-1 program and hire Science teachers to fill these positions while improving student academic achievement.

Over the last few years principals would dole out a "sixth period" to Science and Special Education teachers since DOE Central would pay for the "sixth period" class since these subjects were considered a "shortage area".  Schools soon realized how DOE Central would end up paying for all the "sixth period" classes by giving a Science or Special Education teacher an elective course or making a Math or Social Studies teacher a Science class or ICT class.  According to my sources, the DOE has finally gotten wise to what the schools are doing and starting next school year, the DOE will no longer fund a "sixth period" class, forcing Principals to either pay for them out of their own budget or hire more teachers.  Some but not all schools will opt to do the right thing for the students and hire more teachers certified in the subject rather than dump a "sixth period " on other teachers.

Maybe the idiots at Tweed and our disconnected union leadership will realize that the ATR pool contains many qualified teachers in both Science and Special Education and they would be a valuable addition to schools who are trying to improve student academic achievement rather than continuing the destructive "education on the cheap" policies. However, I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Connecting The Dots Of Bad Principals.

In yesterday's New York Daily News there was an article about parents protesting against the new Principal Monika Garg.  You can read the article Here.  You can even read more about the situation Here. Where did Monika Garg came from?  Well it seems that Monika Garg was the Assistant Principal under the infamous Minerva Zanca  at Pan American International High School.  That's right, Monika Garg was the protege of the alleged racist Principal.  If we take this back a step further, ex Principal Minerva Zanca was the Assistant Principal for the career killer Jose Cruz.  Interesting how bad principals seem to be linked to each other.

Then there is the linkage between principals Namita Dwarka (40% trust factor) and Howard Kwait who were once romantically connected earlier in their careers. How about Principal Melissa Menake (43% trust rating) of Cambria Heights Academy? Then there is the unpopular  Judy Henry (23% trust factor, worst in Queens High Schools) who was installed as Principal bypassing the C-30 committee recommendation. Moreover, in her previous post, she ordered all but one bathroom locked. You just can't  make this stuff up. All of them seem to be connected to one person, that's right, Superintendent Juan Mendez, who either appointed and/or protected them in their administrative positions in Queens.  For your information here are the Queens High Schools with the lowest Principal trust ratings.

Interesting, how the DOE appoints people who have major character flaws and are career killers to positions of authority.  Is it any wonder that the DOE is such a dysfunctional organization and parents and teachers have such little faith in their decisions concerning the students?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Where Is Minerva Zanca Working Now? You Won't Believe It.

Ex Principal Minerva Zanca, who was removed from the troubled and struggling Pan American International High School was charged by the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara with a civil rights lawsuit of racial discrimination.  The lawsuit claims "systematic harassing and demeaning of black teachers" at her school.  The lawsuit also accused Superintendent Juan Mendez of protecting Ms. Zanca's actions and retaliating against an Assistant principal who refused to go after the teachers.  Eventually, Minerva Zanca was removed, due to the school's poor academic performance and disappeared in the DOE.  However, it is now known that Ms. Zanca was placed as a guidance counselor at a majority black school (83% black) in Brooklyn, the Fredrick Douglas Academy IV Secondary School.

Believe it or not, a Principal who was accused of racial discrimination against black teachers was quietly sent to a majority black school to work with black students.  Only in the DOE would this be acceptable and reasonable.  What were they thinking of at Tweed?  To read about other posts about Minerva Zanca read them Here and Here.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case.  Remember, the Robert Wagner Principal, Annie Schmutz Seifullah, who was charged with sexual liaisons at the school?  She was quietly sent to Automotive high school to teach a mostly male population until some of her students blew the whistle who then fled the classroom and back into DOE Central.  Then there was the infamous James Brown who was convicted by a jury of his peers to sexual harassment and other charges against a female subordinate that cost the Long Island school district over one million dollars and ended up .as Principal of Flushing High School shortly after Chancellor Dennis Walcott claimed "zero tolerance" for sexual misconduct allegations against teachers. After a year as Principal, he was removed and disappeared into DOE Central as well.  Finally, let's not forget some of the Principals who are still running their schools despite numerous allegations against them Here Here, and Here.

The bottom line is that there is a "double standard" when disciplining teachers and principals and under the DOE, its simply business as usual.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Why Cellphones In The Classroom Is Like Distracted Driving. Both Are Dangerous To Students And Their Teachers.

I have written how Bill de Blasio's ill-advised decision to allow students to bring cellphones into the schools have resulted in more unsafe schools.  More importantly, far too many school administrators refuse to discipline students who use there cellphones in the hallways and classrooms of the schools.  Instead they demand that teachers enforce the almost unenforceable cellphone policy without direct administrative action. The result is that most teachers eventually give up trying to seriously discipline the students when given no support by parents, students, and school administrators.  Finally, the revised student discipline code makes it just about impossible for schools to suspend students who refuse to turn over or put away their cellphones and be insubordinate to teachers.

Student cellphone use in the classroom is educational neglect as students are distracted by looking and/or using their cellphone in class instead of taking down notes or listening to the teacher.  Moreover, here are some of the major problems that students with cellphones in school cause.

  • Bullying or harassing other students, or simply distracting students and teachers, with text messages or calls 
  • Cheating by sending, getting, or taking pictures of test questions or answers
  • Taking inappropriate pictures of themselves, or secretly taking pictures of others, and sending them to classmates 
  •  Involvement in various kinds of crimes, such as gang-related activities or buying or selling illegal drugs
  • Setting up teachers by antagonizing them and recording their reaction for potential firing. 
Finally, using cellphones in the classroom is like distracted driving as one causes an unsafe educational environment and the other a potential traffic accident. Both are dangerous to student education and safety in and out of the classroom. Read my previous post on how Bill de Blasio's cellphone policy has lowered student academic achievement and made teaching with the cellphone distractions a living hell.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Unity's Spin Zone Strikes Once Again. With Lies And Fabrications.

Reading the various opposition blogs, I was surprised that the Unity caucus actually criticized MORE/NAC and Solidarity for their support of the "opt out" movement and falsely claimed that caused the State to remove some schools from the rewards program of up to $75,000 (most got far less and most schools received nothing).  At the Delegate Assembly the Unity caucus distributed a flyer criticizing the opposition for supporting the "opt out" movement and costing reward money to some public schools (8 in all last year).  I would like to remind our disconnected union leadership it was last year's "opt out" by parents and students that caused Governor Andrew Cuomo to see his poll numbers plunge and to change course on his punitive teacher evaluation system.  Not union pressure. Moreover, combined with another year of large "opt out" numbers, the State Education Department and Regents have promised to radically change the teacher evaluation system, especially the secretive testing items.  Finally, with the NYSED loss of the Lederman lawsuit, look for a the Value Added Method to become more realistic, I hope.

Back to the misleading Unity caucus flyer.  An uninformed teacher might actually believe the spin that the Unity leadership was behind the scene in getting Governor Cuomo to change his position and that the "opt out" movement hurts the students and schools, both lies and fabrications. The "opt out" movement was the reason for the four year moratorium on the high stakes State testing for 3-8 grades, not the union pressure.  Remember, Michael Mulgrew threatened to punch you in the face for opposing his Common Core tests, does that sound like someone fighting for our rights or parroting the education deormer policy?  You pick.

For more information on the Unity caucus flyer, read Ed Notes online, NYC Educator, and the ICEUFT blogs for what the Unity spin machine actually states..

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why Bill De Blasio's Cellphone Policy And Other Issues Are Resulting In Lower Academic Achievement.

One of the most damaging policy directive by the Bill de Blasio Administration is allowing students to bring cellphones to school.  Unfortunately, for many classroom teachers that adds to their classroom management problems and results in less instructional time and more time in getting students to put their cellphone away.  Defenders of the Mayor's misguided policy will claim that allowing students to have a cellphone at school does not mean they condone their use in the classroom.  However, unless the school administration does what Lehman High School in the Bronx did once the student brings the cellphone to school it will end up being used in the classroom.  The bringing of a cellphone to school results in student distractions and a lowering of student academic achievement.

Once the Mayor's ill-advised cellphone policy took effect in April of 2015, classroom teachers immediately saw an increase in classroom management problems.  Students who listened to the instruction and took notes started to see their focus wander as  friends and family, including parents, started to text message the student during class time, who of course, must text back.  Instead of focusing on the lesson, the students became more focused on their cellphone.  The school administration is of little help since they refuse to discipline students for cellphone use and demand instead that teachers take action.  Without administrative backing and the required "scholarship"  requirements, few teachers could reasonably take any real action except to constantly call parents who  couldn't or wouldn't discipline their children.

Add the disruptive nature of the cellphone with the school accepted (certainly tolerated)  student lateness and this combination results in lower student academic achievement as precious instructional time is lost day in and day out.  This is especially true for the first period of the day but is also common throughout the school day.

In Regents Science, you can add the shortened instructional time to factors that lower student academic achievement.  Only in New York City does the DOE allow for four rather than five instructional days plus a lab period.  The policy causes over a month of instructional time being lost when the Science Regents requires a five day instructional week to reasonably cover the full curriculum. The result is that their is little or no time to review for the Regents and lower Regents test grades are the final product for New York City schools that adopted the four day instructional program.  This is an example of the DOE's "education on the cheap" policy that shortchanges schools of their fail student funding (averaging 89% in 2015-16 school year) and reduced the amount of Science teachers needed to staff.the school.

When you combine the distracting cellphone policy, tolerating excessive student lateness, a permissive student discipline policy, large class sizes, reduced science instruction time, and scholarship requirements, is it any wonder that student academic achievement is a major issue?

"Children last"........Always.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Highly Effective But Can't Get Permanently Hired.

I know of two teachers who were hired provisionally at the beginning of the school year and rated "highly effective" this school year and were told that they will be excessed back into the ATR pool at the end of the school year.  Both teachers are 28 year plus veterans are in their 50's and make $108,811 annually.  Get the message?  Remember when Chancellor Carmen Farina stated that only 400 ATRs were capable teachers?  One would think the two teachers who were given "highly effective" ratings proved they are capable teachers. Then why didn't the Chancellor demand that they be permanently placed? The answer is she talks out of both sides of her mouth.  On one hand she wants "quality teachers" while keeping in place the school-based "fair student funding" that penalizes schools who hire "highly qualified" veteran teachers.  You can't have it both ways.

That brings me back to the two "highly effective" teachers and why they cannot get a permanent position, despite both of them being the best teacher in their subject area at the schools they are in.  The answer is complicated. .  First, its their salary, the school that picks them up provisionally, only pays the average teacher salary of the school for the year and possibly for the length of the contract, till 2018.  However, if the school permanently appoints them, the school gets them for free the second year.  Sounds good right?  Except their is a major catch.  Once a school permanently appoints an ATR the school must include the teacher in their seniority list and if there is excessing, a less senior teacher will be excessed first. Few principals want to take that risk, especially those with an institutional knowledge how things are supposed to work.

Second, the school may be required to pick up the entire ATR salary at the end of the 2018 contract and few schools would be pleased to see their already tight budget squeezed further by picking up the full salary.and few principals are willing to take that risk. The union may claim otherwise but just ask principals who are savvy would they trust the DOE to continue to pick up the difference after June of 2018?

Finally, the DOE budgeting process encourages principals to pick up "the cheapest and not the best teachers" for their school.  The less expensive the teacher, the more budget money for the school to use for other needs.  Is it any wonder that principals fall all over themselves to hire "newbie" and untenured teachers while veteran teachers don't even get an interview on the Open Market Transfer System?

The UFT will claim what I am posting is an "urban myth" but they refuse to prove it by hiding the secretive statistics that Solidarity caucus has been attempting to foil and has been refused by both the DOE and UFT to provide the data.  That's because what I wrote here is the truth and not an "urban myth" that our disconnected union leadership would have you believe. Now you know the truth on why these two "highly effective" teachers cannot get a permanent placement.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Why Is Juan Mendez Still A Superintendent?

Back in the Bloomberg years it was common practice to put unqualified educators in as a Superintendent, simply because of who they knew rather than their ability.  One of these Superintendents was Juan Mendez who took over for one of the very best, Judith Chin, as Queens High School Superintendent.  From the moment that Juan Mendez took over it was very obvious that his prime responsibility was to select and protect "bad principals" in the Queens High Schools.

When you look back at Juan Mendez's career as Principal at EBT you can only shake your head and wonder how he was promoted to be a Superintendent?  He was accused of changing grades to artificially increase the graduation rate, sexually harassing a male colleague, and placing uncertified teachers in his classrooms.  Read the comments about Juan Mendez Here.  Moreover, Superintendent Mendez bypassed the C-30 committee and appointed the infamous Judy Henry as Principal of Queens Gateway to Health Sciences, despite her coming in fourth out of five candidates at the committee interview process.  It seemed Judy Henry used Juan Mendez as a professional reference in what appears to be a conflict of interest.  You can read the article Here.  Finally, Superintendent Mendez is now subject to a federal lawsuit by the US Attorney for his failure to take action against a Principal, Minerva Zanca of Pan American International High School, based upon a racial discrimination complaint. You can read the various aspects of this case in the following blogs and media outlets.  NYC Public School Parents, Ed Note Online, Perdidio Street School, and the NY Times. For more information on Principal Minera Zanca, you can read my blog Here

Under Superintendent Juan Mendez he has some of the worst principals in Queens working for him and how he protected them, no matter what the allegations.  Here is the list. One can only question how Chancellor Carmen Farina kept Juan Mendez in charge.  The answer is simple of course since Chancellor Carmen Farina is part of the problem and not the solution when it comes to running the New York City Public Schools. Why is Juan Mendez still a Superintendent?  Maybe the question is why was he ever given a Superintendent's position in the first place?

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Why Renewal Schools Cannot Attract Veteran Teachers?

The Achilles heel in working in the 94 Renewal Schools for teachers is the extra work expected of them.  There is countless hours of useless "Professional Development", teacher meetings on their prep periods, and mindless assessments that add stress on the teaching staff.  Moreover, the unrelenting pressure in showing improvement simply adds additional stress to an already stressful job.   Finally, while teacher time is the same in all schools teachers are under intense administrative pressure to put in an extra teaching period as the school day is longer in the Renewal Schools.  While the extra teaching period is voluntary, its difficult for a teacher to refuse the administration's request.  With a "high needs" student population the DOE's expectation of real academic improvement is just unrealistic.

The informed veteran teacher will usually not take a position in a Renewal School since the additional requirements put upon teachers who work with these "high needs" schools and the additional stress put on the teaching staff.  Therefore, the majority of teachers who are hired at the Renewal Schools are recently excessed  and untenured teachers or "newbies".  The DOE's "fair student funding" also ensures that even the renewal schools will think twice before hiring a veteran teacher, no matter how desperate the school may need a certified teacher in a hard to staff subject.  An example is Richmond Hill High School which has more than two dozen Earth Science classes without a certified Earth Science teacher.

The Renewal Schools will continue to struggle and fail until the DOE realizes that the first step in attracting more academically achieving students is to hire a veteran and certified staff that have a deep knowledge of curriculum and already posses good classroom management skills.  That means improving the teaching environment of the schools and not the "education on the cheap" policy that the DOE continues to apply that simply follows a failed model of hiring "the cheapest and not the best teachers" for their schools.  Just take a look at Automotive High School and see how that has worked out?  Even the Principal is jumping the sinking ship!

If the De Blasio Administration really wants these Renewal Schools to succeed they may want to revisit the Chancellor's District that was discontinued when Chancellor Rudy Crew was removed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani that seem to work as the DOE made an effort by recruiting veteran teachers with more money and lower class sizes.  Of course, as long as Carmen Farina is Chancellor don't expect the DOE's "education on the cheap" mindset to change and these schools to improve.  For the DOE its "Children last"...Always.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Rumor Has It That The DOE And UFT Will Extend The ATR Agreement To The End Of The Contract.

I have been told that the DOE and UFT are so pleased with the ATR agreement that the.agreement will continue, essentially unchanged,  till the end of the contract which is June of 2018.  Yes, its true, our disconnected union leadership has basically signed off on the continuation of the ATR agreement and what does that mean to the ATRs?  Let me count the ways.
  • ATRs who miss two mandatory interviews are assumed to have voluntarily resigned,
  • ATRs who fail to show up on the second day of a new assignment is assumed to have voluntarily resigned.
  • ATRs who had two Principals accuse them of the ill-defined professional misconduct in consecutive years are subject to a one day 3020-a hearing.
  • ATRs who get two unsatisfactory ratings by field supervisors, based upon "flyby observations" in schools with students they have little idea about, will be subject to a 3020-a termination hearing.
  • ATRs in a district will be "forced placed" to temporary vacancies in other districts within the Borough  without the right to refuse the placement.
  • ATRs do not have mutual consent rights.
  • ATRs are given reduced "due process rights".
I for one would like the union to revert back to the 2007 ATR agreement which would eliminate the awful rotation, give the ATR the same "due process rights" that other teachers enjoy. and a stable placement for the school year.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Why Is Mikey Mulgrew Lying About ATRs Getting Positions?

Last week UFT President Michael (don't call me Mikey) Mulgrew told a Queens Parent Advisory Board that the good teachers who end up in excess are snapped up by schools who need their expertise.  Really?  What fantasy world is Mr. Mulgrew living in?  He knows very well that under "fair student funding" which is school-based, most principals would be committing fiscal  suicide if they hire an highly experienced teacher to an appointed position.  In fact its in the principal's best interest for budget purposes to hire "the cheapest teachers for their school".  Below is the actual lying statement that Mikey Mulgrew told the audience.

In response to a parent’s question on reassigning teachers who have been declared excess at their own schools, Mulgrew said most good ones are snapped up quickly — when the bureaucracy allows.

“If you have a school for the arts and a good teacher in the arts has been excessed, do I need to tell you what to do?” he asked.  The entire article is Here.

In the fantasy world of Mikey Mulgrew and his disconnected union leadership would have the uninformed believe that many excessed veteran teachers who are "quality teachers" can get a permanent job if they want one when the actual truth is far different. The Open Market Transfer System is a sick joke for veteran teachers as few ever get an interview, least not an appointed position.  Moreover, both the DOE and UFT refuse to break down the ATR pool by salary, experience, and age since they know full well they discriminate against veteran teachers who are the vast majority of the ATR pool.

Mikey Mulgrew can lie all he wants but the truth is that he and his disconnected union leadership flunkies care little about ATRs as they have agreed to continue to extend the ATR agreement another two years that make ATRs second class citizens and look the other way when the DOE send field supervisors out to "U" rate  and attempt to terminate teachers in rotation.

While Mikey Mulgrew lives in a fantasy land and continues his "love affair" with the Chancellor, his members continue to suffer from DOE disrespect, and especially his most vulnerable members, the ATRs.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Boys And Girls Principal, Michael Wiltshire, Is In Hot Water.

The headline in today's New York Post, print edition, was about the so-called DOE super Principal, Michael Wiltshire, who finds himself in very serious hot water for failing to report an alleged gang rape of a female student by five football players in the locker room in December and to compound the failure to report the alleged gang rape to the DOE, also failed to notify the police as well.  Instead he and his assistant principals apparently tried to cover up the alleged gang rape and when an anonymous call was placed to the local Superintendent, who contacted the corrupt Special Commissioner of Investigations (SCI) and an investigation was launched. which for some inexplicable reason was downgraded and sent to the equally corrupt DOE's Office Of Special Investigations (OSI) which usually does not investigate sexually related incidents. The New York Post article can be found Here.

The Boys and Girls high school Principal is Michael Wiltshire who was hailed as one of those super principals that Mayor Bill de Blasio boasted about, complete with a $25,000 bonus. He was supposed to turn the school around and he did increase the bogus graduation rate, from 42% to 50% mostly by moving failing students to transfer schools, reducing the student population, and authorizing massive amounts of credit recovery.  However, according to the school's snapshot, only 10% of the students meet the career and college readiness value and the teaching staff gives the Principal a below average trust rating. While the Principal and DOE spin the disappointing statistics the school continues to struggle academically.

There are rumors that Michael Wiltshire will be leaving to become Principal at Uniondale High School on Long Island and eliminate the uncomfortable decision that the DOE faces in firing or disciplining the super Principal they bragged about.  Let's see how this unfortunate saga ends?  Probably not good for Mr. Wiltshire who has embarrassed the DOE and blasted the OSI for their shoddy work, or the academically struggling Boys and Girls high school.

Note:  It now appears there may not have been a gang rape after all but a threat to "run a train" on the female student.  However, the school administration failed to report the threat within 24 hours and only reluctantly reported it four days later after the Superintendent asked the Principal about it and an investigation was underway.  You can read it Here.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Using Personal Email During School Time Can Lead To 3020-a Charges.

I have been contacted by a teacher in Brooklyn who told me he was removed from the ATR pool and reassigned while being charged with using his personal email on his own laptop, not even a DOE computer during school time.  While I cannot tell you if there are more charges in his anticipated 3020-a papers, it seems the DOE's Office Of  Legal Services has stooped to a new low in going after select ATRs who the DOE would like to remove from payroll with frivolous charges.  What is our union doing about this ramping up of charges against their members?  Nothing, nothing at all.

I found it very difficult to see how teachers can collaborate with the DOE leadership at Tweed and even the new Superintendents who are routinely not granting tenure to teachers and making them work an additional year before a tenure decision is rendered.  Moreover, the DOE encourages large class sizes, the hiring of "newbie" (sorry Jonathan) teachers because they are cheap and easily fired, and refuses to allow for teacher autonomy in the classroom but wants school supervisors to micromanage them.

Let's see, our disconnected union leadership has a love affair with the Mayor and Chancellor while the teachers are subject to "gotcha" administration, a punitive Danielson framework, and the lax student discipline code making it unsafe for both teachers and students. With protectors like Mikey Mulgrew and his inner circle, beware of the 3020-a charges that are becoming a regular fear for many teachers who are increasingly being abandoned by the union leadership as they continue their love affair with Chancellor Carmen Farina and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

While our union leadership continues to "deal with the devil" the members are the ones that get burned.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

It's DOE 3020-a Charges Season.

Late May and Early June are known as the best months of the year as the weather warms and teachers see the goal line to the end of the school year and hopefully enjoy the summer months.  Unfortunately, this time period is also marked by the DOE's issuance of 3020-a termination charges to far too many teachers due to incompetence, time and attendance, and minor misconduct.  In, the last couple of years has seen a rise in teachers getting 3020-a charges due to field supervisor "flyby observations" to rotating ATRs, appointed teachers receiving two consecutive "ineffective" ratings and Principal directed minor misconduct such as insubordination, lateness, and even buying and charging for books!

The question is who decides on 3020-a charges against a teacher?  The Principal? The Superintendent?  Chancellor Carmen Farina?  The answer is the DOE's Office of Legal Services.  This Office of lawyers and support staff exploded during the Bloomberg years going from a dozen or so lawyers to 200.  Many of them filing and prosecuting the charges against the teacher in the 3020-a termination process. While the other actors can recommend termination, its solely up to the DOE's Office of Legal Services to actually approve the filing of 3020-a termination charges.

The Office of Legal Services is split into two parts The Administrative Trials Unit (ATU) that prosecutes alleged misconduct against teachers and the Teacher Performance Unit (TPU) that goes after teacher incompetence.  Both groups ask for teacher termination and few cases are settled under the new approved 3020-a process jointly agreed to be the DOE and our disconnected union leadership. The more favorable rules for the DOE lawyers has resulted in teachers no longer able to call in character witnesses unless they were involved in the charges and the union quietly agreeing to allow field supervisor observations and recommendations to be used as evidence against the teacher in the 3020-a process.

At one time the Office of Legal Services were much more discriminating about the cases they prosecuted and settled many cases before going into the 3020-a hearing or wanted more evidence from the Principal before wasting time and money on these cases.  However, under Bloomberg and Klein that started to change as Principals clamoring to get rid of their veteran or trouble making teachers by contacting the Office of Legal Services on frivolous charges in the hopes that they get permission to remove the teacher and their high salary. Principals are dumping teachers into the ATR pool by filing a Technical Assistance Committee (TAC) memo and get rid of the teacher once and for all from the school.   More often then not the Office of Legal Services complied and had the teacher removed.

Under Chancellor Carmen Farina nothing has changed, the Office of Legal Services has not shrunk and the 3020-a process against teachers has become more difficult to survive termination, previously it was a 25% termination rate, however, the latest numbers are higher (55% left the DOE after their hearing) and that's before the new, more stringent rules in the 3020-a process that favors the DOE were  enacted this February.

While administrators can recommend 3020-a charges its only the Office of Legal Services who can actually file such charges and they are happy to do it as they attempt to take a teacher's livelihood away.