Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Veteran Teachers Beware, Administrators Are Using Charlotte Danielson As A Weapon To Terminate You.




























It appears to me that school administrators have been told that they must stay within the recession era budgets that the DOE has imposed on its public schools.  Most schools are only receiving 90% of their fair funding and principals are trying various cost saving strategies to stretch their budget.  One of the favorite tactics, especially with the Leadership Academy principals, are to target veteran teachers and either force them to retire or charge them with incompetence or misconduct in their 3020-a hearing.

The weapon of choice is Charlotte Dainelson that allows school administrators to unfairly evaluate teachers based upon 8 components that can be easily manipulated to make the teacher look "ineffective".  A case in point is the saga of teacher Donald Vanterpool, who was terminated, despite the fact he only had one "ineffective " rating.

Mr. Vanterpool was a veteran teacher who worked at a transfer school called Bushwick Community High School in Brooklyn.  People familiar with transfer high schools know that it's for over aged students (16 to 21 year old) who have been removed from their previous school(s).  Many of these students just want a minimum passing grade of 65%, while during little or no work.  Passing a Regents is not their priority.  Therefore, transfer high schools do poorly, compared to their State peers, who don't have these transfer schools.  The result is that even the best teachers can only expected a "developing" rating in their MOSL.

Back to Mr. Vanterpool, he received a "developing" rating in 2013-14 school year and an "ineffective" rating the following year.  Despite the union's claim that it takes two consecutive "ineffective" ratings to be charged under 3020-a, the truth is otherwise.  In the last year I know of two other veteran teachers who were charged under section 3020-a with only one "ineffective" rating.  Mr. Vanterpool's 3020-a arbitrator terminated Mr. Vanterpool, in part, because he failed to differentiate his lesson to the individual needs of the student.  Moreover, the arbitrator claimed Mr. Vanterpool failed to take advantage of the extensive professional development opportunities he was afforded..

While the burden of proof is supposed to be the DOE's with one "ineffective" rating,, in all three cases I know of the veteran teacher was either terminated or was pressured to retire so as not to lose the almost $50,000 in lump sum payments owed to them in the contract

Charlotte Dainelson is not a simple evaluation tool but a weapon to destroy the careers of veteran teachers and that's how I see it.


45 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is disgusting. However, this is exactly the reason why I am so adamant about the UFT needing to get us 2 observations like the rest of NYS. The law states that NYS has to have a minimum of 2 observations with one being done by the principal in an ANNOUNCED fashion and one done by an outside evaluator. The majority of school districts in NYS are following the law to the letter by sticking to the minimum. However, in NYC the system is rigged against the teacher. We need what the rest of NYS is doing. Teachers have an advantage by knowing when an admin is going to come and see them for an observation. Furthermore, an outside evaluator has no incoming beef to settle with the teachers that they are observing. The 2 observation system now in place by law in NYS is fair and must be implemented in NYC. The UFT needs to get us what the rest of the districts have in place right now. I say it over and over again: the observation system is the most crucial aspect to our working conditions. It is what keeps a roof over your head and food on your table. Everything else is small potatoes compared to the evaluation system. If you don't believe me, talk to the guy mentioned in this blog who got fired for having one ineffective and one developing rating. If it can happen to him, it can happen to any of us. This is my nightmare and it should be yours as well.

Anonymous said...

Yes, with a decreased budget it's hatchet time. It is so sad to see what has become of the DOE public schools. Instead of everyone working together, a lot of people are loosing their careers with no real justification. There are many malicious, psychopaths as administrators that get joy out of making staff lives hell. What leadership!!

Anonymous said...

@ Chaz: Why just 'veteran' teachers? A 3020a can be brought at any time under a multitude of charges ie. neglect of duty, misconduct, corporal punishment and insubordination. This is fear mongering and a poor attempt to pit veteran teachers against the many other tenured teachers out there. MOSL is fact of life for transfer school teachers as they do have to graduate students and the Regents is the only path to do so. Veteran teachers do appear to work at transfer schools more often than community high school but that does not mean they do not face the same unique circumstances of being charged with a 3020a based on Regents scores as your article implies. Three anecdotes does not mean everyone is getting fired for getting "only" one Ineffective. It would be helpful if you could post the details of the decisions being levied to provide some guidance for the many teachers, veteran or not, to avoid these kind of situations rather than rallying against the Union that can do little do prevent a hearing in the first place regardless of how strong the City's case is or where the "burden of proof" lies. You are hiding a lot of details and attempt to make it only relevant to specific castes of teachers ie. transfer school, ATRs, veterans. These cases apply to all tenured teachers - and untenured based on what little we know about the charges and decision levied. These articles would have a lot more credibility if you emphasized transparency over fear mongering.

Anonymous said...

@ Chaz:
Transparency Needed Here:
Three teachers were fired for only one "I".
One teacher got a "D" (assuming mandatory TIP) and and "I" the following year.
What did the other two teachers get before they got the Scarlet "I"?
Did they get 1,2,3 "D"s before that?

Essential Question: Did any teacher you know of have no adverse ratings any year of their career, an "I" one year, and was brought up on 3020a charges that September they received the "I" rating on "incompetence" only?

Anonymous said...

I'm Retiring by next month, Good Riddance to this! I feel for all of my colleagues who are subjected to this belittlement. It just gets worse and worse....

Anonymous said...

Listen, everyone is at a disadvantage in one way or another: new, mid-career, veterans and those almost retiring. It is just a mess. Support one another no matter how many years you have or what status you have. Divide and conquer tactics are utilized. Don't fall prey to the tactics and don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Anonymous said...

@10:05PM - Good for you. Congratulations and best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Less than one-third of 1% of teachers got an I last year. Thanks mostly to MOSL, which is supposedly so unfair. Remember Cuomo's "baloney?" This is mortadella. Stop the hysterics.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 9:47 in that the Danielson evaluation system is not limited to only seasoned veteran teachers. I was a discontinued probationer in my fourth year teaching at Richmond Hill High School specifically because Danielson being used as a weapon against me. What really hurts about this experience is that I student taught in that school and had a good working relationship with almost every person. The school was progressive getting worse and was becoming a rat race to get out. My plan originally was to get tenure and then leave. For the first three years my ratings were all "effective" and satisfactory before Danielson became the official observational framework. Halfway through my fourth year, my observation suddenly shifted from completely "effective" to completely "ineffective." When I say "completely ineffective" I literally mean completely ineffective. I scored a "2" out of 60 points in the pedagogy part of the evaluation which at that times was worth 60% of a DOE teacher's overall evaluation, but I later scored effective on the state MOSL. The piece of crap Neil Ganesh was my principal and that troll Christine Peterson he personally hired halfway through the year was at his beck and call, and did all his dirty work for him.

Danielson is subjective as we all know. One person's "effective" could be another person's "developing" or even "ineffective." In the first round of observations halfway through the year. The number of domains that Peterson and other APs were focusing in scoring teachers were not equal during the same round of observations. For some people it was 3 domains, some people it was 4 and other people it was 8. The domains themselves were not the same. They would come in unannounced (since of course it's an informal) and pick and choose whatever domains suited their purpose.

What bothered me the most about Danielson is the evidence used to support their rationale for whatever rating can be totally manipulated as was the case for me and another teacher. They didn't want us, and had some vendetta against us so they would purposefully discard all of the positives that occurs during the observations which very neatly would have been a "3" or a "4" and instead would enter the room with the intention and mindset of focusing exclusively on the negative. This guaranteed that no matter what, each individual domain would always be a "1" ineffective. The "1s" that I received ranged from blatant lies that Christine Peterson either made up, or she would look at any little negative thing that was completely non representational of the lesson, and cite that as her justification for the ineffective rating. Needless to say that if every single teacher was rated in the same manner and with the same intentions and myself and the other teacher (whose scenario was almost identical to mine) the whole school would have been "ineffective" that year. There was another guy or gal who experienced the same exact thing (rating manipulation) the following year after we left. Interestingly in the new non DOE school that I'm in, we also use Danielson, and all of my ratings are once again "effective" as they were previously.

At my hearing and during APPR observational conferences Ganesh and Peterson kept citing the Danielson as their justification for the "ineffectives" as if Danielson is 100% objective. We all knew that this was a crock of shit and Im sure that they knew this as well, but would never admit to it.

waitingforsupport said...

@9:59 I know an educator who falls into the category you mentioned. He was "great" until he became a vocal chapter leader. He then became "a no nothing" incompetent. This person lost the 3020a case and career. One year negative rating and at the end of second year--3020a papers were delivered to him in school.

Anonymous said...

The proof of age discrimination is the ATR pool.

Anonymous said...

Had my IPC on Tuesday. My admin already ripped me to shreds on the two walkthroughs we had already (one on the 3rd day of school, when I didn't even know half of the kids' names). I feel like the writing is already on the wall for me to end up with a developing for the year. Our student population is ridiculously low functioning, yet most don't have IEPs. They come to me from an uncertified teacher who is grossly incompetent, but has impressive boobs, so the AP loves her. I need to work at least through the 2019-2020 school year, but I don't know if I can do it.

James Eterno said...

This is really serious. The Board has figured out how to go right around the evaluation system. The UFT has no answers that we know of.

Anonymous said...

First ATR info session in the Bronx: 9/26/17 UFT Bronx Borough Office 4:00pm - 6:00pm.

waitingforsupport said...

@11:35 absolutely. If you have 15 years in and/or age 45 & over--your days are numbered. Those of us who are starting our 17th year now and are scheduled to get a longevity jump in 2018 must complete SY 2019/2020 in order to reap the benefits of surviving the beat down, belittling and retaliatory nature of those "adults" who have gone rogue with their admin power. How did a career turn into something mirroring a prison sentence in a country outside of America. Wake me up!

Anonymous said...

2 Observations and Parking Permit Guy here wants to tell all of you that I was right! The #1 priority of the UFT right now should be to get us 2 observations like the rest of NYS. 1 announced observation and one unannounced. This would ensure that teachers have at least a fighting chance to survive in the DOE. An announced observation can be controlled by the teacher. An unannounced observation by an impartial outside evaluator would ensure a fair informal observation. The UFT sold us out on one of easiest things they could have gotten us. 90% of all NYS districts have 2 observations why don't we???

Anonymous said...

I like 2 Observations and Parking Permit Guy! I agree!!!

Anonymous said...

Knowing that 'rubrics' are FAKE tools (completely subjective) and were adopted to make it almost impossible to give kids failing grades (hey, Jose got points for the good design column!), I suspected right off the bat that the vaunted Danielson's rubric would be ripe for abuse.

This was born out pretty quickly when I saw a new principal and AP join our school. Both were evil witches who literally delighted in torturing the staff using Danielsons as a stick. They lied to our faces, gossiped against us, got a clique of sycophant newbies and even yelled at us over the intercoms regularly. 80% of the staff left after one year (and she outright fired three untenured teachers).

The evil eye was turned on me during her third and last year at the school. For no reason, mind you. I did nothing wrong, but I had survived her first and second purge, so she probably thought of me as 'unfinished' business. Luckily, even though she gave me all 1s and 2s, our MOSL was ridiculously high that year. (NYSESLAT - and the entire staff graded it really high because we knew it was our last chance.) So I ended effective.

The new admins are a little better, but one of them routinely gives everyone 1s and 2s, and several teachers challenged her and forced her to reverse some ratings. We had one situation where three of us were teaching the exact same lesson (it's a big thing in our school - "alignment!") One teacher got 1s and 2s, myself and the other got 2s and 3s. Go figure.

I need this job for six more years. I just hope I make it. I keep my head down now, way down, do everything they ask and to the best of my ability and pass EVERYONE. This is the only survival strategy now. Newbie teachers at my school get disillusioned in the first month, that's how unreasonable our job is now. It's not the overly talkative kids or misbehavior that bothers us. We can handle it. It's the constant feeling that 'the boss' not only doesn't have your back, but that he/she wants to stab you in the back at any moment.

Anonymous said...

I will say over and over, we are getting what we deserve. until we stand up as 1 and change the pathetic leadership we are doomed. in 2014 I was given my 1st "U" rating by a POS supervisor whom I saw only 2 times that year. her write-up was so pathetic and unprofessional I had to fight back. 6 months later this A-HOLE delux doesn't bother showing up at the hearing. her supervisor said "she isn't coming, so I'm changing the U to and S. the jackass union rep says yea we won. really so who compensates me for 6 months of stress, or the 2hr ride into brooklyn and back on the shithole subway. and worst part where was the consequence for the 2 incompetent idiots who U rated me. nothing happen to either of them. so we deserve what we are getting!! I know your screaming why wont the fool give us their names?
AYO MENDEZ and PAUL RYAN. your welcome.

Anonymous said...

5:28 absolutely! I can deal with one unannounced informal- anticipating three makes me physically ill (I don't even know how I survived that first year that we had 6!) Our problem is that our AP dictates A LOT about our formal observations- we all know he can't, but we also know that if we grieve it, we're essentially opening ourselves up for "failure".

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that NYC teachers are posting up their anger over the observation system here. I have been seething ever since the UFT agreed to a minimum of 4 observations back at last Christmas. I knew then that this was going to be the final straw that breaks the backs of teachers. I am surprised at how long it took for that anger to surface. We need to give every UFT rep that shows up at our schools a big earful of our disgust at what we feel in regard to this observation mess.

Anonymous said...

As a chapter leader for a number of years, the members need to figure out how to work with the principal to meet common goals - one of which is retaining a staff that shows they can generate survivable statistics in the DOE. If a chapter leader is "vocal", to me that means she/he does not know how to play the game, both among the staff, administration and in consideration of the DOE's many mandates and personalities who wield real power. People have this notion that the Union can sweep in and get an observation changed or scare a Principal into leaving certain people alone - nothing can be further from the truth. The Unions power is solely with collective bargaining and our benefits, something that everyone here should be shouting about from the rooftops when they say 'NO' to the upcoming CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION in the November election. While it's obviously sad this is the state of affairs, where one has to be politician in addition to meeting impossible standards on the job, it's the reality and websites like this like to focus on the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem. The real cause of the problem lies in the attack on public workers (all, not just ones with established careers, not just ATRs, etc.) the past twenty-plus years as salaries and benefits have increased while the private sector has accelerated its rip-off scam of the middle class. How does this relate to Danielson, discrimination, etc? Administration is trying to survive on the back of teachers, but they are in effect "eating their own." These standards are met to be unsurvivable if carried out to a T. Many administrations, UFT Reps, people up and down the food chain fall for this scam. Disinterested parties such as Charter School hacks and Hedge funds are in on it, following the lead of a few private parties that are paid off - ie. Eva Moskowitz. To wrap up here, @Chaz is playing to the front lines of the attack on the public workers, but we must persevere and rise above these self-inflicted wounds. Just standing from a soap box complaining about uniquely American 'veteran' teacher problems does not solve this problem and perhaps I am stating the obvious reading a website with the sole purpose of speaking to the plight of ATRs, having almost been one twice myself I empathize more than most, but the bottom line is let's talk about how to work around the impossible and lump all public workers into these articles. I implore you Chaz, your rally cries to ATRs are falling on many deaf ears that would otherwise be ripe for political actions trolling websites such as this one. Make these articles count - this one was hugely disappointing and irrelevant, except to instill fear and despondency in any teacher who gets a single "I" who should, according to you, come to the conclusion that their career is over and there is little they can do about it.

waitingforsupport said...

Well said @6:23. I sincerely wish you an "admin stress free year". We deserve better--teachers, students, and the country.

Anonymous said...

This site does a great job at exposing what goes on and what many want to sweep under the rug. Yes, there needs to be solutions and all educators of all levels within the school system have to stand up for one another if we, as career educators, are to survive.

Anonymous said...

Veteran teachers who believe they are being falsely assessed with Danielsons should file an age discrimination complaint with the State Dept of Human Rights. I've done this recently through Bryan Glass Esq.
It is an important first step and may help you protect your tenure rights/job. Fight back people!

Anonymous said...

Anon 838,

Although I agree with some of your points, I fee the uft should be more than a collective bargaining federation. Trust me, I'm thankful for the salary and benefits but a union is also responsible for working conditions. Sorry but that's true.

With all due respect, your post sounds like uft propaganda and rhetoric that mulgrew, weingarten, Arundell and sill throw at us.

How about the uft try to unify its members and earn them about some realities like APs trying to pit teachers against one another?

This summer, my district rep told me that '99 of 100 principals are great to work for'. Safe to say I do not agree with that statement.

From the top(mulgrew), the uft is in city hall's back pocket. It should be the opposite.

We passed a contract with zero interest for money from 2009. And the uft shouts victory? Come on.

In the past decade, working conditions have gone down.

The uft has to be careful bc the neophytes are anti-union and guess what? In 20 years teachers won't contribute thus putting the uft under.

Anonymous said...

Anon 838,

Are you in the uft or the principal's union?

I'll bet you're a chapter leader who when called in to a meeting with a uft member you say in front of the principal that you agree with the principal.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:38-

You're delusional. There is no getting along with my admins, no matter how I try. Never in my life have I been an ass-kissing sycophant, and I'm not starting now. I'm past my prime in the eyes of the DOE, have institutional memory, and my salary is too high. Nothing I do or say will change that.

Anonymous said...

Stupid uft can't even get the day right on their Manhattan and Queens informational meetings.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:38 , you are very out of touch. I have been a teacher in NYC for over 20 years. In the old days the UFT would indeed "sweep in and change an observation". The UFT had our backs then. Principals treated teachers fairly for a few reasons: 1) The contract was actually enforced. 2)There was no fair student funding so principals left veteran teachers alone. 3) There was a teacher shortage and principals wanted staff to stay in their buildings. Fast forward to now and the UFT does not give a shit about the mistreatment of teachers and veteran teaches are seen as too expensive. This blog DOES NOT just discuss the ATR situation. In fact, this blog is one of only a handful of blogs that goes in depth to not only support teachers of all ages being abused, but also calls out the UFT for their lame attitude in helping all teachers being mistreated. You should wake up and smell the coffee because unless the UFT steps up their game, they will be history within a very short amount of time.

Anonymous said...

@811, every meeting I had was an attempt to mediate and coordinate with the Principal to ensure best outcomes for the school and the longest and most fulfilling career outcomes for our members. Whether that be talking admin out of letters to file, ensuring an hinest dialogue is present regarding Ds or Is, consulting with all members to ensure transparency; air and address grievances without it ending up in the hands of incompetant DOE and UFT leadership. We had more than 20 members up for tenure during my time at the school and 100% were recommended; not a single Ineffective (overall) rating and near 100% retention ... and yes, I agreed with the Principal more times than not in our frequent discussions. I wish the UFT showed more advocacy years ago when many schools were closed at ATRs created, rather than bowing down to Bloomberg's mandates sans a few lawsuits. Totally agree with comments above generally, we need unity as teachers that we are not seeing from UFT leadership disconnected from the reality on the ground as many members are shrills for the Principal first and foremost who then turn to complain the union didn't help them when things don't go their way. My cliche thought: know your enemy. You have to navigate what this is instead of falling pray to defeatism. Saying the sky is falling and playing victim is not helpful and I would expect the same from many NYC students.

Anonymous said...

Administrators need to support senior staff, ATRs, permanent staff, etc. Bowing down to this Bloomberg nonsense will make our profession a pass by careers. Administrators - WAKE UP!. Administrators are setting up their own downfall by harassing, implementing 3020a due to salary and the precious budget, going after veteran staff, etc.

WAKE UP!

Educators want to do the right thing. May there be a devastating shortage.

Anonymous said...

Chaz, at this point, who has more to worry about...an rotating atr under the s/u system, or an appointed teacher under Danielson?

Anonymous said...

5:58 I would say it totally depends on the who, when and where.

Anonymous said...

@5:58PM - Everyone pending the administrator - supervisor.

Anonymous said...

A shortage is what they want. Remember, it's "Children Last Always". Then they can initiate the master plan, online robot teachers.

Anonymous said...

I been telling this to teachers for the past few years now. Admins using language that is not danielson align ; misinterpretation of danielson component guidelines and coming up with their own take on what is and whats not engagement , questioning strategies, and many other issues. We need lawyers who can defend teachers with APPR and Danielson's feedback issues and guidelines way before actions lead to 3020-a hearing. We need movements to understand that admins are doing this. If a admin is in a district in westchester doing the same actions to teachers and another admin is in queens it is oblivious that theirs a common theme and connection here.It is not just limited to the admins colleges ; its far spread. The same techniques and strategies are being used against teachers across new york state.

Anonymous said...

Many APs and principals were once teachers too, but when they take the reigns of power, some of them turn into evil tyrants. I'm not talking about being a tough boss, I'm talking about character flaws and moral failings coming out front and center.

We have an AP who was 'a math teacher for 11 years,' as she always reminds us. She acts like she was a SUPER teacher and trots out Freedom Writers as a realistic goal to ascribe to in our own teaching. Besides the fact that the movie was bogus and filled with gratuitous propaganda, if she comes in your room she will rate you low if: you are doing any direct instruction and 2) if the kids are doing any kind of noisy discussion - both hallmarks of the Freedom Writers movie. Go figure!

We have recently come to find out she was a middle school teacher, and she is now AP in a high school, and that she was a mediocre teacher (info from someone who worked in her school in the past). She hates the soft sciences (history and English) and throws 1s and 2s out like water. She shows favoritism to other staff members who are members of 'her people' and makes mistakes all the time and throws her underlings under the bus.

How do you survive this? Keep your head down, say 'yes,' and never volunteer for any committee, but do lots of tutoring and other visible per session.

Anonymous said...

Long island districts too and worse. Half to .8 assignment w out benefits. Etc

Anonymous said...

8:27 I hear that. Some people have a big ego and are never humble about assuming some leadership position. Christine Peterson who I found out just retired under questionable circumstances, was in her mid to late 50s-early 60s when she became AP. Prior to her going to college and then into teaching very late in her life, she worked for Verizon. The AP that she replaced also had a reputation amongst her staff and school for being incompetent...but compared to Peterson's ineptness and incompetence she made her look like a choir boy. Peterson was so asinine and so obnoxiously stupid, you had to wonder what her principal Neil Ganesh was smoking when he brought her on board. Once this woman came on board, everyone in our department and even other departments were talking about her suitability for admin.

When I had my hearing over a year later, the rep that was assigned to me and another teacher who was also targeted (who didn't know Peterson up until that point) took one look at her and commented to me privately "My God..she is fucking stupid!" And he went on to ask me how she even became an AP. I explained to him that she worked with Ganesh's wife at another failing high school at one point.

It's one thing when you have a complete idiot who accepts the fact that they made decisions and demonstrates a willingness to learn, but somebody like Peterson who the word "idiot" doesn't even remotely do justice, thought that she knew everything because she went from being a no nothing nobody to a know nothing AP practically overnight.

Anonymous said...

ATR supervisor Justin stark told me Danielson wasn't subjective because numbers were used. These are the kind of a holes we are dealing with.

waitingforsupport said...

@ 8:38 says "the real cause of the problem lies on the attacks of public workers" AND that the standards are "unsurvivable AND seemingly blames the "vocal" chapter leader who is actually trying to do his job and not simply "play the game". What kind of BS is this person spewing?

Anonymous said...

The real problem
1)Age Discrimination
2) Racism, dont want certain ethnic groups(children) to succeed.
sometimes administrators flat right tell you! And when you report it
you in trouble not the racist.
3) Teachers are not organized, when one teacher is in trouble the rest walks away

Anonymous said...

The UFT is siding with very bad principals.

waitingforsupport said...

@8:52...I agree