May 20, 2008

TAGNYC Statement at P.E.P. Meeting of May 19, 2008

Every month, the Board of Education, which now calls itself the Panel on Educational Policy, meets in public hearings. The public is invited to speak. Anyone desiring to address the Panel must sign up prior to the beginning of the meeting and is allowed two minutes to speak during the Public Comment portion of the meeting.
TAGNYC has been a constant presence at these meetings. We are unyielding in our
criticism of Bloomberg/Klein’s treatment of teachers and misuse of the educational system for political advantage. We take our message straight to the top- Klein is always in attendance.
Below is our statement delivered at the P.E.P. meeting of May 19, 2008.

The P.E.P. meeting of April 14th was truly amazing. Amazing in the eyes of the Teacher Advocacy Group NYC for three reasons:
First reason: The chilling testimony given by the psychologists working in the NYC schools. Their testimony was absolute in its indictment of the Mayor, Chancellor, and P.E.P.’s knowing disregard for the thousands upon thousands of special needs students of NYC. It proves the truth that most teachers know: The past seven years have not been about the kids.
Second reason: That the press did not pick up the psychologists’ stories and keep them on the front page of every newspaper in the City. But then, the Bloomberg/Klein administration did not issue the psychologists’ stories as a press release to the compliant and seemingly defeated press!
Thirdly, at the end of the meeting, a panel member told the TAG representative that her manner was not conducive to winning over the Panel. Perhaps you misunderstand why we come to these meetings. As representatives of the Teacher Advocacy Group NYC we are not here to woo, but to stand before this mike to tell you again and again that academic fraud is rife within the schools; to tell you that testing is a tool for individuals’ political advancement but it is dumbing down the students; to tell you that the credit recovery program is an affront to teachers and to the students who strive. To tell you that the credit recovery program, along with the outrageous scoring of Regents, along with organizing students at the end of the year to ‘make up’ mandated science labs by having them copy completed labs, along with giving credit to students for classes they did not take, along with all the other academic fraud, is social promotion, is pushing kids through, is teaching our students that lying is the way to get ahead in the world. Maybe that is the business model - a model not known for positive character formation.
Klein (Keeper of the Clock) Thank you. Your two minutes are up

May 2, 2008

Advice to 3020a Participants

The Bloomberg-Klein Administration is using the 3020a hearing as a way of removing teachers from their schools. Perhaps teachers will be returned to schools as ATRs after settlements or hearings. This also is part of the strategy because exits are being planned for the ATRs. An easy way to remove a teacher from his/her school is to charge incompetence. TAGNYC, along with every teacher, knows this. Randi Weingarten knows this. TAGNYC will speak out to expose this horrendous practice. The UFT will not.
OSI agents are complaining that principals are using OSI to remove teachers. If you fall in this category, demand charges immediately, demand to see incident reports, witness statements, and demand a hearing- and then demand an apology.

Advice to 3020a Participants:
1. Do not be in a hurry to retire or resign. Have your hearing.
2. Do not be in a hurry to settle. Have your hearing.
3. Demand a defense built on “disparate treatment”.*
4. Demand a public hearing. Do not be persuaded to have a private hearing.
5. Exercise your right to subpoena witnesses.
6. Demand a ‘bill of particulars’.**
7. Script your own defense-know what questions you want asked of both your witnesses and the DOE witnesses.
8. Bring every bit of documentation possible to your defense- lesson plans, students’ work, etc. Submit everything as evidence.
9. Demand that the arbitrator apply the criteria of “credibility” to your case.***
10. Demand a definition of incompetence:
a. 3020a law and Klein define incompetence as being unable or unwilling to do your job
11. Demand a definition of “your job” from the DOE and from the arbitrator.
12. Demand a definition of ‘unable and “unwilling”.
13. Demand credible evidence of being “unable and unwilling”.
14. Demand that incompetence be proven.
15. Get in writing the rational for any fine that is levied or offered as a settlement.
16. Remember- defend on disparate treatment, disparate treatment, disparate treatment.
Although historically the term is used to denote unequal treatment based on race, religion, gender, etc., 3020a participants can use it to defend against their unequal treatment-: Did the principal hold the 3020a person to a standard (employment practices) to which other teachers were not held and which standard resulted in awarding u-ratings in an ‘unequal’ fashion? Yes, the UFT should have been monitoring if one of their members was receiving unequal treatment. That is what a labor union does. It is not a question of going after its own members. It is the principle that all members be treated equally.
**bill of particulars- A written statement that is submitted by a plaintiff at the request of a defendant, giving the defendant detailed information concerning the claims or charges made against him or her.
***credibility- Who do you believe? On what basis does the arbitrator believe the DOE’s assertion of incompetence over the documented career of the accused teacher?

DO NOT EXPECT the DOE to provide anything you request. The DOE refuses to respond to lawyers’ requests for information in the 3020a hearings. Ask for the information anyway. Build a case.
DO EXPECT AND DEMAND that arbitrators’ judgments and rulings reflect adherence to their Code of Professional Ethics.