Monday, February 5, 2007

U-Rating Hearing Notes from Lafayette HS

Ed Note:
Our correspondent received a UFT transfer into Lafayette in the summer of 2005, one of the last UFT transfers before the onerous contract eliminated them. She came to the school during the summer to meet the principal (who she assumed was the old one) only to find Rohloff. Her first question was, "Don't you think I should pick my own people?" - a typical response from a principal to a UFT transferee, who are all assumed to be questionable no matter what their abilities. By the 2nd week of Sept. the teacher was under attack as Rohloff clearly had made up her mind to not have a UFT transferee in her building and the teacher underwent a year of hell. The teacher had previously had 3 years of successful teaching in special ed in very difficult schools but that counts for nothing in the world of Rohloffdom and BloomKleindom.

AP [X] had been placed in the rubber room for some connection to a teacher changing a score by a point in order to allow a student to graduate. Since then,
AP [X] has been demoted to a teacher as an ATR.

AP [X]
was noted for following Rohloff's orders and there are reports he gave 4 U ratings last year. In the end, AP [X] got burned on the cross he helped create. But he still has a job. When chapter leader Maria Colon of JFK HS found her bosses changing piles of regent scores it was she who was sent to the rubber room for a year and a half and had her job gone after. (She is clear now and back teaching as an ATR.) Her bosses got off scot free.

Thought I'd give you the details of my hearing. Essentially, the hearing was held to fight the "U" rating I received. The true issue basically is about class management, not my knowledge of content, or my credentials as a teacher.

Hearing was to commence at 9 a.m. 6 people were present, my UFT rep, me, a DOE Chairperson, a Superintendent representative from Region 7, a rep from the Chancellor's office and an impartial (?) observer. I question the impartiality of the observer, simply because she appeared to be on very familiar terms with the representative from the Region 7 office, and exchanged a number of pleasantries that would indicate a friendship with the Superintendent's rep.

Also present (by phone connection) were: Jolanta Rohloff, Principal, Ms. Makintosh (LIS, Region 7), AP [X] ( A.P. Social Studies)

We were to commence the hearing at 9 a.m. This was not so, because there were problems in calling Lafayette ( no one picked up the phone there). The rep. from District 7 offered as a reason that this was so , because today is the first date back from Regents grading, and a new semester, so having a hearing on this particular date ( today) was very poor timing.....As for AP [X], when the question came up about where he was, so that he could be cross examined, again, all concerned ( with the exception of my UFT rep and me) had to scramble to get information on where AP [X] was located, his now exact position, how he could be reached.

We finally connected with Rohloff- when asked by my rep where AP [X] was, Rohloff told my rep that "he ( meaning AP [X]) was no longer at the school". Rohloff went on to say that she had the authority to speak for him. My rep shot that down, another long search went on to connect with AP [X]. When questioned as to his whereabouts, Rohloff continually stated that "he was not at the school." My rep refused to carry on the hearing until AP[X] was located, correctly stating that AP [X] was the one that gave me the ratings, not Rohloff, who was not in the classroom with us at the time the ratings were given. When the panel found out where AP [X] was located, the rep from the Chancellor's office inadvertently blurted out: "He's in the "rubber room"!" The impartial observer and rep from the Region both made comments that the remark was inappropriate. My UFT rep and I said nothing. Finally, a private cell phone number was obtained for AP [X], the connection was made.

The UFT rep then cross examined AP [X], Rohloff, and the LIS on the Log of Assistance, did they model lessons for me, other questions along that line of reasoning. Rohloff blatantly lied about the assistance she offered me, AP [X] did not have the appropriate documents at his disposal, the LIS admitted that she knew that Rohloff had intended to "U" rate me for the year, prior to observing me. My rep brought up the point that if the LIS knew that I was to be "U" rated, would that affect her decision? The LIS said that it did not.

My observations during the hearing- The UFT rep was very much on point - kept all participants on point through his cross examinations. When it was time for Rohloff and the LIS to question me, apparently they asked questions that drew the agreement from the other reps that their questions were not germane to the hearing. One such question from the LIS: "Describe differential learning". I was not required to answer that question, as it relates more to philosophy than the issue at hand, which apparently, was more classroom management. Another question: What outside professional development seminars did I attend, which I answered. The LIS summarized that " since I did not seek professional development on my own, it's an indication of my lack of professionalism and planning". Rohloff concurred. As you know, we attended a number of PD's on a voluntary basis that were assigned to us.

As for my summary, I deferred to the UFT rep. All other present stated:" On the record".
That was it. After the hearing, the UFT rep and I spoke. I'm of the opinion that the hearing went towards my favor, however, the UFT Rep feels that even if we "won" on points, the DOE will still doggedly stand by their initial decision.

So, what was the point? Could there be a "miracle"? Is the DOE capable of retracting a decision that clearly smacks of an injustice? As for AP [X], I'm sure that the DOE Chairman knew of his situation, as well as the Regional rep., yet, this was not brought up, either by them, or the UFT rep. I was biting my tongue to bring up the situation, but the UFT rep feels that no matter how wrong the administration is, the DOE reps at the hearing would not be swayed by bringing such a situation to light.

1 comment:

  1. it ain't over till its over..keep an eye out for a posting??


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