Saturday, June 30, 2007

What a farce.....

We get letters:

A teacher who asked for help with a friend who is fighting to keep her license wrote:
All the NYSUT lawyers say to either pay the fine or resign. It's time for a coup d'etat at the UFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another teacher posted the message below to ICE-mail. She was U-rated by the infamous Jolanta Rohloff and embargoed from working under her high school license. She is trying to regain the license. What does the system have to lose in letting her keep the license if there are principals willing to hire her? A pound of flesh is not enough. At least she is currently working in the NYC system under a different license.

As for the UFT's role...ugh! Instead of focusing on keeping the school open, they focused on getting Rohloff removed so they can claim a pelt on their belt. Weingarten herself said the school should be closed. An ICE person, who had also been U-rated by Rohloff, tried to get the chapter leader to address the school closing, but as a Unity Caucus clone, he had his own agenda and attacked the ICE guy as being anti-union. Jeff Zahler and Leo Casey must be writing his material. I bet he makes out pretty wel in the closing while the ICE guy was excessed into ATR'dom.

One side story. This teacher got a now-defunct UFT transfer after 4 years of teaching in the Bronx (she lived in Brooklyn) before Rohloff took over at Lafayette that summer. In August, she decided to go to school and introduce herself. The very first words out of Rohloff's mouth to her were, "Don't you think I should be able to hire my own people?" Welcome to the school. Within the first weeks she was being given U-observations, clearly one of Rohloff's chosen pre-determined targets. Rohloff had stated on her first day at the school there would be a rain of U's.

Her assignment to Lafayette as principal even caused smiles among her colleagues at the Leadership Academy, who had clearly seen in her performance there that she would not be appropriate as a principal. It's pretty interesting that even people in the belly of the beast speculated that Rohloff got the assignment because it was clear that her difficult personality would finish Lafayette off. Now the Tweedles have targeted Manhattan Center on the upper east side as Rohloff's next victim, another school that will driven into closure to make room for charters. Teachers there are already passing around petitions.

Here is the teacher's letter. Hard to decide whether to place more blame on the DOE or the UFT. Maybe a tie?

My hearing with the DOE to argue my discontinuance regarding my high school license was held in February ( I was at Lafayette High- 'nuff said).

Though clearly evidence regarding my discontinuance was in my favor (again, those that know of the goings on at Lafayette would agree), the LIS has decided to uphold the discontinuance. This I expected, as I feel the DOE rarely reverses itself, regardless of the justice or injustice of a situation.

Today, I called the UFT. I was told that no further appeals can be carried out by the UFT. I must obtain a lawyer myself to initiate an Article 78 proceeding, if I wish to appeal the DOE decision. After researching what I need to do, it appears that the process is quite lengthy and costly. Again, basically, I was told: "Tough luck"...

WHY doesn't the UFT undertake such appeals on behalf of its' members? Isn't that WHY we have a union in the first place, to protect the members in the case of such events? The UFT rep that I spoke with could not even recommend a lawyer!

More and more, I see the futility of the UFT as a viable organization designed to represent teacher issues vis- a- vis labor problems with the DOE. WHY do we even HAVE a union in the first place, if the Union does not even fulfill its' most basic functions, that of representing
the members in the face of unfair management and labor practices?

What a farce.....


  1. To all those that responded to my post, thank you for your encouragement and well wishes.

    I did some research on Article 78 - it's part of the New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules. Essentially, this article is used to fight government agencies, and according to one site I visited, it's possible to fight Pro Bono.

    However, the process is quite costly and the Statue of Limitations period is short for filing a cause of action in these types of cases.

    That is why I question why the UFT that takes our dues, and has a
    lawyer (Madame Weingarten) as the nominal leader of the union, goes
    no further in appealing discontinuances and "U" ratings, particularly when the evidence overwhelmingly points to unfair and discriminatory labor practices used by the DOE to harass and fire teachers.

    Yet, Principals such as Rohloff and others merit bonuses as rewards
    for engaging in corporate downsizings of schools and leaving the many students of this city without a place to go to achieve a viable education.

    Quite the topsy turvy world, much like Alices' Adventures Through The
    Looking Glass... Could it be possible for teachers that have been harassed to band together and possibly file for a class action suit against the DOE and the Union? My opinion is that the Union has
    essentially partnered with the DOE, Madame Weingarten has just become
    a shill, and the UFT is just a paper tiger.

  2. Norm-for the record the ICE person at Lafayette was the only member of the chapter who did not vote yes for a resolution which was an open letter to chancellor Klein. The open letter voted upon in March called for the removal of principal Jolanta Rohloff. The ICE person also was the only member of the chapter who publicly, at a faculty conference called upon the chapter to support Rohloff in a useless attempt to save Lafayette. The DOE had already with the support of the Alumni and local politicians (city councilman Recchia) have deemed Lafayette campus the new home of the HS Sports Management and 2 new schools. Perhaps you should check out the facts before you publish your criticisms of chapter leaders and their members.

  3. Should the teachers band together, they could make a difference.

    The cause of action against the UFT, I do not know if that is a legally viable cause of action, could be:

    Not only does the UFT NOT support the deliberate and large scale teacher cleansing by the DOE

    It agreed to it without informing its members in the following ways

    The UFT lobbied the NYS congress to amend the NYS education Law 3020-a without informing its members.

    The legislature approved change in the state education law, initiated by the UNION, deprived the UFT members of the 3 arbitrators, mandated for all other NYS teachers who are accused of incompetence, and,

    deprived the UFT members of the right to select their arbitrator, as mandated for all other teachers in the state, and,

    although the members approved the contract, this was never made clear to them, and,

    the state education law bars any arbitrator with connection to either the accused or the accuser from being nominated.

    The arbitrators, are now chosen by both the Union and the City, and have to be renominated by both yearly, which is the equivalent of being the employees of both.

    Someone ought to investigate the legality of that arrangement on constitutional and statutory grounds.

    In reformation solidarity

    The Defrocked

  4. Wrong again Norm:

    The ICE person while a nice guy and a good teacher, has little or no credibility within the chapter. His call for support for Rohloff shows how little he or you understand how the staff felt and feels regarding Rohloff.

    The UFT leadership supported us and the media helped us to rid the school of this anathema. Now she is slated to move to another high school the Manhattan Center. Let us see how that chapter will deal with Rohloff, and how you portray their struggle. Those of us who fought her at Lafayette will join in solidarity. Let see if the ICE Guy shows up to be counted.

    Rohloff was the Bottom of the Barrel not the Bottom Line. To fight such a principal you need real unionists and the support of the UFT and media. Not rebels without a clue as I see you and the handful of ICE supporters who spend their time attacking the leadership instead of leading their members.


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