Friday, June 25, 2010

I have some questions about a u-rated teacher in my school

UPDATED: June 27, 10pm


This came in over the transom. Email me or leave comments if you have answers:

A teacher came to me -teaching less than 10 years; tenured. Got all S's, except this year: U rating.

Showed me the 5 or 6 observations, and I couldn't tell which they were considering "formal" or "informal". I believe some were meant to be informal because they filled in after

They did not include one observation in this back up material. It was an "S" observation.
Apart from that, they made the standard weird comments — like saying the kids were not engaged, yet they attached the paperwork that showed that the kids were in fact quite engaged and doing the assignment.

Can anyone help me with some of these questions?

1. The UFT website says to contact the dist. office for help. Are they actually going to do something for you, or is that a waste of time?

2. Art. 21. (Due Process) says in the last clause (D.3) that: " 3. Teachers who receive doubtful or unsatisfactory ratings may appeal under Section 4.3.1 of the by-laws of the Board of Education." I don't think it's talking about probationers at this point, correct? If so, do you do this with the district's help, or on your own?

3. How can you tell what's formal and what's informal? Is there a special "procedure" they've not followed if you can't tell the difference between one observation report and another?

4. Is the district going to do that with or for this teacher when he/she contacts them?

5. Where does it stay that if you get a U rating your salary freezes on a certain step? I can't find it.


Anonymous said...

This is regarding your inquiry of freezing of a teacher's salary step. First and foremost, maximum salary step is 8B, then longevity increments are years 10, 13, 15, 18, 20 & 22. The information you inquired is in the following DoE manual:


G. Implications of an Adverse Rating
1. Receipt of an Unsatisfactory rating has serious implications. Unsatisfactory performance is a compelling reason for recommending the Discontinuance of Probationary Service or the Denial of Certification of Completion of Probation and for filing charges against tenured employees. It may also impact on an employee’s ability to obtain additional licenses.
2. Employees who have not reached their maximum salary also suffer the loss of annual salary increments. However, upon completion of the next year of
service with a Satisfactory rating, and upon completion of the prescribedcourse work (where applicable), the employee shall advance to the increment level that would have been appropriate had there been no rating of Unsatisfactory.

As for your inquiry about informal or formal observations, your district rep will explain. But go on and do a search on "Teaching for the 21st century" where it details information on observations.

I wish your colleague the best of luck on reversing a u-rated annual evaluation. So far the union has had a difficult time with the DoE's hearing officers. The hearing officers are all retired administrators who will abide by the chancellor's heartless decision.

Because I am a chapter leader and questioned the principal's motive and I did not allow her to take advantage of the members, three years ago she managed to put 5 letters in my file in one week, even though all the 5 letters were false allegations. Just with those letters she was able to u-rate me at the end of the year.

At the appeal hearing, the union rep was unable to reverse the u-rating. Fortunately, I was beyond maximum step so the hearing officer's decision didn't affect my salary, but it sure made me pissed off and angrier at my principal!

Good Luck. I hope the information is useful.

Tom Forbes said...

I went through the U rating appeal last Oct. and have not yet received notification as to the disposition. I saw the UFT rep who sat with me at a Delegate Assembly in December and was told virtually no u rating gets overturned because the hearing officers report goes to Tweed and they make the final decision. It is one example of who the UFT and the DOE are in collusion when it comes to inappropriate u ratings. I was barred from doing any academic per session this year and not allowed to participate in a C30 even though I was elected Chapter Leader the month I received the U.

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote this in:
Teachers that received U Ratings in my school were able to have them reversed with the help of the UFT.
It is a process but he should contact District Rep ASAP and will need to go to Borough UFT Office.

Only 1 in my experience failed to get a reversal which was due to "chronic absences."

The UFT can and does assist successfully in most cases with these ratings.

Under Assault said...

I have constantly complained about the lies in the files - e.g., at one of RW's delegate assemblies where she stated forcefully that she couldn't think of anything the new grievance protocol in the last contract couldn't fix.

BTW, I just received an answer to a grievance I submitted this week. The sentences the principal wrote in her denial document contained boldface lies. Literally. She used a 14-pt boldface font.

Everything in this system is a lie, and until the UFT stands up to the lies — which they can't do because they're in it up to their collective neck — nothing will change. We're swimming in quicksand here.
PS: There are individual staffers in the union that I believe retain their integrity and have been extremely helpful in navigating the fallout from the UFT's disastrous strategy. I do not include them in the monster that the AdCom has become.

Anonymous said...

Here is an excerpt from pages 40 and 41 of the April 2007 edition of "Frequently Asked Questions," a supervisory staff publication of DOE's Office of Labor Relations:

Q: May I conduct informal observations?

A: Yes. You may conduct as many informal observations as you like and you may write informal observation reports for teachers’ files. An informal observation report is simply a written description of what you saw while the teacher was performing his or her duties along with suggestions for improvement.

Q: What are the steps for an informal observation?

A: You should conduct a post-observation conference and then memorialize the informal observation in the form
of a letter or report as soon as practicable. The steps for an informal observation are as follows:

1. Observation
• No advance notice necessary.
• May be either composite or one full period.
• No time limitation regarding length of observation.

2. Post Observation Discussion
• Discuss your observations, strengths, areas/programs for improvement, repercussions for nonimprovement.
• Union representative may not be present (unless misconduct is involved in which case you can address
with a union representative present or schedule a separate disciplinary conference).

3. Written Report or Letter
• Write “Informal Observation Report” on the top of the letter/report.
• Describe what you saw while the teacher was performing his/her duties and suggestions for improvement.
• Include employee’s responses from post-observation discussion.

4. Delivery and Signature
• Obtain employee’s signature and, if s/he refuses to sign, you or a witness should mark it “refused to sign.”

Tom Forbes said...

Going through the UFT? Maybe the District Rep. in incompetent in my case. The only way to reverse a U rating is if the principal agrees to do it. Someone in my school had it changed this year but had to agree to be excessed in exchange. All with the support of the UFT.

proofoflife said...

As a U rating advocate I can tell you that far too many U ratings remain on the record. This is why it is of the utmost importance for members to write the words "SEE MY ATTACHED REBUTTAL" under their signature . This way the principal is FORCED to attach any letter the U rated teacher receives. When the U rated teacher goes before the arbitrator the documents must be included in the hearing. I can not begin to tell you how many teachers refuse to sign the U rated observations and later they have no proof of a response. The teacher could also include any PD they were sent to for "improvement". The principal must prove they did everything in their power to help remove any deficiencies in the teachers skills. Good luck. Tell your friend to bring all letters of recommendations to combat the lies.

Anonymous said...

Under Assault
Please tell us who those UFTers with integrity are!

I am a chapter leader in queens, have not encountered anyone in my dealings with the UFT that has actually followed through on helping any member, except themself.

I would be pleased to contact you privately for this information. Maybe it would be possible through Norm!


nancy said...

Its not looking real one.
Grievance Letters

Unknown said...

A more fair and just Appeals system MUST be brought up at negotiations. We can’t allow the fox
to watch the chicken coop. The Chancellor’s Committee (they remain anonymous) has complete
power. That is both autocratic and violates basic standards of integrity and fairness.

Anonymous said...

The UFT is counterproductive and clearly in the pocket of the DOE. The DOE will actually tell you if you have a Problem Code. The UFT won't. The UFT will mail a copy of your U rating to the DOE at 65 Court Street, so in case your principal forgets to submit a copy to 65 Court St., the UFT makes sure the U gets there. Then you automatically lose your appeal so the "due process" was all a farce. You are better off higher an attorney who specializes in Education labor law and paying out of pocket to get real advice and assistance. The UFT is crap.