On July 12, I interviewed Jeff Kaufman, one of the most knowledgeable union people I know. Whenever someone with a union problem contacts me I often send them to Jeff or James Eterno rather than the UFT. To say Jeff has a contentious relationship with the UFT/Unity Caucus leadership would be a gross underestimation. They despise him even more than they do me after his 3-year stint on the UFT Exec Board representing the Independent Community of Educators (ICE) where he regularly took apart the phony Randi Weingarten agenda.
In this riveting video Jeff takes us step by step through the process of how all 8 teachers at his school who were up for tenure had their time extended and now face the prospect of having to wait for a 5th year. The lies and perfidy of just resigned principal Matt Malloy (who often referred to these Teach for America young women as "Matt's Harem") and Superintendent Amy Horowitz who did zero supervision of Malloy while he did no observations and pushed almost all the administration burdens of running a new school onto these young and inexperienced teachers.
And then there are the UFT bureaucrats - VPHS Leo Casey and District Rep Charley Turner (one of the all time sleazeballs who even outranks Washington Sanchez in that category) who instead of providing assistance to the teachers, attempted to use this as a way to undermine Jeff with his colleagues -a long-time tactic of Unity Caucus with people who oppose their policies.
Direct Vimeo link: http://vimeo.com/26575544
The video is mostly focused on the actions of the principal but it is a microcosm of not only what went on in so many schools but of the helpless reaction to this crisis by the UFT leadership. Jeff wrote a companion piece on the ICE blog July 16 focusing on the UFT and the tenure story.
Here is an excerpt but go read it all:
A note on tenure…
We have explained before, in this blog, what tenure is and what it isn't. Briefly stated the law defines tenure as that period of time, usually 3 years, where a teacher has performed satisfactorily. Tenure fundamentally changes the employment rights of a teacher from being an "at-will" employee while under probation and fired for any or no reason at all to one that is entitled to a due process hearing where the DOE must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the teacher should be fired before an arbitrator.
Education Law 3012 provides, in relevant part: "At the expiration of the probationary term…, the superintendent of schools shall make a written report to the board of education …recommending for appointment on tenure those persons who have been found competent, efficient and satisfactory, consistent with any applicable rules of the board of regents adopted pursuant to section three thousand twelve-b of this article. ...Each person who is not to be recommended for appointment on tenure, shall be so notified by the superintendent of schools in writing not later than sixty days immediately preceding the expiration of his probationary period."
The statute provides that tenure decisions must be made solely on a teacher's competence, efficiency and satisfactory service. The part of the statute which refers to State Regulations only refers to the new, 4 part, evaluation system, effective September 2011 which make no mention of probation or tenure at all.
So why is the UFT so conspicuously absent in the face of such a radical change in working conditions for so many teachers? Perhaps, their lawyers believe that since tenure is not a subject of bargaining there is legally little they can do. While, admittedly, legal avenues are limited although there are actions that can be brought if the Union knew or cared about its members.
Now, we must wait for a FOIL request to be filled (they can take months or even years) and teachers who have provided competent, efficient and satisfactory service must serve additional probation time or be terminated.
Kaufman on E4E
I put up a separate excerpt of the video the other day where Jeff focused on the E4E people in his school and the contradiction between their support for that organization and what happened to them. In that short video Jeff points out how E4E is anti-union: ICE's Jeff Kaufman Dissects Educators 4 Excellence and Judges Them "Antiunion" -