Saturday, February 11, 2012

Poor NY Post -- losing Alan Rosenfeld, favorite whipping boy

Say it ain't so Alan, I thought you would rather die in the rubber room.

I often tell a story a teacher in Rockaway once told me. He was teaching summer school in a tough middle school. As he dismissed a class one day, he leaned over the desk and gripped the edge to talk to a student. One girl pushed another girl and her ass landed on his hands. She promptly went down to the office and charged him with grabbing her ass. When he got downstairs the police were waiting to arrest him. Luckily, his AP was on his side and talked the cops down (just imagine if this AP was one of "those") but the teacher spend a long time in a rubber room, a horrifying experience for him and was under a cloud when he went back to school.

Fast forward a year. Same school, same students in summer school but different teacher -- a friend of my contact. The teacher hears the girls laughing and bragging how they "got" that teacher by staging the ass grabbing affair the year before. Luckily the teacher knew the guy and reported it and he was totally exonerated. But that was it.

I bring this up due to the Daily News reports on the Alen Rosenfeld retirement. 

In the midst of the political fight over the future of teacher evaluations, Rosenfeld’s case has been held up as a prime example of the difficulty of firing tenured public servants. His case, though, does not focus on an issue of incompetence. Rosenfeld was given satisfactory ratings by his last principal and even commendations, records show.
Every teacher owes Alan a thanks for retiring as his case was going to become a point of attack on LIFO. But no matter how hard I try to sift through the "facts" I can find little to justify pulling him out of the classroom for a decade. 

Right now this looks like the worst of it:

Rosenfeld was found guilty of having told a student that she loved him.
The student testified Rosenfeld told her “that I love him. That’s why I talk to him so much,” according to records.
Holy shit -- I said did exactly the same thing to a very mature 6th grade girl in my 1976 class--- one of my favorite students of all time (we still are in touch at times). She used to compare me to Kotter and probably had a bit of a crush. She used to hang out so close to me --- with a bit of physical contact at times --- that I once said to her: "You must love me. You can't stay away from me." I must have embarrassed her -- she responded with a squeal of disgust and from then on kept her physical distance.

Then there is this:
Rosenfeld was also accused oggling students rear ends and exhibiting a pattern of inappropriate behavior, but the judge did not rule on those matters. Then-Schools Chancellor Joel Klein decided not to send Rosenfeld back to the classroom and to exile him to the rubber room.
Hmmmm. Did I ever check out a mature student? Hell yes. But I tried not to ogle, though. I would love to see more examples of inappropriate classroom behavior. I'll bet my principal could have come up with some interesting examples --- like refusing to use a bullshit and inappropriate basal reader she kept sending me.

And Joel Klein looking to make political hay by exiling him to the rubber room? Is anyone surprised?

You know, now that I think of it, I could have spent decades in a rubber room. Too bad Uncle Joel wasn't in charge during my glory years.

There's more.
Rosenfeld, 66, who taught typing at Intermediate School 347 in Queens, was originally brought up on charges of making inappropriate comments to female students in 2001. An administrative judge made the decision not to fire Rosenfeld after much of the case was dismissed on procedural grounds.
So we have one inappropriate comment which I don't necessarily consider all that inappropriate. Maybe there's more but unless the press has more, the automatic assumption that Rosenfeld is a sleaze is slander. A judge making some kind of decision is part of a process established by contract and law, yet the press says that is not good enough. Why not claim that jury decisions should be overturned by public opinion? We know full well that if there was anything real there Rosenfeld would have been hung.

The case has also been used to point out bureaucratic incompetence, since city officials failed to make its case when it had the chance.
There is the implication that the DOE screwed up and didn't get the witnesses to the hearing. Duh! Remember that story I started off with? Is it just possible the "witnesses" were untrustworthy?

Now let's make this clear. Rosenfeld is not the most loveable character. In fact based on my brief contact with him he seems to be a stubborn pain in the ass. He so bothered UFT officials with his use of the mic at Exec bd meetings they changed the rules to shut him up. I can just imagine his principal just loving a chance to dump him. So why not take a minor incident and blow it up? The more I think of it Joel Klein's strategy of keeping Alan out of a school only made him dig in his heels. Imagine if he were sent back to a middle school to teach under the Tweed torture chamber? It might just have been enough incentive for Alan to retire years ago and save the DOE all that money the press complains about.

But what's money when you want to create a political tool to be used to undermine the entire teaching staff? Call it a smart investment if it ends up killing LIFO and you can get rid of thousands of high salaried teachers without having to deal with such bothersome items as an judge and a hearing.

Coming next: a focus on a few specific ATRs with some history who can be targeted.

Rubber room case in trial
I posted this notice Rubber Room Suit: The Manhattan Five (plus one) g...
about the trial in federal court on Thursday. I was hoping to get over there but was preoccupied with the PEP. The lawyer Nick Penkovksy has been in touch and will fill me in this weekend on what transpired. I will report after we talk.

TAPCO Principal follow-up
From the blog post that keeps on giving comments:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Another DOE Scam - TAPCO - Theatre Arts Production...":
Ms. Lynn will not get a bad rating because the staff are terrified of retribution. The majority of the teachers at TAPCO are brand new and are not willing to stick their necks out. Most are just hoping to see the end of June, and get the heck out of Dodge. 14 teachers left last year. That number will probably be exceeded this year.

Ms. Lynn knows how it works. She will plan the staff retreat to coincide with the school rating survey. As she has done over the past several years, she will stage the staff retreat at a posh hotel in Manhattan ... either the Sheraton or the Hilton. BTW, this is on tax payer money.

Teachers will stay overnight in $300 a night rooms (on the taxpayer dime), and have a dinner filled with food and all-you-can-drink alcohol at a lavish restaurant (on the taxpayer dime). The next morning, after half the staff is waking up from their late night hangovers, and happy as dumb pigs ... they happily give Ms. Lynn an outstanding rating on the on-line survey while her (Inquisition) Inquiry Team members watch over their shoulders.

As for Janice Acosta, she is Ms. Lynn's little angry dog. She barks loudly and enjoys Ms. Lynn tugging on her leash. She doesn't carry the respect of a single teacher in the entire school but thinks she carries the authority of her unearned position.

Even through this phony DOE investigation, Ms. Lynn is still cooking the books and making a mockery of the education system. Students who do no work, cheat, copy, and lie are still passing with flying colors. Teachers jobs are threatened when they attempt to impose responsibility on the students. A casual glance into classrooms will find rooms full of students texting, listening to iPods, insulting teachers ... anything but learning.

One really has to wonder how a school in the middle of the Bronx has the magic formula of 100% graduation rate when the City graduation is barely 65%. The middle school which shares the same building MS 391 has an on-time graduation rate of about 60%. But in the same building, Ms. Lynn and TAPCO are sailing with a 100% graduation rate. In DOE-land, being honest and hardworking gets your school closed down. In DOE-land, lying, cheating, and changing grades is how you earn the #1 school in NYC.

Well done Ms. Lynn. The staff respects and supports you. Please continue to manipulate, cheat, and lie. It's working.


  1. Norm:

    My understanding was that Alan was a dean and the girls did not like him for calling in their parents. Therefore, when one of the girls complained that he looked at her funny, the rest were encouraged by SCI and the Principal to say that he oogled at them. With Alan's personality, you can guess the rest.

    In his Administrative hearing these girls refused to show up and their hearsay statements were rightly dismissed. I'm sure their parents knew that these girls were lying and didn't want them subject to the cross-examination that would have exposed their real motive for making the statements in the first place. Their dislike of Mr.Rosenfeld.

    I'm sure the Principal was very instrumental in getting Alan out of the school and into his decade long purgatory.

    1. I know Alan quite well, and I must say he is a character!!! He was the person of interest at 25 Chapel street whenever anyone was charged, because of the fact that he was an Attorney. The fact of the matter is that the BOE Attorney at the 3020-a could not prove anything against Alan - how do you prove "oogling"? and the girls did not testify. So, this means, folks, that the allegations are just that!!!! The BOE loves making a leap of faith, as does NYSUT and the UFT, that if there is an allegation, it must be true.
      Alan loved the fight that the BOE was having over the fact that they, not Alan, blotched this case up, and he reaped the rewards of a process that was ruined years ago by people with agendas that have nothing to do with due process, preponderance of evidence, truth and justice. He told me that he wanted to leave on his own terms, and he did just that. "They" hate him for it.

  2. The media and some of its critics look to who botched up Alan's case. The fact is that the case was not botched up...there never was a case. The junior high school that Alan was dean in shared space with a high school and the high school principal didn't like Alan on the floor. He was was loud and strict to his students. After Alan was to be appointed an Assistant Principal the high school principal attempted to set him up and made the allegations that included oggling and such. He was placed in the rubber room and his AP appointment pulled. After his initial rubber room stint and his hearing which was mostly dismissed "because they couldn't prove anything" (in my book not a technical or procedural reason) he was reassigned to another school where he taught for six months! He began to inquire about his AP appointment and that is when he was sent, once again to the rubber room where he stayed until his retirement.

    Alan's case is not DOE bungling. It is the case of person who, despite the incredible pressure by the DOE, the UFT and the media, stood his ground because there was a tenure system in place. Let's not forget we are all one allegation away from being brought up on charges but fortunately we have a system that provides what every job in our democratic society should provide, some level of due process to prevent baseless allegations from depriving us of our livelihood.

  3. If it is so easy to diamantle a teacher's world, why is the principal of Ps 189 in Bklyn(Berthe Goethe Faustin) still allowed to terrorise teachers?

    1. She has a network of lapdogs around her, all subservient to her.She pays them with persession money to backstab each other.She claims to be a devout catholic, but she ia a witch, practicing vodoo.

    2. She rewards her favorites with per-session hours.

  4. she can because she does voodoo.


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