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.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.
The student testified Rosenfeld told her “that I love him. That’s why I talk to him so much,” according to records.
Then there is this:
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.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.
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.
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.