Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Daily News Deserves a Good Whopping for Witchhunts 101

The city will spend a whopping $29 million in 2013 on the salaries and benefits of outcast educators who are deemed too dangerous or incompetent to work in public school classrooms but cannot be immediately fired, the Daily News has learned...
Chapman and Monahan get quotes from both a DOE spokesman and a union official to press their respective sides of the issue, but the language in the article leaves little doubt that these 326 teachers languishing in the 2013 version of the rubber room are pervs, incompetents, malcontents and freaks and they should be fired... Perdido St. School
A WHOPPING $29 million. Did they check into the WHOPPING amount of money the DOE is spending to try to fire Francesco Portelos? Let's see, I counted up to 3 DOE lawyers, heard testimony there are at least 9 investigators on the case, Portelos spending over 500 days in the rubber room and getting paid while waiting for his hearing, the hiring of a sub to cover his class, etc. etc. And all along Portelos has been asking why he isn't teaching? 

But all they have to say is:
"We still have rubber rooms," said Francesco Portelos, an engineering teacher from Intermediate school 49 on Staten Island who has been reassigned away from the classroom for more than 17 months. "The only difference is we're not being corralled anymore." Portelos has spent his time sitting on his hands while continuing to draw his salary of $75,000 as he's investigated on a variety of charges, including misuse of school property. He even ran a live video stream of himself reading the newspaper in an empty conference room at a Queens district office until the city found out and gave him menial filing jobs. He says he's innocentand his exile is retaliatory.
Some of the most serious charges? He showed a teacher a some real estate on a DOE computer --- How many teachers use DOE computers -- and if not the computers but their own using DOE wifi to check web sites for personal use? 
Note how Chapman presents "misuse of school property," when he knows full well how bogus these charges are.

Wow. Is Portelos a perv? Was there a naked person in the window of the real estate property? or is he a teacher brutalizing children? Or a teacher not doing his job?

The DN could have attended some of the hearings and heard cross examination of DOE witnesses that shreds their case.
Yet if Portelos manages to get off he would be counted amongst the numbers the DOE are feeding to Chapman -- you know, the "Daily News has learned" -- yeah, learned from the Tweed attempt to bully the public into shredding the contract.

Sue Edelman at the NY Post did her weekend hit job (Abusive, violent teachers let off the hook) too without mentioning the Portelos case, which she has written about. I love this one:
But the DOE has a lackluster 38 percent batting average in firing teachers and administrators it does get to trial, records reviewed by The Post show. In 72 decisions issued so far this year, hearing officers found misconduct or incompetence in 68 cases, but agreed to fire just 28, the department said.
Does Sue call for the enormously expensive DOE Legal to be held accountable for this "failure" rate?  Maybe the investigators are inept and should be fired? Or just maybe they don't have good enough cases.

Remember: Chaz has also come under attack for not being fired and everyone who knows him says they would be proud to have him teach their kids.

One correspondent writes about some of the teachers named in the articles:
An english teacher who built the football program at auto. He would  do whatever he could to pull those kids into the fold of football because he felt that organized sports could turn an at-risk kid around.
A young teacher who has taken anti psycotics for most of his adult life. I've seen him on and off his meds and his story is probably 100% true. He's a pretty good guy and I'd feel just fine, tyvm, if he were my kid's gym teacher.
(Its just dumb luck that I knew these names)
Look, we could probably explain 80% of the named teachers and find one to back. But that would make little difference as they would just find more names. The real assult here is on tenure. Our colleagues are collateral damage on that assault.
Yes, DOE Legal is on a witch hunt to justify their continuing existence.

This piece displays some numbers that are very troubling to me. The amount of teachers who have been removed is known only by the office of labor relations..No one else. They're in Brooklyn. The number of completed cases is only known by Legal. They're in Manhattan. If any of your readers hold any doubt that this (whatever it is) is coordinated, then they are willfully ignorant (which the Greeks used to call "idiot"). 
And of course idiot Campbell Brown resurfaces with idiot no responses to important questions.
Brown:  The chancellor should have the power to fire these people ... with due process, so the teacher can appeal. For every other public employee, that's the case. Teachers are the only ones where the arbitrator has the final say.
Q: That is in their contract?
Brown: The union negotiated it in their contract.
Gee, I guess the DOE was not in the room when this was negotiated.

Q: The arbitrator is chosen by both the city and the union. Most of them are retired judges. How is it the union's fault when the arbitrators make the decisions?
These retired judges start getting paid $1,400 a day for an arbitration case. They go on a long time, and they're making a lot of money. 
 Hands off Tweed's responsibilities.

Q: Shouldn't teachers be allowed to defend themselves against false accusations?

Brown: The special investigator comes in and does a pretty thorough investigation. Only when [the investigator] has substantiated those charges will it go in for arbitration.

Again, Brown doesn't know or want to know that the teacher gets no defense UNTIL the arbitration hearing. And the investigators are on one sided witch hunts with no corresponding investigation on the part of the teacher.

I remember one case where the principal incited a parent to claim the teacher had pulled her kids shirt and left a scratch and call the police who came an took the teacher out in handcuffs -- and then the cops, once they got the teacher to the station (where she was till 1 AM) believed her and the chief officer went back to check that afternoon -- and they spent half the night trying to get the parent to drop the charges. I spoke to the lead PD detective and he told me these were clearly trumped up charges by the principal.

I asked the UFT to investigate and get a statement from the cop. Nada. So the so-called "thorough investigation" led to 3020a charges and the teacher was suspended for a year without pay. But the NYPD guy knew within minutes it was all bogus.

By the way -- Jeff Kaufman and James Eterno in their last days on the UFT Ex Bd in 2007 -- you know those guys that New Action said were "embarrassing" and that they never made wonderful resos like NA did, brought up a resolution calling for the hiring of paralegals to do independent investigations on the part of the teacher. Randi said "nada."

I am a WFAN's Mike Francese fan -- since practically the day he went on the air 25 years ago - even before Mike and the Maddog. He has been trashing DN sports over their AROD witch hunt with constant leaks and falsehoods. I guess witch hunting is modus operendi at the DN. I won't even grace the Post with branding it since it is below even the standards of the DN.

1 comment:

  1. The Daily News is biased and based upon my case Ben Chapman didn't fact check properly and they had to print a retraction (on page 16 not page 3). The 38% termination rate is higher than the 20% termination rate during the peak of the rubber room crisis. Check my May 3, 2009 post.

    I can only conclude that many of the more experienced Arbitrators who were critical of the DOE are no longer there and the new arbitrators have been exposed to the drumbeat of the education reformers and the Mayor to terminate bad teachers. Not good if you are in the 3020-a process.


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