Thursday, July 3, 2014

How the UFT Sits By and Watches Discontinued Teachers Go Down

Plainly, the UFT basically doesn't give a shit when teachers lose their jobs.
With the new tone between the UFT and Farina, why won't UFT Officials pick up a phone and save a teacher's career? One of the major reasons for the weakness of the union at the school chapter level is the unlimited power principals have to blackball probationary teachers from the system for life -- in addition to all the other powers principals have, powers the UFT refuses to take a stand against -- possibly because of their "partnership" with the supervisors union, the CSA. (Their leader Ernie Logan should be held accountable for the actions of his members.) But really, does the UFT leadership really care if the union at the school level disintegrates as long as they get theirs?

I often get calls from the Discontinued - non-tenured who have been let go by their principals resulting in a lifting of their teaching license and a blackball from the system pretty much forever (if they have another license they might get back in on that.) [No time now but search this blog for The Dreaded D or other articles on this issue over many years.].

Think of it -- some of these people are teaching for a few years. Others for a few months. BOOM! You're out. What kind of human being would do that to a fairly new teacher? - Unless that teacher was deemed so incompetent the children were in danger. My investigations have found no instances of that. Instead, in every case the problem were principals so vicious they do not deserve to run a school.

In some cases these teachers find another principal who is willing to give them another chance but when they check the system they find they can't even hire them because the actions of another principal have prevented them from doing so. Pure vindictiveness.

Meanwhile the UFT/Unity leadership just skates by when they are as responsible for the Dreaded D situation as the perpetrators. You know what advice the UFT often gives these people? Resign. Portelos at DTOE counters that advice: Probationary/Untenured Teachers Threatened with Discontinuance DO NOT RESIGN. THEY’RE BLUFFING!

The UFT could have done something about the process of allowing principals unfettered power over probationary teachers (which severely weakens the school union chapter) in the new contract but did nothing other than tweak the process a bit.

Recently a case came across that reinforces my low opinion of the people running the union from top to bottom. A teacher with a Discontinue can appeal to the Superintendent and until that ruling takes place no one will hire that teachers. Everyone knows this appeal is a farce and that superintendents always rubber stamp the principal. But the poor teacher, desperately clinging to hope, hangs on pinning some hopes that this time it might be different.

Then, after they lose the appeal to the superintendent that are told by the union they could appeal but it might take months or even a year - also with dim prospects.

So the teacher is effectively silenced hoping without hope - unless you are a Lydia Howlrika who has teamed up with Portelos at DTOE (what a dynamic duo they are).

What the UFT won't do is put any political capital on the game by fighting for these teachers as if their very lives dependent on it -- ie - put some skin in the game. For instance - a back door call to Farina when known bully principals engage in these extortion plots to undermine the union at the school level. But the UFT/Unity Caucus leadership is perfectly comfortable with the way things are. They get access to get what they want. And what they want does not include standing up for teachers.

I haven't dealt with the royal screwing the UFT is giving Portelos because he can take care of himself. But check out how the UFT is comfortable with his removal as chapter leader - illegally, thus leaving the IS 49SI chapter defenseless against incompetent principal Linda Hill. (Behind the scenes DOE people will flat out say she is incompetent.) I'm trying to find a Portelos posting about his new "job" offer and why he turned it down. When I get the details together, this will be another grand slam against our union leaders.

Read all the stuff we are posting and you will see that calling them Vichy may be too kind to them.


  1. This comment could be part of the John Dewey HS blog as well but I would like to point out to the Union that what you say here is true and there are teachers at Dewey who've been victimized by a vicious principal. This is a message for her most recent victim who came to Dewey in the Spring semester:. We know you are a fine teacher. We know the students like you, that you get a firm grip on them, that they will pass regents because of your grit and determination. You are so talented and it's obvious. It is truly the students' loss if you don't come back to Dewey in September. During a PD on Brooklyn Queens Day, many of us learned that you have given of yourself in military service to this country. Thank-you for your service. Thank-you many times over. You are an amazing role model for many young people. I was hoping you would stay but Elvin has made things so ugly as she has many times before. I'm so sorry for this. Please know that you are admired and respected. I hope someone will point you in the direction of this blog.

  2. I am also a discontinued teacher reaped the harassment of my former principal. (Norm, I spoke with you about my situation).

    Now with the pre-k expansion hiring, I have been sending out resumes to PS and CBO's for hiring. I am very skeptical though because of my past experience and started applying out of NYC to the other big 4 cities in NYS, where I have no past.



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