Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ravitch to Farina: Fire the Gotcha Squad; Supervisors Skate While Teachers Are Crucified

Chancellor Farina, it is time to fire the “gotcha” squad. It is time to replace Joel Klein’s legal team. It is time to clean house and install officials who share Mayor de Blasio’s vision and values... Unfortunately, the de Blasio administration has been slow to clean house. The Klein regime still controls large sectors of the education bureaucracy, including the infamous “gotcha” squad that is always on the alert for teacher misbehavior. True, the “gotcha” squad completely missed a high school teacher arrested for having sexual relations with several students at selective Brooklyn Technical High School, who is currently suspended with pay.Diane Ravitch, NYC Education Bureaucracy Gone Wild: The Suspension of a Hero Teacher
Diane picked up the same story from the NY Times' Jim Dwyer which we covered yesterday (Wipe out OSI and DOE Legal and Start Over - Let's Focus on Teachers Who Should not be Teaching).

This is the first instance I know of where the mainstream press focused on the abuses of OSI, SCI, or DOE Legal -- all a tandem, covered by so many bloggers, particularly Portelos -- I'll do a follow up with links to the work he's done.
An investigator with the Education Department’s Office of Special Investigations, Wei Liu, found that Ms. Fisher sent emails about the project during her workday at Public School 333, the Manhattan School for Children, and was thus guilty of “theft of services.”
Is there one employee of the DOE that has not sent emails during the workday since email was invented? They tried to pull the same crap at Portelos.
“By omitting essential context, the report wrongly suggested that Ms. Fisher was a rogue employee, acting alone and in her own self-interest.
This is crucial and something that becomes very clear when you attend 3020a hearings -- DOE Legal purposely removes context to try to get a guilty verdict - their measure of "success" in terms of justifying their jobs. They have zero interest in truth.
I heard a story from a teacher about an assistant principal who slapped a child in front of witnesses.  The AP was pulled from the school and disappeared from view for some time, only to resurface as an Assistant Principal in another school. That person is now a principal.

A teacher who did that would be taken out in cuffs.

How can we account for this double standard? We know Tweed protects principals unless they are caught with the knife in their hand with blood all over them - and even then.....

I have come to believe that the CSA (Principal's Union) does a lot of work behind the scenes to protect their people under all circumstances - like the PBA for cops. The UFT? Let then hang from the cross. (I'm reading a book on how Jesus the poor Jewish preacher became god so excuse the reference.)

Meanwhile Diane Ravitch has taken up the case of the teacher suspended for 30 days for assisting a student with a Kickstarter campaign.

“This is a story of an almost unfathomably mindless school bureaucracy at work: the crushing of an occupational therapist who had helped a young boy build a record of blazing success.
“The therapist, Deb Fisher, is now serving a suspension of 30 days without pay for official misconduct.
“Her crime?
“She raised money on Kickstarter for a program that she and the student, Aaron Philip, 13, created called This Ability Not Disability.

But the “gotcha” squad bagged a teacher who helped run a Kickstarter campaign for a student with cerebral palsy. This teacher was suspended without pay for 30 days for “theft of services,” having helped the campaign during school hours.
As Jim Dwyer, columnist for the New York Times reports:

“The school system has proved itself unable to dislodge failed or dangerous employees for years at a time.
“Ms. Fisher’s case seems to represent just the opposite: A person working to excel is being hammered by an investigative agency that began its hunt in search of cheating on tests and record-keeping irregularities. It found nothing of the sort. Instead, the investigation produced a misleading report, filled with holes, on the fund-raising effort.
“By omitting essential context, the report wrongly suggested that Ms. Fisher was a rogue employee, acting alone and in her own self-interest.
“In fact, the entire school, including the principal, was involved in the Kickstarter project, with regular email blasts counting down the fund-raising push. And the money was to be used not by Ms. Fisher, but by Aaron, who is writing a graphic book and making a short film about Tanda, a regular kid who is born with a pair of legs in a world where everybody else has a pair of wheels.
“Aaron has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to navigate the world. Ms. Fisher has worked with him since kindergarten.”


  1. If Farina and DeBlasio can't control the absurdity at SCI then nothing has changed despite Mulgrew's spin that Farina is the new and improved chancellor. Norm said it. Other have said it. I'm saying it-----new boss, same as the old boss. Mulgrew and Farina are full of crap if they let this OT hang for going above and beyond to help a student. And they are sending a clear message to all of us---Put your blinders on and move on auto pilot the moment you step into your school. No human decency or thinking outside the box allowed. Roseanne McCosh

  2. Will someone pick-up the fight of unfairly discontinued teachers, for goodness sake...We were fired and black listed for stupidness like reporting abuse of students, mismanagement of school funds, verbal and physical abuse of teachers and students by administrators and other teachers, putting in an IEP complaint, personality conflicts (the adults), rejecting sexual advances from administration (let's have a threesome)...Come on..All these great teachers removed from teaching and lives destroyed by power hungry, inept, dishonest, administrations....and who do they leave behind...freaking sicko dregs like the wannabe teacher from Brooklyn Tech...He probably smiled all the time, was a yes man to the administration and stayed under the radar to do his NASY business. About 3 years ago I worked with a teacher who was removed from Stuyvesant High School for sexual misconduct. He was investigated by OSI and everyone else and the charges were substantiated. He was given a fine, told to attend a sensitivity class and that he could never work in Stuyvesant High School or Manhattan again. So we got him in my school in Brooklyn. He smoked cigarettes in the staff bathroom, brought (what we later found out was crack) from a drug spot across the street from the school during his preps and lunch, pissed and jerked-off in water bottles in his classroom. What tipped us, the staff off, was a female student complained that he was rubbing his junk on her shoulder and arm every-time her class came in. Then other students came forward both boys and girls. So, alerted the AP who began to watch this teacher. He noticed the visits to the building across the street and the custodian complained about the smoking in the bathroom and the water bottle nastiness. Finally, the AP called downtown and did some inquiring. This teacher came to our school as an ATR. That's when someone quietly told him not only did this teacher have a substantiated sexual misconduct case with OSI, there was an open ACS case barring him from being alone with his two daughter because he sexually abused them. So of course my AP called school safety and had the guy removed from the building, immediately. Then he reported the urine and semen water bottle mix (there were 39 bottles), the smoking in the bathroom AND written statements from parents who lived in the building across the street, that he was buying and smoking crack in that building during the school day, then would come back to work. He would sweat profusely and blink rapidly...We joked that he was weird but we had no idea what was really going on. So you want to know what happened to that teacher...He NOW WORKS IN A NYC-DOE SCHOOL IN STATEN ISLAND.


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