Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UFT and DOE Indifference to Gotcha Culture at OSI Lead to Investigator Lies and Distortions in Debra Fisher Case

A crime was committed so let's call it what it is. Today's NY Times had a story by Jim Dywer on the OSI fatally flawed investigation and 30 day suspension of Debra Fischer we reported (Corrupt DOE's OSI Exposed) based on the work of Leonie Haimson who pointed the arrow of blame directly at Farina:  

"For years, people have complained about the unfair and biased work of OSI as regards the incompetent or corrupt Contracts and Legal staff. Yet Carmen Farina has kept all the same people in charge of these offices – severely undermining the reputation of the DOE as a whole."
From the principal on the front line, to Chancellor Fariña, to the United Federation of Teachers, every person in authority who had a chance to stop a reckless process either rubber-stamped false charges, or waved them on without vigorous objection...NY Times
I'm so glad Dwyer included the UFT in his list of faulty groups. If any organization should have stepped in to "stop this reckless process" and not "rubber-stamped false charges, or waved them on without vigorous objection" it should be the UFT. But we all know they don't and they won't.
The investigator’s report was jammed with mistakes, omitted context — for instance, you would never have known from the report that the school principal had directly approved the fund-raising and other worthy activities of Ms. Fisher — and twisted statements made by people at the museum to create an illusion of conflict in entirely innocent circumstances. In fact, parents had nothing to do with Ms. Fisher’s hiring there. Still, a report that was untrue in every significant detail led to her suspension. 
Any word on what happened to the investigator or any of the other investigators who have lied and distorted and taken things out of context? Do you think they are suspended or fired? In fact this is not an anomaly but embedded in the very culture of OSI which must feed the massive DOE legal team monster. It's about jobs - their jobs -- stupid -- and if teachers must be chopped to feed that monster, so be it.
On Monday, the city’s Department of Investigation said those findings were factually wrong and the result of unprofessional work, and recommended wholesale changes to the branch of the Education Department that allowed such shoddy work to be issued. The new report noted that the person who conducted the investigation had no meaningful supervision, and had even recommended that Ms. Fisher be fired. Most egregious, the student writing the book said the investigator pressed him not to be protective of Ms. Fisher and told him not to speak with his father about the interview.
“The findings of an investigation which recommends the termination of someone’s employment should be subjected to an oversight and review process that includes more than checking for grammar and punctuation,” said the new report, which was written by Regina A. Loughran, who works in the office of Richard J. Condon, a special commissioner with authority over the Education Department.
What a load of bullshit - as if Farina is  shocked, just shocked - when in fact we have video after video of people getting up at PEPs to tell her what OSI is doing -- though we did note attempts to muzzle people who wanted to tell their stories publicly as being "personnel" issues not subject to public comment. Farina is and has always been a cog in the gotcha culture.
What of Ms. Fisher, who was summarily ordered out of her school for 30 days — without a word of explanation to the students she worked with — and lost her pay and health insurance for that period?
“The suspension of Debra Fisher is under review,” Ms. Kaye said.
As well it should be.
WTF - under review? They need time to review? A real union would be out there screaming for immediate justice and a revamping of DOE legal which controls OSI - in name or behind the scenes. Debra Fisher is owed a lot more than restitution of lost pay - and I hope she sues everyone's ass off.

As for Farina's pals at the UFT, double bullshit.


Major Flaws Found in Inquiry That Led to Suspension of Public-School Therapist

For sheer bureaucratic folly, it would be hard to top the suspension last year of a devoted occupational therapist in the public school system who showed children in wheelchairs how to get places.
The therapist, Debra Fisher, created an art therapy program for disabled children....  But last year, Ms. Fisher was suspended for 30 days without pay, charged with “theft of services” and conflict of interest.
What did the “theft” involve? Supposedly sending fund-raising emails on school time to help the boy raise money for his book. And the conflict of interest? Ms. Fisher had a weekend job at the Children’s Museum of the Arts, guiding its staff members on how children with limited use of their arms or legs could take part in museum art projects. As it happened, some families from her school were also involved with the museum, and an investigator with a disciplinary arm of New York City’s Department of Education concluded that they must have put in the fix for Ms. Fisher to be hired there.
Yet the suspension of Ms. Fisher was not simply the work of one obsessive Javert, or one broken arm of the bureaucracy. “I took the mandate of Chancellor Carmen Fariña to heart — to put the needs of the children first,” Ms. Fisher said on Monday. “Somewhere along the way, I was sure that people’s better angels would prevail. But no one said this person is trying her best, and has no infractions.”

What does the Education Department make of this new narrative?
It is overhauling the division and procedures that produced the flawed charges against Ms. Fisher, according to Devora Kaye, the department’s spokeswoman.

“This was a thoroughly botched investigation by a thoroughly dysfunctional system that resulted in a miscarriage of justice,” said Joel Kurtzberg, a former teacher who is now a partner in the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel. He represented Ms. Fisher in a court case to overturn the suspension. “We’re hoping the city will react appropriately.”


  1. Am I the only one who sees this differently? Here is the deal: OSI and SCI are two different entities who compete with each other to make the most "busts" of school teachers. The fact is that SCI are comprised of ex NYPD detectives. OSI are just internal DOE investigators who could be any schmuck off the street to land the job. SCI wants OSI gone so OSI can get all the cases that require investigations. In this case SCI is making a big stink to show how incompotent OSI is. If SCI can put the squeeze on OSI maybe the city will break up the unit and the only investigators will be the more "qualified" SCI.

  2. Lets not forget the most infamous OSI Checkist of all... none other than disgraced rogue cop Louis Scarcella. How many innocent teachers had their careers ruined by that criminal sociopath?


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