Tuesday, October 31, 2017

UFT Leadership: Abusive Principals, Observations and Accountability for You, None for Us

 -- let's have UFT members observe the work of every special and district rep 4 times a year and write them up for public consumption.
Unity to we earthlings: Don't hold us accountable for our failure to reign in abusive principals running rampant -- we are working behind the scenes. But it's crucial that teachers be held accountable by these same slugs. So data proves the more observations the better off you are. The UFT leadership are like those baseball Sabermetrics people -- ignore the people and go with the stats.

A debate broke out at the Ex Bd meeting last night over teacher evaluations. And abusive principals. Let's try to tie that knot together because there is a connection, no matter how much the leadership wants to run away from it.

The debate was over the reso presented by MORE/NA calling for two observations like the rest of the state. It was a rich debate with Unity taking the same line as expected -- that MORE observations are better. When it was pointed out that so many principals are biased or abusive and threatening, the response was a so what --- this is bigger than that.

No it isn't --- if you guys can't make sure we have decent principals the house of cards falls. And when we call on your guys to be transparent in what you are doing to control these principals we got the equivalent of "we don't have to share that info." And when we name names of union people who do dumb things or screw people over they Unity leadership locks hands and defends even the worst of them.

One union leader told me -- we don't believe teachers should be left alone -- they need to be observed and counseled and supported. But there are so many principals who are clueless educators -- no matter.

I get it --- the UFT position is that teachers MUST be monitored and held accountable but union officials who shove bad policy or tell ATRs they are lucky to have a job do not have to be held accountable.

I have an idea -- let's have UFT members observe the work of every special and district rep 4 times a year and write them up for public consumption.

I never thought I'd say this but the UFT Ex Bd meetings are the most interesting thing going on in the union. That is due to the partnership between the 2 New Action and 4 MORE reps (the 5th has only shown up for 2 meetings -- that story another time). They hold an open meeting in the back of the lobby an hour before the meetings begin -- they coordinate with the rank and file who have called in for speaking time -- and then coordinate their questions and resolutions with them. That hour, which last night included 3 teachers working under an abusive principal at Tottenville HS in Staten Island, is the most productive and democratic hour you can spend in the UFT - and I include MORE meetings.

Arthur has a fascinating report on last night's Ex Bd meeting which I'm sure he will parse in a follow-up --- and I will do a follow-up on his follow-up in a day or two:

Exec. Board Oct. 30--Observations Now, Observations Forever, the More the Merrier. If You Have a Question for Leadership, Look Up the Answer in Chalkbeat.


Here are the notes Arthur took on the over 3 year reign of terror of principal Joseph Scarmato --- we'll have more on this slug. When we called on UFT accountability they listed all the visits they made to the school but wouldn't share if there were positive outcomes. One UFT official told me -- there are 2 sides to every story-- which is astounding given the current chapter leader has been removed from the school and cannot even hold a union meeting. Translation -- we don't really like the chapter leader.
Penny Tuzio, retired, Tottenville HS—intolerable situation by principal JOSEPH SCARMATO. Have written multiple letters. Principal is vindictive. Used to be desirable school. Many teachers left, bullied persecuted. AP SS took mysterious leave for nervous breakdown. At least 5 lawsuits against him. People hired as personal favors do nothing. AP science out of building three days a week, has fake class as do others. Forces new teachers to email him messages of support. Forbids AP s to be friends with teachers. Most senior AP forbidden to observe without henchman of principal. Gives orders to teachers via email at all times. Abuses students. Parents afraid but can’t complain for vindictive nature. Impossible to fail students because test scores count only 25%. Said he admires Hitler for organization. Everyone scared to death. Made staff cry. I implore you investigate.

John McCabe, Tottenville HS—SS teacher, 19 years, never had to deal with principal so abusive. Wanted to change Tottenville. Has five year plan. Now year 4. Goes after teachers w 15 years or more. Observations done in pairs, w discussion. Discrepancies resolved by principal, even if not in class. Colleague observed, three days later went on Advance, all Effective. Four days later, official copy was completely different, replaced by Developing. Principal asked AP to do it. Teacher well respected. Many of us are outspoken and we are targeted. We are hit with trumped up 3020a charges. Numerous individuals retire or transfer, we think targeted at behest of principal. No HE ratings, even if teachers are. Recently in paper for plagiarism. He has to go, one way or another. How can union help us? Some of us have taken major brunt.

Jessica Peterson, Chapter Leader, Tottenville HS—Reassigned. Quotes Shakespeare about retaliation. Says prior to principal, few grievances were filed. Now, principal steadily declines in reviews. DOE refuses to hold him accountable. He slut shamed females, was in paper. Now targets seasoned vets over 40, mostly women. Has targeted other delegates and CL. I have been targeted and abused. I am wrongfully reassigned Paying for multiple lawyers. Filed PERB complaint. Waiting for right to sue letter.

Our school has been reported multiple times for failure to follow, have complained to various agencies, have not received assistance. My offense is being excellent CL and winning often. Principal was removed from last school and was rewarded. Plagiarism is academic dishonesty, a misdemeanor. Improper LIFs. Many arbitrations and settlements. Paperwork complaints, improper evaluations, many TIPS. Over 60 people have left. Teachers usually don’t leave. School used to be mirthful, now us v them, a war zone. Asks UFT helps get rid of disease.


  1. Union representatives, when told about the horrific treatment of members WHO PAY THEIR SALARIES AND HAVE A LEGAL RIGHT TO REPRESENTATION, counter by saying "There's two sides to every story?"

    That's beyond the beyonds, and is further proof that the UFT is a company union, an appendage of HR, whose perception is that they are co-managers (very junior status, needless to say) of the system.

    Teachers don't deserve what they're in for, post Janus, but these people deserve the back of the hand the rank and file will show them.

  2. I just don't get it.

    An effective campaign against abusive principals would be a no-brainer/win-win for a union that's about to lose 25% of its membership because of the Janus case. If teachers saw the UFT publicly and effectively fighting even a handful of abusive principals they might be inspired to pay dues to an organization that does something like that.

    This goes to the very heart of the accountability and transparency issues with the UFT that keep me a dues-paying member of MORE.

    I admit that I'm getting a wee bit more cynical as I get older but this can only be the result of a network of "secret treaties" with DeBlasio/Tweed, Cuomo and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators to trade the quid of acquiescence in the reformista "school accountability" stupidity in return for some quo that only the officers of the UFT give a freak about.

    1. Harris,

      Where did you get the 25% figure?

      Abigail Shure


Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating). Or because your comment is irrelevant or idiotic.