Saturday, November 24, 2018

School Scope: Schools Threaten Parents with ACS; UFT OT/PT Turn Down Contract

Thanks to Leonie Haimson for posting this info.
Published in The WAVE Nov. 23, 2018.
There are 2 Eva schools in Rockaway.

School Scope: Schools Threaten Parents with ACS; UFT OT/PT Turn Down Contract
By Norm Scott

School employees have been charged as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect but in some cases there has been abuse of the process itself. Some NYC principals have been known to call, or threaten to call, Administration for Children’s Services, New York City’s child welfare agency (ACS) on parents who might be deemed “politically difficult” and not because the children are being mistreated, says a recent Hechinger report.

Such a call charging the parent with neglect could lead to serious repercussions, including the ultimate outcome of children being removed from the home. Such threats are used against outspoken parents.

Some charter schools have used this tactic to force parents to remove unwanted children who might bring charter inflated test scores down. Eva (Evil) Moskowitz’ Success Academy, the largest network in the city with almost 50 schools, has been one of the most egregious, frequently calling ACS to encourage parents to take their children, often with disabilities, out of the school. This has led to a number of legal and civil complaints against the charter network. A law suit against Success was allowed to proceed when the judge said “allegations that school employees called police or child protective services on 4- and 5-year olds, would, if true, help to demonstrate enough ‘bad faith or gross misjudgment’ to sustain the discrimination claims. Calling ACS is one of the tools in their repertoire to make the parents comply,” said Irene Mendez, a staff attorney with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, one of several groups that filed the suit.”

The report points out that “school workers may sometimes be overzealous, calling in allegations over relatively minor issues such as broken eyeglasses, inappropriate clothing or small scratches…. disproportionately affect[ing] low-income families of color, who tend to live in neighborhoods and attend schools that have bigger police and social services presences and whose children are more likely to show markings of poverty that can be confused with neglect.” Racial bias often plays a role when people of different cultures are the ones making the judgment.

There are Success Academy schools in Rockaway and if any parents experience similar pressures (in any schools), please contact me and I will put you in touch with the lawyers handling such cases.

UFT Contract: Occupational/physical therapists say NO by 66%
While 87% of all UFT members voted YES, livid OT/PT members are demanding a renegotiation. Some WAVE readers have been in touch and have explained why they are so unhappy and I have been publishing the comments on my blog.  A WAVE reader: “Most OT and PT’s work two jobs because our salary is so far below speech and teachers. Most of us had NPI numbers because of our second job in early intervention. It was not a requirement for our work in the DOE as therapists. About 3 years ago the DOE sent in Medicaid doctors because they were able to bill Medicaid for our services. At that time, speech was also required to meet with the doctors. We were told in no uncertain terms that we had to hand over our NPI numbers to the DOE so they could bill. The UFT told us we had no choice and had to turn over our numbers. Speech therapists, on the other hand, were told NOT to hand over their numbers by their union rep. It’s been an ongoing battle with the union as to why were required to turn over the one bargaining chip we had.... our NPI numbers without receiving a dime. Yet, speech therapists were given another $5,000 yearly outside of a contract. That further increased the disparity in our pay. The union claims that OT and PT receive more than their counterparts in city hospitals, which is not true.”

I’m beyond my word count. More next time. Happy Thanksgiving.

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