Tuesday, January 20, 2009

TAGNYC Advice on 3020A

Teachers, Counselors and Other Affected UFT Personnel:

The Book:
Teachers on Trial: Values, Standards, & Equity in Judging Conduct & Competency

The Author:
James A. Gross. He is a member of the National Academy of Arbitration and is on the labor panels of the American Arbitration Association, The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the New York State Public Employment Relations Board. James A. Gross is a professor in the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University.

Copyright: 1988 ISBN 0-87546-142-5

The Bloomberg-Klein Administration is using the 3020a hearing as a way of removing teachers from their schools. Perhaps teachers will be returned to schools as ATRs after settlements or hearings. This also is part of the strategy because exits are being planned for the ATRs. An easy way to remove a teacher from his/her school is to charge incompetence. TAGNYC, along with every teacher, knows this. Randi Weingarten knows this. TAGNYC will speak out to expose this horrendous practice. The UFT will not. Also, OSI agents are complaining that principals are using OSI to remove teachers. If you fall in this category, demand charges immediately, demand to see incident reports, witness statements, and demand a hearing- and then demand an apology.

In 1988 Professor Gross issued an informed critique of arbitrators’ 3020-a decisions. What would he make of the way the 3020-a arbitrators are betraying their Code of Professional Ethics enabling Bloomberg-Klein to destroy teaching as a long term profession and to destroy tenure? `

TAGNYC on several occasions has advised strongly that you have a public hearing. You must ensure that your decision is available for review. You must request a public hearing. A private hearing keeps this aberration of justice alive and well.

Below is our Advice to 3020-a Participants. Remember that when you settle, you sign away your right to sue.

Once again, we ask “Randi, where art thou.”


Advice to 3020a Participants

1. Do not be in a hurry to retire or resign. Have your hearing.
2. Do not be in a hurry to settle. Have your hearing.
3. Demand a defense built on “disparate treatment”.*
4. Demand a public hearing. Do not be persuaded to have a private hearing.
5. Exercise your right to subpoena witnesses.
6. Demand a ‘bill of particulars’. **
7. Script your own defense-know what questions you want asked of both your witnesses and the DOE witnesses.
8. Bring every bit of documentation possible to your defense- lesson plans, students’ work, etc. Submit everything as evidence.
9. Demand that the arbitrator apply the criteria of “credibility” to your case.***
10. Demand a definition of incompetence:
a. 3020a law and Klein define incompetence as being unable or unwilling to do your job
11. Demand a definition of “your job” from the DOE and from the arbitrator.
12. Demand a definition of ‘unable and “unwilling”.
13. Demand credible evidence of being “unable and unwilling”.
14. Demand that incompetence be proven.
15. Get in writing the rational for any fine that is levied or offered as a settlement.
16. Remember- defend on disparate treatment, disparate treatment, disparate treatment.

*disparate treatment-

EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES WHICH ARE APPLIED OR ADMINISTERED IN A DISCRIMINATORY MANNER. Although historically the term is used to denote unequal treatment based on race, religion, gender, etc., 3020a participants can use it to defend against their unequal treatment-: Did the principal hold the 3020a person to a standard (employment practices) to which other teachers were not held and which standard resulted in awarding u-ratings in an ‘unequal’ fashion? Yes, the UFT should have been monitoring if one of their members was receiving unequal treatment. That is what a labor union does. It is not a question of going after its own members. It is the principle that all members be treated equally.
**bill of particulars- A written statement that is submitted by a plaintiff at the request of a defendant, giving the defendant detailed information concerning the claims or charges made against him or her.

***credibility- Who do you believe? On what basis does the arbitrator believe the DOE’s assertion of incompetence over the documented career of the accused teacher?

DO NOT EXPECT the DOE to provide anything you request. The DOE refuses to respond to lawyers’ requests for information in the 3020a hearings. Ask for the information anyway. Build a case. DO EXPECT AND DEMAND that arbitrators’ judgments and rulings reflect adherence to their Code of Professional Ethics.

Where Can You Get It?
Amazon.com or ILR Press
Cornell University,
Ithaca, NY 14851-0952

Why should you read it?
Because here we have a very eminent arbitrator concluding at the end of his book:

“This analysis of 3020-a decisions shows, for example, that without empirical evidence concerning the effect of different teaching styles on students’ learning, decisions have been made on the basis of personal opinion, personal moral views, unsubstantiated assumptions, and parental and community pressure.” pg. 108

“This study has demonstrated that decision makers’ conceptions of the way things ought to be and beliefs about the way things presumably are –unchecked and unverified by empirical evidence about the way things actually are- often lead to unjust decisions about teachers’ conduct and performance.... pg. 110 (italics added)

Serious allegations that put you into a Reassignment Center today include “holding a diet coke while in the hall” “yelling at a student”, “sitting down while teaching”, “wrongful laughter”, "using teacher driven board notes." AND THE ARBITRATORS WILL DESTROY YOUR CAREER AND REPUTATION ON THE BASIS OF THESE CHARGES.

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