Tag Archives: 3020a hearing

The Joke of 3020a

As you know, I have been promoting a public 3020a hearing that began today. The principal will most likely testify today, so I encourage you all to show up to 49-51 Chambers Street at 10am if you can. Ask for the hearing being conducted by Joshua Javits.

My role as a potential witness precludes me from discussing the specifics of the case. I will just say that 3020a is a rotten process that is heavily biased against the teacher. Here is a brief video of former union lawyer Brain Glass on the 3020a process.

Betsy Combier of the New York City Rubber Room Reporter site has been saying this for years. I met Betsy for the first time yesterday. If you have not seen her website, take a look at the 3020a horror stories she describes. This is what “tenure” and “due process” has become in New York state. Imagine what it is like in these “right to work” states.

The process has become so biased that real courts of law are overturning more 3020a decisions than ever before. It happened in the case of Christine Rubino, whose case Betsy describes in her latest post:

Christine Rubino taught for 15 years and was, according to the Principal of her school, an “excellent” teacher. On June 23, 2010 Christine posted on her Facebook page to her 120 friends early in the morning that she felt terrible about a young girl drowning while on a trip with her class the previous day, as reported in the newspapers. Later that afternoon, she posted a comment that her kids were the “devil’s spawn”, which she took down a few days later, not thinking that anyone outside of her small circle of adult friends had seen it, and knowing that she did not treat her students abusively and that her comment was not reflective of her work, herself, or her feelings about her students.

A single arbitrator on the UFT-NYCDOE 3020-a Arbitration Panel, Randi Lowitt, terminated Ms. Rubino under what seems to be a “zero tolerance” mandate in NYC for tenured teachers, no matter how well or badly the tenured employee does in any classroom. Am I saying that arbitrators in NYC on the 3020-a panel chosen by, supposedly, NYSUT, the UFT and the DOE, are not “neutral” as required by statute and the rules of the American Arbitration Association?

Yes, I am.

Traditionally, courts of law are hesitant to overturn the decisions of independent labor arbitrators. They only do so when the decision of the arbitrator is “shocking to the conscience” of the court. What does it say about the process when so many cases are being overturned?

I can only hope my friend is able to get out of this process with her career. She has been through enough as it is and certainly does not deserve to lose her career over a joke. It would be “shocking to the conscience” if the worst were to happen.

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The Myth of Tenure: A Discussion with Education Lawyers

How most people view teacher tenure.

I came across this video a while ago about the 3020a process here in NYC. This is the process that a teacher accused of wrongdoing has to go through that decides whether or not they keep their license.

Among the members of this discussion is Betsy Combier who runs the NYC Rubber Room Reporter blog that can be found on my blogroll.

I found myself paying particular attention to Michael Mazzariello (Judge Mazz of Street Court), who was a former prosecutor for the old Board of Education.

This means he was the guy that went after teacher licenses. Not only that, he did his work back in those days when tenure supposedly meant a job for life. Listen to what this man says and how easy it was for him to remove incompetent teachers. He is rational and makes perfect sense in this discussion.

They all bring up interesting points about the pros and cons about the teacher termination process. Much has changed about 3020a since this discussion took place but it is still relevant.

Tenure means a guaranteed job? No. It means due process. While there were always problems with it, the answer is not to get rid of it.