I’m going to throw out a couple of things that have happened to me in the past two weeks and you can draw your own conclusions.
Human Resources sends me on an interview to a school with a music vacancy. On the street, it's known as the HS of Witchcraft, and I have ties to this school, actually. I was the only non-core teacher when it was founded several years ago, and under normal circumstances, for me to return to the job that I was harassed out of might have turned out not to be a bad thing. They had gone through two principals since then. I’d be seeing the third, reputably worse than the second, whom the students had walked out on in protest and the DoE had to replace (or he left on his own, who knows).
Given that the interview was set up by HR, you’d have expected the man to have at least been there to receive me. But, no. He was neither late or called away on an emergency, just inexplicably not present and determinedly unreachable on his cell. So, I sat around for an hour talking with my teacher buddies and a few kids I knew, and after making copies of my resume and sample letters of commendation to leave for him, I wended my way back to my day job, ATR subbing.
I did email HR, though, to tell them I was stood up, adding: “Unless something very untoward happened to him, I find this inconsiderate and strange.” That was October 27th, and not a word from anyone since.
A week or so later, I ran into one of my APs at one of my former schools, the one in which I had built a very large chorus over many years with quite a respectable reputation. He said: What a coincidence, he had just been thinking of me, there was a school that needed a general music teacher immediately, fax him my resume and he'd shoot it over to the principal. I did, and the next day and an administrator from the school called to ask me in for an interview. Since the DoE was not sending me on this one, I told them I’d have to come after school, and an appointment was set up for two days later. The AP told me the principal had received my resume and wanted to see me.
Before leaving the building for the interview, I checked the two messages on my voicemail. Both said: “Don’t come in. The position has been filled.”
A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity sit down with my current principal for a long talk. That's the one who excessed me in 2007 and under whom I continue to serve as per diem sub, using none of my most important talents or skills. I’m not going to report the details of this conversation for obvious reasons, but let’s say I got the feeling that as a person I was liked, and as a teacher, respected.
Something Principal said caught my attention, though. Paraphrased, it went: I don't understand. You go on all these interviews and you're still here.
Really, I go on interviews? I said. I’ve applied to 21 schools and haven’t been contacted by a single one. Zilch, nada, nunca. What are you talking about?
Principal did not need any reminding about the only time (more than a year ago) that HR tried to place me in another school. Nice interview, but wasn’t offered the job when they heard I was at Step II over my excessing. (Rightly so, in my opinion. Why destabilize the kids at two schools when the situation was in flux.) Then I reported on the two non-interviews of the past two weeks and asked where this idea came from that I was going on all kinds of interviews and not being placed.
Principal reiterated something mentioned before, that when I was hired, word was going around NOT to take me in: “Everyone told me not to hire you.”
I don’t know who the “everyone” is, but my top three guesses have always been other principals (against whom I've gone up against as chapter leader), the region, and the Witchcraft's partner, New Visions. But at 5:30 this morning, I woke up with the feeling there's been a fourth possibility all along:
Joel Klein has a healthy and current Don’t Place list.Because facts are facts: A highly qualified candidate with a successful, long career gets no response to job applications over a long period time; a couple of interviews get set up but are scuttled before they happen, and there's no explanation or follow-up.
So, my questions for Randi Weingarten, if she's listening, are:
Have you ruled out a DoE blacklist, official or otherwise, and what evidence is there that there isn’t one?
And to our local reporters:
Though Klein is not forcing any principal to absorb veteran salaries into their budgets, doesn't it occur to anyone that 1400 unplaced teachers may be the result, in part, of something way more sinister and way more specific than general financial considerations?
If this thought piques your interest, call me for more details.