March 8, 2009

March 13th: Be there!

Though I've temporarily suspended this blog during my involuntary career change to Bandleader, some things that catch my eye are worth repeating.

This is a comment Mr. Talk left on Chaz's blog about ageism in the Rubber Rooms:

"There should be real penalties for principals who abuse the RRs. And what ever happened to that age discrimination lawsuit that the UFT said they would pursue? The truth is, the RRs are a de facto early retirement system. If it isn't stopped, no one will reach 55/25 anyway."

To the first sentence about real penalties for wayward principals: Yes, and you can come to a RALLY
in support of a teacher working for one of these principals with a fetish for rubber rooms. Iris Blige runs the Fordham High School for the Arts and has arranged stints at the reassignment center for several unlucky educators over the years. She's not the only one of course, but the union is focusing in on her this coming Friday. Be there.

To the second sentence, where Mr. Talk asks what happened to the age discrimination suit the union got us all excited about (me too, I was part of it until they made me remove myself from all lawsuits against the DoE if I wanted the arbitration to go in my favor), the short answer is that the lawsuits were dropped.

Each case was different, but I'll tell you this from what happened with mine. We offered lots of documentation — licenses, online application data, letters of commendation, years of S ratings — all stuff relating to the application process for which I never received a single response. The DoE's answer to that was a point-by-point "explanation" of why none of those applications led to an interview — such things like the job didn't really exist, or the principal didn't look at the online requests or had someone else in mind anyway — but offered no documentation to back any of those explanations up. It was all commentary, with no legal standing that I could discern. The NYSUT lawyers were as troubled as I was about that, but guess what: I never heard from them again. If what happened in my case happened to others, it's obvious the union just backed down. Otherwise, why wouldn't they have demanded documentation to support all those whimsical explanations the DoE put out in lieu of a proper response? Proof positive that the system failed, and the unions collaborated.

As for the "truth" Mr. Talk alludes to in his final two sentences: Damn right. The RRs are a de facto early retirement system, and so is the burgeoning ATR situation, with all the closing schools and the ads they keep running for new teachers.
PS: Shame on you, Cynthia Nixon, for taking part in that campaign. Decimating the ranks of senior teachers and filling up the schools with trainees is not what I think you had in mind for your children or anyone else's. Before you offer your services, please think the whole thing through, or you just become part of the "PR"oblem.
Mr. Talk: It's not that no one will reach 55/25 anyway, it's that BloomKlein's COUNTING on no one staying in it that long.


  1. Woodlass thank you for writing about this topic.
    I am also a teacher that was part of the age discrimination lawsuit. I provided all the documentation (copies of my licences, the other teachers'licenses that were hired instead of me, etc)to the NYSUT lawyer.
    After a year of waiting for the answer, the NYSUT and the EEOC sent me a letter stating that I have failed to provide any direct evidence to support my charge of discrimination. I couldn't believe that a NYSUT lawyer and the EEOC could be so incompetent to find the truth.
    At the same time, I knew from the beginning that the UFT was just preting to put a PR lawsuit.

  2. This is very disappointing and with the union not accountable to their senior teachers, things are going from bad to worse.

    I still believe if the union took these Principals from hell to PERB, the DOE would take action against these Principals.