March 28, 2009


If your file is getting filled up with distorted, incorrect, or even malicious reports about what you may have done, said, or ate for dinner last night, you won't find the union has any answers on how to get this drivel removed.

"Attach a response," they say. As if I'd spend one minute responding to a principal whose motives are impure in the first place and couldn't care less what I have to say. It's just laughable.

Of course, if you can identify a procedural violation, you have a chance at correcting the record. Then one of the "remedies" you'll be asking for is to have the LIF removed. But, apart from these anemic suggestions, the union is stumped.

So, imagine my surprise when I read this comment by an anonymous blogger on one of my earlier posts:
Any type of "letter in the file," whether it be an observation report, reprimand, or "findings after an investigation" letter may be appealed to the Commissioner of Education in Albany within thirty days of knowledge of the letter pursuant to Education Law §310.
I followed the link to Article 7 of the law and found pay dirt at no.7 below:
§ 310. Appeals or petitions to commissioner of education and other proceedings. Any party conceiving himself aggrieved may appeal by petition to the commissioner of education who is hereby authorized and required to examine and decide the same; and the commissioner of education may also institute such proceedings as are authorized under this article. The petition may be made in consequence of any action:
1. By any school district meeting.

2. By any district superintendent and other officers, in forming or altering, or refusing to form or alter, any school district, or in refusing to apportion any school moneys to any such district or part of a district.

3. By a county treasurer or other distributing agent in refusing to pay any such moneys to any such district.

4. By the trustees of any district in paying or refusing to pay any teacher, or in refusing to admit any scholar gratuitously into any school or on any other matter upon which they may or do officially act.

5. By any trustees of any school library concerning such library, or the books therein, or the use of such books.

6. By any district meeting in relation to the library or any other matter pertaining to the affairs of the district.

6-a. By a principal, teacher, owner or other person in charge of any school in denying a child admission to, or continued attendance at, such school for lack of proof of required immunizations in accordance with section twenty-one hundred sixty-four of the public health law.

7. By any other official act or decision of any officer, school authorities, or meetings concerning any other matter under this chapter, or any other act pertaining to common schools.

Am curious as all get out who Anonymous is, but chances are we'll not be finding out any time soon. In any case, he's treated me to a wonderful fantasy: an Ed Commissioner's desk piled high with an avalanche of petitions.

Why can't Weingarten help my fantasy life like Anonymous.

I guess there's no hope in that. She's never been able to figure out what turns career teachers on.


  1. Filing an appeal with the State might feel good (you make the City answer the petition) but don't forget you have a snowball's chance in hell prevailing and it costs $20 per petition. Remember any LIF that can be construed as "evaluative" not matter how inaccurate is ok with the Commissioner.

    Face it the loss of the grievance is catastrophic.

  2. Volume of petitions, not that any single one will get anywhere. State Commissioner is already bought and sold.

  3. Hello! My name is Emily Alpert and I'm a reporter with Voice of San Diego, an online newspaper in the San Diego area. I'm in New York City this week to learn everything I can about the changes in the New York teachers' contract that barred teachers from being placed if principals did not agree and led to the creation of the ATR pool. I'm working on a longer term project comparing how teacher placement works in New York and San Diego.

    I'd like to interview ATR or formerly ATR teachers such as yourself while I'm here. Please e-mail me as soon as possible if you are interested! My address is

    You can see my previous work at I appreciate any help you can offer, and hope to hear from you soon -- very soon!