One Reply to “Start The Séance”

  1. But what will constitute “supporting evidence” for termination under this model? I can’t imagine five consultants will be enough to handle the case load. The case itself is often suspect, because it might not include admissible evidence under the current UFT contract.

    Right now there’s little oversight to ensure schools follow UFT protocol. When my school administration threatened incompetence charges (I was an untenured first-year Teach for America corps member), my school union rep directed me to consult the UFT handbook myself and call the regional office, which never followed up. Three TFA teachers from my school were under similar investigation, all having passed multiple formal evaluations, for reasons never made clear to us nor to TFA. Two other new teachers were as well, as were five or six tenured teachers. (The school followed through in one tenure case–too much paperwork, an assistant principal said.)

    The cases against these teachers supposedly included phone transcripts and memos to which we were not allowed access (the UFT says teachers can request access to this documentation once charges are filed), rated “informal evaluations” (only pre-scheduled formal observations may be rated), narratives of off-the-record conversations conducted without union representation (regional disciplinary hearings require transcripts of on-the-record discussions, and sometimes supporting audio), not to mention unsubstantiated allegations from students known to have fabricated accusations against faculty in the past. If that’s what it takes to remove pre-screened TFA teachers, I can’t imagine the legwork such a school might pursue to remove an underperforming tenured teacher.

    While I understand the drive to remove poor performers, there needs to be a much harder look at how underperformance is assessed in the city–is it a measure of classroom management? student scores? professionalism?

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