Monday, July 31, 2017

It's C-30 Day!

Imagine a supervisor who, one year, has a teacher who has an A-fib episode every time he sees him. Imagine, the following year, that another teacher in this department has a massive coronary right out in the hall. Imagine, the year after that, another teacher in the same department actually dies in service, quite prematurely.

Let's further imagine that the teacher who died told the chapter leader the supervisor advised him to get a .8 comp-time gig, a gig which did not exist. This was so he could teach only one class and therefore be rated S or U.  If that didn't happen, the supervisor said he was going to have to rate him ineffective. Imagine that it tortured the teacher to his dying day.

Now imagine another supervisor who was a lowly teacher when you became chapter leader. And imagine you added this person's department to your email list, as a result of another member collecting the addresses. Imagine this person, after your first staff email, approaches you.

"Where did you get my private email address?" she asks.

"Ms. S. gave it to me," you answer.

"I feel like I was raped!" she says.

"Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry," you say. "I'll take you off the list right away."

"No, that's OK," she says. "You can leave me on."

Imagine the relationship you'd have with people like that. Imagine that you had to deal with them each and every day. Imagine you got daily complaints from members about what they did, much of which was on par with what was related above.  Imagine they use Danielson like a sledge hammer to intimidate rather than support staff. How on earth do people like that get jobs?

In a completely unrelated matter, today I have a double-the-fun C-30 for two supervisors in my building. And yes, that is how administrators are chosen in Fun City. One is for a social studies assistant principal, and another is for a special education assistant principal. It's important that members of our school community get a voice in how that happens.

The voice is sorely limited, though. For example, I have no idea who the candidates will be, nor was UFT consulted in any way. I can only assume that our PTA was not consulted either. It's a fairly good assumption that neither students nor DC 37 got a say either. Now this is not to suggest anything bad about the candidates. For all I know, they are the best candidates on earth. On the other hand, they could just as easily be the worst. In that case, after a selection, there would be little recourse for the school community, unless they took the extraordinary step of organizing like CPE 1 did.

Here's the other thing--whether the candidates are good, bad or indifferent, our choices amount to recommendations. We can rate candidate A at 100%, and candidate D at zero, and the principal can still select candidate D. Who knows why? You don't actually get to find out. You give your feedback, but once the decision is made you get no rationale, no nothing.

At the C-30, you sign a document stating that you will not discuss the particulars of the meeting anywhere. So I won't be blogging it. But it's gonna be a long night for me and everyone there. This is not the most fun thing I do, and one reason is because I've reflected on the actual voice we have in this process--very little, as far as I can tell.

How seriously do principals take committee recommendations? Not only will we never know, but we're also sworn to never even discuss it. So as far is we know, this may be the best thing we ever did, or the worst. You never know exactly who is gonna go nuts once there's a little power on the table. And even if you actually know the people, you could sit there knowing they are completely nuts when all you can do is ask the same question you asked everyone else. You're not supposed to talk about the times you've seen them abusive to teachers or students, or indeed any personal experiences.

So you leave your experience at the door and the APs in position. Until the next C-30, of course, when they're up for principal.
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