Monday, August 14, 2017

Another Day, Another UFT Member Takes the Fall for a Principal

That's what this story in yesterday's Post suggests. This time it's not a teacher but rather a guidance counselor. After all, we're all UFT members, so why not share the fun?

Now that's not to say that there are no consequences for principals. Principal Santiago Taveras was found to have changed grades and course codes for a bunch of students. You see, for Taveras, it was a matter of honor. He boldly stepped down from his cushy deputy chancellor gig to take that principal job and show the world that Bloomberg's former flunkies could do anything. When screaming and shouting didn't get the test grades he needed, well, he had to do something.

As for consequences, well of course there are consequences. When real things happen, when they are proven, principals in NYC have to face consequences. For Taveras, it meant yet another demotion. Not only that, but his $198K salary was reduced to $150K. That's some tough love from no-nonsense Chancellor Carmen "It's a Beautiful Day" Fariña. I mean, how's an important guy like Taveras supposed to get by on only 150K a year? He must think about that each and every moment in his new gig as "educational administrator" doing Whatever the Hell That Is.

As for guidance counselors, well, they don't get treated any better than teachers. This one was fined $7,500,  and I presume made an ATR. After all, you can't have counselors who change grades to make things look better. That would be a disgrace. Actually, though, the counselor says she didn't do it. The counselor says she declined to make the change on the last day of school. Not only that, but check this out:

Taveras’ signature — not Hunter’s — was on a grade-change form, 55 to 65, and there was no paper trail on another change from “no show” to 55, according to testimony. Without paperwork, only a principal can change a grade and enter it into the system, a veteran clerk explained.

Well, that's one guilty guidance counselor. At least that's what another $1600 a day arbitrator decided. Never mind the clear evidence she didn't even do it. And what about the fact that Taveras had already been found guilty of this very behavior? What about the fact that he'd been removed from his job for it?

The arbitrator, in his infinite and well-compensated wisdom, deemed that irrelevant. The important thing was--well I have no idea what the important thing was. I have no idea why this counselor was made to pay $7500, or what she did wrong. My best guess is insubordination. When your principal says to cheat, well, you'd better get to cheating. Otherwise, be prepared to wander from school to school.

And you'd better hope the DOE hasn't got another top-secret file on you, that you used your cell phone in the school building, or that you turned off the lights when you showed a video. Those are career-ending offenses these days. Anyway, who knows what else this counselor may have done? Maybe she took 46 minutes for lunch instead of 45. Maybe she chewed gum in the school building. Maybe she didn't use enough soap when she washed her hands. It could be anything, really.

I guess this is yet another story Campbell Brown won't be spreading all over the media. After all, now she's got a gig for Facebook doing something or other. I mean, she's qualified. She has a Face, and for all I know she's read a Book. Given a story like this, on the heels of a similar one just days ago, it appears to me that due process is a thing we can not be negotiating or legislating away.

Now I don't know everything about these cases. But I've got firsthand experience with arbitrators make questionable decisions. It appears to me, far from going out of their way to defend incompetent UFT members, they seem to be accommodating the wishes of crooked administrators to blame us.

Maybe UFT members aren't the only ones in need of PD.

Thanks to Bronx ATR
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