I am a tenured teacher. Many people think that means that I can’t be fired. It really means that I can’t be fired on a Principal’s whim. The principal has to have a good reason (just cause), and has to be able to prove it before a judge. I get my day in court and legal representation, which I have paid for with my union dues.
I am guaranteed this right under New York Education Law Section 3020a.
This law states in part that the Principal’s “good reason” must be one or more of the following:
1. Pedagogical Incompetence
2. Physical or Mental Disability
3. Lack of Certification
4. Absence from Work
6. Corporal Punishment and Use of Excessive Physical Force
7. Improper Remarks, Physical Contact and Relationships with Students
8. Endangerment of Student Safety
9. Other Types of Charegeable Misconduct
These all seem like good reasons for the Principal to want to fire a teacher, right?
Since Mayor Bloomberg took control of the New York City Department of Education and appointed Joel Klein to be Chancellor, there has been a concerted effort to get rid of tenure and of tenured teachers. They have bent rules, broken rules, and have encouraged administrators to constantly crisscross the line between supervision and persecution. Principals have taken these rules and tried to find ways of making them apply to teachers they don’t like—against teachers who disagree with them--who blow the whistle on them—who are high on the salary scale—who have more seniority than a teacher the Principal likes better—etc. None of these reasons are just cause for firing a tenured teacher, so that’s when the Principal becomes a Persecutor instead of a Supervisor.
THEY ARE PLAYING DIRTY
1. A Supervisor collects both positive and negative evidence about a teacher. A Persecutor collects only negative evidence.
2. A Supervisor supports the teacher in helping children with problems. A Persecutor finds ways of using the childrens’ problems against the teacher.
3. A Supervisor maintains open lines of communication, and a healthy exchange of ideas with the teacher. A Persecutor twists a teacher’s words and actions in order to manufacture evidence.
4. A Supervisor maintains the difference in authority between children and adults in the school. A Persecutor gives the children power over targeted teachers.
5. A Supervisor models good moral and ethical behavior. A Persecutor lies, cheats, and steals; and encourages children and other adults to do the same with the purpose of bringing a teacher up on 3020a charges.
I have always referred to my Principal as Principal P. The P. just stood for principal. But now I think the P stands for Persecutor.