"NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS"

A HIDDEN SCANDAL of National PROPORTIONS:
by Susan Lee Schwartz
Educator of Excellence 1998; The New York State Council of English Teachers (NYSEC)
Who's Who Among America’s Teachers ('94,'98, 2000)

WHY ARE THE FINEST TEACHERS MISSING FROM OUR SCHOOLS?  WHY HAS SUCH AN  IMPORTANT SEGMENT OF OUR POPULATION BEEN STRIPPED OF THEIR RIGHT TO THE RULE OF LAW, RESULTING IN a   CRUMBLING EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM often BEREFT OF TALENT and MENTORS? 


Teachers are the target, as education is now a business, and the reward is not the education of the kids, but the profits gained by ‘cleansing’ the system of tenured teachers, and preventing new teachers from gaining tenure. The bottom line in not enriching the schools so learning can occur, but the enrichment of the administration at the top, and the profits of businesses which thrive on the faiure of the public education system.

THROWN INTO DETENTION CENTERS,  WITH NO RIGHTS TO DEFEND THEMSELVES OR  TO HEAR THE CHARGES AGAINST THEM, OUR DEDICATED TEACHERS HAVE LOST ALL CONNECTION TO THE CONSTITUTION, AND ARE BEING HOUNDED OUT OF THEY SYSTEM BY THE THOUSANDS in a manner that should embarrass every American citizen. 
Go to: http://www.luc.edu/law/academics/special/center/child/childed_forum/pdfs/williams_new_york_city.pdf

HOW IT IS DONE; It is all about accountability. You see, these people have broken the law for so long, they have come to believe THAT THEY ARE THE LAW!


We have seen what happened to the banks when no one was examining their actions. The failure of the banks was visible and drew the attention of the media and the public. The reasons for the failure of the schools is HIDDEN, and there are no journalists or legislative investigations to uncover the truth.

Thus, ACROSS THE COUNTRY, a  corrupt BUREAUCRATIC SYSTEM  has  put into IN PLACE a  procedure that  CIRCUMVENTS  THE union contract, education regulations and basic civil rights laws, in order TO REMOVE ANY TEACHER. This process is the total abrogation of the civil rights of Americans... who just happen to be teachers!

 This “process” has so infiltrated OUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS, THAT NOW OUR TEACHERS’ CAREERS, REPUTATIONS, HEALTH CARE AND Financial security ARE DESTROYED, and there is ABSOLUTELY NO RECOURSE TO THE LAW! Teachers have difficulty finding lawyers to represent them. Litigation, in any case, is a financial nightmare. Moreover, the judicial system is stacked against the teachers, as judges routinely rule in favor of the administrations. Teachers lose.

It is simple to grasp!
The UNION is the legal representative of teachers, and they fail miserably to represent them, at the beginning. Grievance procedures are a sham.
By looking the other way when teachers are accused of incompetence or heinous and even criminal behavior, the union has withdrawn the oversight that keeps principals and superintendent from breaking the law.
The reasons for this are many, but this essay is not the place to explore the motives of union bureaucrats.

The inescapable irony of this, is the perception of the public, thanks to propaganda put forth by the media, that it is the UNIONS that protect those ‘bad’ teachers. NOTHING IS FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH.


 In the process  of removal, to break tenure, wonderful teachers are humiliated in ways that are reminiscent of slavery. (see David Pakter’s story and valiant fight in Federal court, to expose the truth. it should have been front page news!)
http://nycrubberroomreporter.blogspot.com/2008/12/david-pakter-nyc-teacher-and.html
AND 
http://www.parentadvocates.org/nicecontent/dsp_printable.cfm?articleID=7501
and
 http://www.susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.php?id=9275
And 
http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/2010/07/defamation-of-david-pakter-by-new-york.html


•	TEACHERS WHO SPEAK OUT ABOUT UNSOUND EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE, the ‘whistle-blowers,’ are the first to be singled out.  Their voice cannot be tolerated.

•	 Senior teachers, with strong voices on the subject of GENUINE LEARNING, AUTHENTIC CURRICULA  and real PEDAGOGY, are next to be targeted, particularly as their meager salary reaches longevity steps. 

•	They are followed by any teacher that is disliked by some petty, failed human being with a personal grudge or agenda, often with poor or no classroom experience, but given power to ‘supervise’ teachers. 

“Staff-developers” whose job is to train and facilitate learning, often become tyrants who evaluate and demean teachers whose methods they fail to recognize, because they lack the rubric for evaluation. This essay is not the place to discuss the genuine methods for evaluating sound pedagogical practices. The standards for promoting learning exist and can be found in the Pew  research on  Harvard professor Lauren Resnick’s “The Eight Principles of Learning” for The New Standards. Wonderful essays in The Amercian Educator by Diane Ravitch, Randi Weingarten and others, discuss genuine systems of evaluations that assess LEARNING in any classroom practice, yet here in NYC,  Michelle Rhee is ranting about tying teachers to the tests of students. AGGGGGH!

The personal agendas of administrators and publishers replace curricula; thus talented teachers find themselves on a one way journey OUT of their practice.

 In NYC, there is a long delay in the putting out of charge. This civil right  for speedy justice is  guaranteed by THE  CONSTITUTION!  But, with no oversight by the union which should demand immediate investigations and genuine grievance procedures, teachers are removed from their practice IMMEDIATELY AND SENT to the District Office (i.e ‘rubber room.” Go to: http://www.doubletongued.org/index.php/dictionary/rubber_room/


Not a single journalist or reporter explored how such literal incarceration was effecting the emotional lives of dedicated professionals who had devoted their lives to a noble profession.

When the public began to notice that there were teachers being paid FOR YEARS,  to do nothing, a cry went up, and NYC has now ‘disbanded’ the rubber rooms.

NOW,  In a typical maneuver, the cynical bureaucrats in NYC hide these ‘disappeared’ teachers, in school offices throughout the city. 

 Awaiting their ‘hearings” (those sham kangaroo courts)  these teachers are stapling papers and doing menial office tasks… and the DOE in NYC thinks NO ONE WILL NOTICE THESE SHENANIGANS. I noticed. So should YOU!
Go to:http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2010/sep/22/some-rubber-room-teachers-say-theyre-still-waiting/


The media makes no effort to expose this practice. There are NO investigative journalists looking into the civil rights abuse of teachers. NO ethnic minority could be treated like this without intense media coverage!

 Those ‘business managers’ at the top -- principals and superintendents  who call themselves “educators” -- in an astonishing number of systems have as their HIGHEST PRIORITY TO MAINTAIN THEIR POSITION, and to ensure that  THE CASH-COW continues to be THEIR PERSONAL BANK  ACCOUNT.

They are given tacit permission by a system that fails to protect teachers, and immunizes them from lawsuits. With no impediment and no accountability, they stoop to tactics that are so egregious that people find it hard to believe. 

THAT IS THE PROBLEM! 

Ordinary people who believe in the law of the land are incredulous and say,  “How can this be true?”

SIMPLE –with the help of the media and the complicity of the  union.  You see, while the media focuses and points the finger at those "bad teachers,"  at the ‘dead-wood” the union mishandles tens of thousands of cases. 

THE WAY IT WORKS:


•	The crucial point where the contract would prevent charges based on abusive, false allegations from being IS AT THE SITE!
•	 BUT, the UNION’s  rep on-site is a teacher who depends on the principal for everything: the student load, the duties, the materials, the program.  Collusion with administration has become EPIDEMIC HERE, and grievance procedures are abandoned or subverted.

IT IS SO SIMPLE! 

To bypass the grievance procedure MANDATED  in a contract, the principal tells a parent to complain directly to the CHANCELLOR or superintendent, with one of several SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS which mean the teacher can be REMOVED immediately.
•	CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IS A FAVORITE , and teacher comments can be interpreted as threatening, and used to charge a teacher with corporal punishment. (Education law is clear that THIS  is illegal.)
•	 Sexual abuse “ there has been a three –fold increase in these allegations interpreted from the ASSOCIATED PRESS release to mean that thirty percent of our teachers are abusive to students, when in truth, this charge is just a ploy to remove a teacher, in most of the cases.
•	Theft or misuse of funds: which is ironic, since it is administration that that often robs the school blind.
•	Drug Abuse: any allegation can doom a teacher.

Once in a detention center (often a converted storeroom, but now some school office) awaiting a hearing -- three years down the road-- a teacher is virtually a prisoner. In the ‘rubber rooms, teachers needed permission  to go to  the bathroom.

Moreover, if the charges fail to 'stick,' then new charges are put out for  incompetence or insubordination. 

Teachers exhausted and traumatized by this genuine assault,  retire, and the public never knows what occurred to push them into retirement. That is what happened to me.

 Imagine dedicating your life, educating yourself for years, spending money to make teaching possible in places where books and materials are scarce or non-existent, and ending up in this virtual prison, facing a  kangaroo court years later, unable to defend yourself.

 Arbitration is done by people whose only objective is to get you to retire, and will put the final nail in your career.

The result:  the brightest, most experienced and educated teachers are locked up and subjected to humiliation that no minority segment of our population has experienced in decades, and then terminated.  Educated professionals, dedicated to enriching the lives of our future citizens have become the targets of petty, corrupt administrations.  
 The numbers are staggering! 

IT IS THE SHEER NUMBER OF SYSTEMS THAT EMPLOY THIS TACTIC that makes it so hard for people to grasp. Exacerbating this, is the MEDIA, which has few education experts, and LOVES TO USE  the sound-bite that bashes a teacher.

IS IT ANY WONDER THAT THE SCHOOLS ARE FACING A CRISIS OF ENORMOUS PROPORTIONS, AS THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST ARE subjected to heinous ILLEGAL procedures, and finally TERMINATED? 

Worse, tens of thousands of senior teachers, the mentors, are GONE, and now these petty tyrants who call themselves "administrators" are going after younger, inexperienced teachers.  When these new teachers reach a tenure year, they are routinely terminated in the most illegal and heinous manner. 

The scandal is not limited to  HURTING  our future citizens, who are leaving schools with little knowledge or basic critical thinking skills, unprepared to compete in our global marketplace as a result.   But it continues to incapacitate a huge segment of our society – OUR EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS,  who are unable to defend themselves.  

Our education system has degenerated into one where due process of law is denied them, and the basic human right to work and make a living is being snuffed out for this segment of our population. They cannot work again as a teacher once this process has destroyed their reputation, not to mention their health. 

It destroys their lives. The toll it takes on good people who have dedicated their lives to caring for children would make you weep, if you witnessed the destruction and humiliation .  

Working tirelessly to overcome the inherent difficulties of teaching in this centuries’ neglected educational institutions, teaching increasingly difficult populations of children, and earning salaries below what it takes to live a decent life, teachers are blind-sided by the manner in which their career is terminated.

No American should be treated like this.   But, to subject educated professionals who have done nothing more than excel in their work and dedicate their lives to our children - THIS is BEYOND CRIMINAL. It is IMMORAL!

Terrorist detainees have greater access to the law of the land then do  teachers. 

This must stop. A federal investigation must begin NOW, before our future citizens cannot compete in a global marketplace that demands KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS. Twelve years of education must be put back into the hands of the TEACHERS who have the talent and experience to facilitate learning!

DO YOU FIND THIS HARD TO BELIEVE?
The must site to go to first  to understand the corruption behind the tactic of  ‘rubberization,’ is  http://nycrubberroomreporter.blogspot.com
 
If you think this is an exaggeration, here are the sites you can go to, to read the stories of an astonishing numbers of wonderful teachers who lost everything.   It will make you cry... for the teachers, for this country, and for the children.  

Then, get involved. Mail this to everyone on your address list, and call your congressman, the local papers, and find out if YOUR district is mishandling teachers. 

A suggestion is to Log on to this website, or others like it,  and discover how you can get your community to create PRESS RELEASES to all media, who are interested in this topic. This is "how" you will be able to spread awareness about this.

My final advice for those of you who are under attack:
YOU are not alone! Discover this national scandal and join the fight against forces that are delighted to have an ignorant population.
They win if you give up.



 
PARENT ADVOCATES AND E-ACCOUNTABILITY FOUNDATION
                                http://www.parentadvocates.org/
Betsy Combier, Editor & Founder
                                                        AND 
                            http://nycrubberroomreporter.blogspot.com/


Here are  hundred’s of powerful stories  that show this is a national process
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE PREVENTION OF TEACHER ABUSE(NAPTA)  Karen Horwitz – Editor
www.endteacherabuse.org
AUTHOR OF “WHITE CHALK CRIME: Why Our schools are failing”


Here is a site which chronicles the latest on the war on teachers as well as shining a light on those who assist or obstruct the education of our nation’s children
                         EDUCATIONAL NOTES ON-LINE
                                http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/
                                Norman Scott, editor. 
 In Los Angeles, a site that chronicles the situation of teachers at 
                                  http://www.perdaily.com/
                                    Leonard Isenberg; editor

In Montana, Lorna Stremcha tweets about administrative bullying.
Lorna is writing a book about her horrific experience and her fight in the courts. Her story demonstrates that NOTHING STOPS SCHOOL PRINCIPALS FROM THE MOST HORRENDOUS BEHAVIORS.
                                                    http://twitter.com/lornapstremcha

Read her account at 
http://www.ednews.org/articles/new-york-has-the-rubber-rooms-montana-has-isolation.html





 








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