Jeff Kaufman Explains NYSUT/UFT/DOE Deal on Signing Away Tenure Rights


    When I get a letter like the one below, I refer it to Jeff Kaufman, one of ICE's experts on all matters UFT. One thing is clear, this teacher would never get a straight answer from the UFT.

    I'm writing because you mention in your Jan. 30, 2007 EdNotes blog that "Teachers are being pressured to sign away their tenure rights in these time and attendance hearings. This was a 2005 provision."

    I am being called to one of these expedited hearings (I thought it was a 3020a procedure). Can you explain what you meant about "signing away your tenure rights"?

    Also, do you know if the DOE has outlined anywhere a time and attendance policy? Outside from the 10 days per year refunded to your CAR, this seems to be a completely uncharted territory. People are getting called out for all sorts of things and there seems to be no clear policy on how you may use the days in your CAR. I used a considerable amount of days [due to illness] but they were in the CAR and they were all very well documented by physicians with causes and reports.

    Thanks for any advice you might be able to provide.

    Jeff responds:
    Since the provision appeared in our contract I have been involved, directly or indirectly, in about 5 of these proceedings. They are 3020-a hearings but have been modified to allow (encourage) speedy resolution with the provision that anything short of termination was a possible outcome.

    The case, just like a “regular” 3020-a goes before a single arbitrator and is generally heard within a couple of weeks of the service of the charge. Early on I discovered that the DOE and UFT had entered into a secret unwritten deal that provided a “boiler plate” last chance agreement. While the amount of the fine was negotiable the form agreement contained a provision which required, without hearing, the termination of the tenured employee without further hearing should the employee be absent and or late more than a certain amount of time provided for in the agreement.

    When I brought this to Weingarten’s attention she claimed she had no knowledge about this since NYSUT attorneys were involved. While the agreement that was entered into a case I was involved in was taken back I found that this agreement in somewhat different form was still being used.

    The T&A hearing basically are designed to determine whether the absence and/or lateness was necessary but allows the principal’s own written policy to determine the parameters of “allowable” absence and/or lateness. Most principals stick to the 10 day rule but there is some difference of opinion as to whether this is reasonable.

    In a properly documented case the arbitrator will levy a small fine (I have not found any of these cases having been dismissed but I have only been involved in a small percentage of them).

    There is no reason to accept a waiver of future 3020a hearing since this, in effect, puts you back on probation. Good luck and if you have any other question you can email me directly.

    Best regards,
    Jeff Kaufman

    That Randi would claim she knows nothing about it since it is NYSUT (she is a VP of NYSUT) is not surprising of the UFT abdication of responsibility. I don't buy it.

    I received another email yesterday from a source with a contact on the inside who said Randi wants to help get rid of "bad" teachers, but "humanely". Jeff's report must be the UFT/DOE humane response. Of course Randi is letting the "bad" teachers be defined by the DOE and the UFT often has the attitude of "guilty until proven innocent," doing the minimal it has to do. So a teacher has to take lots of days off due to illness or personal issues, has the days saved up in the CAR, but is deemed a "bad" teacher.


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Jeff Kaufman Explains NYSUT/UFT/DOE Deal on Signing Away Tenure Rights


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