Jul 14, 2014

Communism Déjà Vu

Letter Addressed to UFT President Mr. Michael Mulgrew
I am an ESL Teacher in I.S. 291 Bushwick, NY.

I started teaching ESL in I.S. 291 in 2007 and in 2010 I was granted tenure by the now deceased principal Sean J. Walsh. 

The tenure was in CB which I haven't taught a single day in this school. Then in 2011  I was excessed on the CB license. 

In September 2013 I was rehired on the ESL license and put on probation as of March 2014. 

Since then I have been observed a total of 13 times, given no feedback, no recommendations.

On June 6, 2014 my IAP handed me five, yes 5 observations to sign and date, then on June 9, 2014 another AP gave me one more observation to sign.

These observations were conducted on the following dates: May 13, May 15, May 16, May 22 and May 29 plus one conducted on March 30, I only received 3 emails for feedback. 

At the Summative Conference on June 16, 2014 I was handed a rating of Ineffective even though my students showed steady growth according to the Benchmark Assessment, Periodic Assessments, NYCESLAT and MOSL. Also I am the proud teacher of a Valedictorian, a first year ESL student, and a Salutatorian. “Ineffective,” eh?

On June 19, I filed a grievance with my union Representative. Copies of all documents were submitted and I was advised to wait for an answer from the Principal. She was to speak to the Superintendent and ask advice about my rating since it was all “in the system.” 

On June 23 I received this letter from the superintendent it states quote: 
"This is to inform you that on July 28, 2014, I will review and consider whether your services as a probationer be discontinued as of the close of business July 28, 2014. My consideration of your discontinuance is based on the reasons included in attached documentation and such documents constitute a written statement of the reasons for my consideration of your discontinuance. You may submit a written response to the reasons no later than seven (7) days prior to the date of my consideration and final determinance of your Discontinuance." end of quote.

I underlined in bold attached documentation, because there was no attached documentation included with this letter! 

Why is the superintendent so firm on my discontinuance? Shouldn't she be looking into the facts? All observations conducted in the month of May, no timely feedback, redundant recommendations and evaluation reports handed to me all in one day.

At this point this is costing me my health, part of me wants to pack and leave it all behind yet I've worked too hard to get here and quitting is not in my nature. 

I was raised in a communist country where citizens had no rights, no voices where one's livelihood could forever be ruined in a trivial game of "get you, got you" as abuse of power ran rampant, sadly this is all here in our beloved, democratic America.

Sick and disappointed,
Bushwick ESL Teacher

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