It’s seems certain individuals who read this blog obsessively. (Hint: they are also the subjects of this blog) have devised a new plan to get me to stop writing this blog. It appears that I’m am going to be blacklisted within the New York City Department of Education unless I shut down this blog.
Currently I am in an exclusive educators club called the Absence Teacher in Reserve Pool. ATR for short. Members of this group have limited union protection, are subjected to abuse by some principals, and are viewed as outcast by their own peers. Most of the teachers in this pool are excessed from closed schools and few like myself and Francesco Portelos (http://www.protectportleos.org) are in the ATR pool because we spoke up against the corruption and the systematic abuse of teachers within the Department of Education.
The corruption within the New York City Department of Education runs so deep that many teachers compare grievance hearings to a crap game at a Las Vegas Casino were the odds of winning are basically slim to none. In 2002, then mayor Michael Bloomberg gained mayoral control of the school system by arguing that the Board of Education was filled with corruption. Bloomberg noted that nepotism and cronyism ran rampant in the Board of Education. Today the Department of Education is headquartered in a building that is a symbolically know for corruption, Tweed Court.
While Boss Tweed may have been the most self serving corrupt politician in history the reality is many of the municipal projects he undertook helped to put the newly arrived immigrant population to work and give them a piece of the American Dream. A major part of that a dream is education. Unlike Tweed’s corruption the corruption within the Department of Education begins with a group of lawyers that decide how to handle teachers, especially those who are out spoken. Meanwhile, These lawyers protect a number of principals who behaviors border on serious criminal behavior.
Teachers on the other hand are written up for thing like taking a day to care for a sick child or in my case I once had an OSI investigation conducted against me because I had a mean look on my face.
The Department of Education has because a version of McCarthyism in the 21St Century. During his House UnAmerican Activities Committees (HUAC) Senator Joseph McCarthy attacked teachers for their involvement in union activities by labeling them communist. Today, the DOE labels teachers like myself malcontents because we refused to succumb to the abuse of principals in this system.
Politicians alike talk about wanting our students to become innovators who will change the world, but the DOE doesn’t want educators they want robots that they can rule by fear. Principals like David Jimenez have been placed about the law, they have become dictator not educator. They use fear to control teachers, especially new untenured teachers.
Education is not a business, it is not about fear or limiting an individual creativity or their methods of teaching.
Education is about taking risk to get students to learn. (Think about your favorite teachers they were the one who took education to the edge. They pushed you to think. They would crack a joke at the most stressful time. They would be there for you whenever you needed them.)
Education is about collaboration. Real educators are not afraid of fair observations in reality they enjoy it. (Any educator who refuses to be observed is not a true educator. Personally, at the end of every year I would have my students grade me. It simple they observed us everyday and they are the real judges of our teaching methods.)
The teaching profession is rewarding. There is no greater feeling then looking at a classroom full of students and “seeing the lights go on.”
There is no greater feeling then watching the joy of a student getting into their college of thier choice
There is no greater feeling then watching your students receiving their diplomas on graduation day. (My special moment came in 2006 when Manhattan Center’s valedictorian mentioned my name in her speech. I received a standing ovation from the entire graduating class. This is something the DOE or any 3020A hearing can’t take away from me. Because I made a different in the lives of those students. )
The decision to write this post was tough, but the reality is I’ve always told my students that the most powerful things they have are the opinions and the voice. So I’ve decided that if the DOE or administrators within the DOE area going to blacklist me then it should be done publicly either way
I will stand with my head held high knowing that for 13 years I gave my students my best.
“It is better to get rid of someone with the truth then to keep them with a lie.”
DE LA VEGA