An argument for tenure

due process

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

For many teachers today, schools have become a battlefield instead of an environment for learning.  This is especially true in the larger urban areas of the nation. For example, in California, teachers face a long uphill battle for a basic right that is guaranteed to every American citizen, that basic right is DUE PROCESS. The truth is simple TENURE= DUE PROCESS. Tenure is not a guarantee to a lifetime job, it is just a guarantee of procedural fairness. This is especially true in states like New York where 3020a education laws are used to rid the New York City Public School system of those teachers who are HIGHER PAID, OVER FORTY YEAR’S  OLD and EXPEREINCED. During the 2012-2013 School year the New York City Department of Education brought 1,131 teachers up on charges. Two Hundred twenty one (221) of these teachers refused the deals that the Department of Education offered them instead these teachers took their chances with the Kangaroo court known as a 3020a hearing.{ When I call the 3020a process a Kangaroo court I speak from experience.}

The 3020a hearing is guaranteed by Teachers’ tenure. During the hearing the teacher is entitled to a lawyer and has full disclosure of the New York City Department of Education’s case against them. The charged teacher can call witnesses in his defense as well as question the witnesses for the Department of Education. Many times these witnesses offer an interesting spin on the city’s case. For example at my 3020a hearing my former principal and the Department of Education star witness David Jimenez discuss the issue of Assistant Principal Dan Albetta’s sexuality. These are excerpts from the transcript of my hearing:

This excerpt is a about a meeting that took place in October 2012.

NYSUT Lawyer: Now during this particular meeting did Mr. Silvers mention anything about Mr. Albetta’s sexuality?

David Jimenez: No only his- he alluded to it.

NYSUT lawyer: oh he alluded to it

David Jimenez: I think with the drinking after school.

NYSUT Lawyer: So your recollection is that Mr. Silvers’ said something about Mr. Albetta drinking after school that was an allusion to his sexuality.

David Jimenez: Yes if you tie it to his past comments with Mr. Dennis Hernandez. THAT HOW I SAW IT it like ah he’s coming with this angle again, BUT OUTRIGHT HE DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT MR.ALBETTA BEING HOMOSEXUAL. (Recently the administration of Manhattan Center has created a blog about me in which they call me homophobic, but Jimenez testified that I never said anything about Albetta being a homosexual. Once again Jimenez is buried by his own words.)

NYSUT Lawyer: So you saw no connection to the comment about drinking between the fact that Mr. Albetta was driving on the FDR after school?

David Jimenez: Well he got into-this was right after school. So I didn’t –As soon as Silvers started to talk about Albetta’s lifestyle or and after school habits and activities. If it were in isolation probably wouldn’t have mean anything to most people. But in the context of the history it –you could see where he was going with it. That is my perception.

As usual Jimenez’s perception of a situation is warped. Based on his testimony Jimenez seems to have a problem with Mr. Albetta’s sexuality, Unfortunately, this was not the only discussion about homosexuality that Mr. Jimenez discussed during my hearing.

This excerpt from my 3020a hearing is discussing my relationship with Assistant Principal Daniel Albetta. Jimenez saw this as an opportunity to discuss Mr. Albetta’s sexuality again.

NYSUT Lawyer: Mr. Silvers continued to request that Mr. Albetta not observe him isn’t that correct?

David Jimenez: Yes he continue

NYSUT Lawyer: with regard to his request did He indicate the reason Mr. Albetta not observe him?

David Jimenez: Yes I remember very clearly the reason

NYSUT Lawyer: Okay he indicated to you that he (Silvers) felt Mr. Albetta

David Jimenez: (Interrupting the NYSUT lawyer) No he said that he didn’t like Mr.Albetta because Albetta was not a man and he always reminded me of that he told me from the beginning of from the very beginning he always used that expression. “ I told you I didn’t like that guy. I don’t like him he doesn’t man up. He false and I tried to get out of him a specific reason and he wouldn’t tell me it was some type of mysterious he was just not a man and his issue with his relationship with – Mr. Albetta’s relationship with Mr. Hernandez. Something bothered him about Mr. Albetta’s relationship with Mr. Hernandez their closeness. Complained about Mr. Albetta’s going drinking with Mr. Hernandez with Mr. Hernandez after work. Being so Chummy Chummy. That’s what I remember to me was ridiculous that he would ask such a thing.

NYSUT Lawyer: Well he (Silvers) did indicate to you and I think you testified previously as well as just now that he had issues with Albetta’s truthfulness isn’t that correct?

David Jimenez: That was much later that was after OEO.

NYSUT Lawyer: Okay so in October 2010, Mr. Silvers did indicate to you that he had an issue with Mr. Albetta’s truthfulness isn’t that correct?

David Jimenez: He was alluding to his (Albetta’s) sexuality.

NYSUT Lawyer: Well that was your interpretation?

David Jimenez: It was pretty-yes it was my interpretation

NYSUT Lawyer: Right because he (Silvers) never said anything about Albetta’s sexuality during that October 2010 meeting He just said he’s not a man he won’t man up Right?

David Jimenez: TO ME THAT WAS ABOUT HIS (ALBETTA’S) SEXUALITY

NYSUT Lawyer: to you it was about his sexuality?

David Jimenez: Yeah!

NYSUT Lawyer: You received the OEO report that was issued June of 2011 is that correct.

David Jimenez: Yes

NYSUT Lawyer: And you noted that OEO disagreed with you about the phrase “man up,” be a man and you’re not a man meant. They disagreed with you about what they meant isn’t that correct

David Jimenez (Looking like a Deer in the headlights) That they disagreed I would have to look at the report.

NYSUT Lawyer: Okay, So you don’t recall whether or not OEO indicated those phrases were not in and themselves indicative of bias regarding sexuality.

DAVID JIMENEZ: I WAS THERE AND IT WAS MY OPINION AND THAT WHAT ITESTIFIED TO OEO, I’M TESTIFYING NOW THAT THE- I FELT THAT IT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH SEXUALITY WITH MR. ALBETTA’S SEXUALITY.

ARBITATOR LISA BROGAN: THAT’S NOT THE QUESTION

DAVID JIMENEZ: OKAY

ARBITIATOR LISA BROGAN: THE QUESTION IS WHETHER YOU’RE AWARE THAT OEO REACHED A DIFFERENT CONCLUSION?

DAVID JIMENEZ: MY UNDERSTANDING OF MY READING OF THE REPORT WAS THAT OEO COULD NOT SUBSTANTIATE THAT WAS ABOUT ALBETTA’S SEXUALITY, BUT NOT THAT THEY DISAGREED WITH ME THAT I ALREADY THOUGHT IT WAS WRONG, BUT THEY JUST COULDN’T SUBSTANTIATE THAT. BASICALLY I-

ARBITATOR LISA BROGAN THAT’S ENOUGH.

Once again David Jimenez’s ramblings provide for a bit of comic relief, but the truth is that anyone who lies this bad should not be in charge of a school. (For the fun of it I attached a list of things to look for when people are lying. The list uses Paraverbal Indicators these are non-verbal indicators. The above excerpts are taken directly from my 3020a transcripts and are David Jimenez’s spoken words

Message duration: When a person fears detection, then they may decide to speak less, consequently using shorter sentences and answering questions as briefly as possible. On the other hand, they may increase the length of what they say in order to gain control and prevent the other person from asking difficult questions.

.Number of words: Every word that a person who is lying says is a possible problem as others might detect some falsehood. Shorter sentences may consequently reflect the more careful thinking that a liar has to use in order to sustain the accuracy of their storyline.

Filled pauses: When we pause in our speech there is an opportunity for the other person to interrupt and so take control of the conversation. In order to prevent this and sustain control, someone who is being deceptive may fill the gap with devices such as ‘ummmm, ‘aaahh’ and so on. They may also look away to stop the other person sending visual signals that they wish to start speaking. 

Unfilled pauses: One way to get another person to talk is to pause or use silence as this creates a social tension that people will seek to fill. In effect, you are saying ‘please help me as I have run out of things to say’. The liar may decide not to fall into this trap and simply refuse to respond (and in doing so fall into the secondary trap).

Repetition: Liars may repeat what they have already said when they run out of things to say, simply repeating their previously rehearsed statements.They may also use repetition as a form of emphasis in trying to put the questioner off the subject and prevent probing. Repetition can appear as a subtle beat across a period of speech. On the other hand, if a query is repeated on different occasions, the liar may forget their previous statement and say something different.

Response latency: Response latency is the delay between the question being asked and the other person replying. Liars need to think about what they are going to say as opposed to a truth-teller who simply remembers or responds without caution. Delays in response may thus be an indicator of deception.

Speech errors: When a person is tense or thinking about multiple things at once they may get their words mixed up. They may also be suffering from internal inhibition, where one part of the mind is trying to stop them from saying things.

The result of this can be that they do not pronounce words correctly or even use the wrong words. Sometimes they may even give the game away by accidentally telling the truth when they intended to lie (especially with short-word answers).

David Jimenez blatant attack on Assistant Principal Daniel Albetta’s sexuality was so bad that Arbitrator Lisa Brogan noted,” I found it odd that throughout his testimony Jimenez frequently sought opportunities even when he had not been asked to bring up issues of Mr. Albetta’s sexuality and his belief that the respondent (Mr. Silvers) was somehow obsessed with this issue and that it was at the core of his inability to get along with Albetta. His (Jimenez) insistence on this point one which as will be discussed below I REJECT-gave the appearance that he (Jimenez) was once again trying hard to paint a picture which he (Jimenez) thought was damaging to the respondent (Silvers). 

The truth is tenure allowed me the right to defend myself again the attacks of David Jimenez. Thanks to former Mayor Bloomberg principals have autonomy to create a “them versus us” attitude within their  school building. Principals who are unable to deal with constructive criticism immediately attack those teachers who speak up. This is when  the school becomes a battlefield  with tenured teachers on one side and principals on the other side. Meanwhile, there are two groups of pawns who suffer in this battle. The untenured new teachers are forced to pick sides. All these “Newbies” want to do is survive the war and get tenure, but in return they have to sell their souls to the principal. Principals like Jimenez would often tell “Newbies” “that the union does care about you and that the older union strong teachers were trouble makers.” I know in Manhattan Center new teachers were forbidden to talk with strong union members. The other pawn in this battle is the students. The truth is that a teacher under attack will change their teaching style to please the administrators that are observing them even if this style does not produce the same results their style of teaching did.

Schools are supposed to be places of collaboration where the next generation is educated to become viable members of our society. Students in these schools should be taught to question authority when its power becomes destructive to an ends. This is the same ideology of our founding fathers. It is this ideology that helped develop our American Constitution. It is this ideology that called for a Bill of Rights to protect the individual’s freedoms. It is this ideology that gives us Due Process or tenure.

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2 thoughts on “An argument for tenure

  1. This guy Jimenez is some piece of work Allegations of sexual harassment, allegations of misappropriation of funds, not to mention the obvious, lying and based on his testimony he seems to have an issue with Albetta’s sexuality whatever it is. How this man is still employed by the New York City Department of Education boggles the mind.

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