NYC Educator Groups Rally in Solidarity to Support Hundreds Unfairly Fired Teachers

Fired for what reason? One asked for mentoring. Another asked for necessary curriculum. Another exposed that children weren’t being serviced properly. Many others raised concerns about violence in their schools. The stories keep pouring in with one being worse than the other.

As more information pours in, UFT Solidarity fears that the number of discontinued teachers and teachers forced into resignation are in the thousands. To say this is a hidden epidemic is an understatement. Again, to be discontinued means that an educator is not protected by tenure and as such has been terminated and blocked from teaching in NYC again. In most instances without cause.

On April 23, 2015 three educator groups stood united as one on the steps of DOE headquarters.

Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse

Members of UFT Solidarity, New Action and DTOE (Don’t Tread on Educators) rallied on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan. The coalition demanded reforms to the process of teacher dismissal in New York City public schools.

Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
Elizabeth Puscasu (L), a former English-as-Second-Language teacher in Bushwick (Brooklyn), was dismissed in 2014 under the type of circumstance the rally demands end.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
Members of UFT Solidarity, New Action and DTOE (Don’t Tread on Educators) hold signs as they rally on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan demanding reforms to the process of teacher dismissal in New York City public schools.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
Two demonstrators holding a sign while standing on the Tweed Courthouse steps during the rally.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
Greg Di Stefano, one of the organizers of the rally, addresses the crowd of participants and onlookers demanding justice for wrongfully-terminated teachers and reform of the current dismissal practices within the New York City public school system.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
A speaker addresses the crowd as Francesco Portelos (R.) From UFT Solidarity — one of the groups staging the demonstration — holds an informational sign.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
Patricia Miranda (R), a former teacher dismissed from teaching in 2009 holds a sign during a rally on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan demanding reforms to the process of teacher dismissal in New York City public schools.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
Christina (R.), A former teacher, relates to the crowd the circumstances under which she was dismissed from her teaching responsibilities.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
Wanda Gohler was among the demonstrators who chose to address their compatriots and onlookers at the rally. Ms. Gohler was dismissed from her teaching position at David Boody Junior High School.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
One of the handmade signs carried by demonstrators during the rally.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
Demonstrators on the steps of Tweed Courthouse with the NYC Municipal Building in the background.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
A demonstrator at the event, holding a sign.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
Demonstrators twice commandeered the sidewalk in front of the Tweed Courthouse, marching, holding signs, and joining together in group chants.
Solidarity rally for dismissed teachers held at Tweed Courthouse
Alice O’Neil, the United Federation of Teachers Manhattan High School Representative, extends her hand to Greg Di Stefano. Ms. O’Neil happened to be passing by during the rally and took a moment to speak with some of the demonstrators.

Members of UFT Solidarity, New Action and DTOE (Don’t Tread on Educators) rallied on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan. The coalition demanded reforms to the process of teacher dismissal in New York City public schools.

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Imagine years of school and years of wanting to be a teacher. Then, out of nowhere, you receive a letter from the principal, or superintendent, who gets their directives from the Office of Labor Relations, and you are done. DONE. Leaving your classroom and your students…unemployed. Some of these teachers were discontinued just days before they reached tenure. Some were discontinued because a principal wanted to make room for a friend. Many, and we mean, many were discontinued because they raised concerns at their school.

How many?

One Freedom of Information Law request shows that the Bloomberg Administration was discontinuing about 225 per year in their last two years. That’s approximately 450 from 2011-2013.

Many had high hopes that Mayor Bill de Blasio would change these and many policies set in motion by Mayor Bloomberg. Our members are disheartened to find out that not only did Mayor de Blasio not change course, but instead hit the gas.

Recent numbers coming in show that the de Blasio/Fariña administration got rid of about 200 new teachers in just just half the time. From July 2014 to January 2015 this new “progressive” administration terminated 196 teachers.

Has anything changed when the new administration has kept all of the old administrator’s people, including the chancellor?

de Blasio administration  discontinues almost as many teacher, but in half the  time.

de Blasio administration discontinues almost as many teachers as Bloomberg, but in half the time.

de Bloomberg. No changes. Same policies.

de Bloomberg. No changes. Same policies.

What does this mean for you as a parent, an educator or a citizen?

The Greek Philosopher Diogenes said “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” What kind of education can we expect when teachers who blow the whistle on issues at their school are removed and terminated? Teachers are the eyes and ears of parents. We need to ensure that their voices are heard.

Please come and support tomorrow as we stand with the UFT’s New Action caucus who set up this event.

Copy and Paste these emails and share your concerns:

cgfarina@schools.nyc.gov; scampoamor@schools.nyc.gov; FBaptiste@schools.nyc.gov; ECleveland@schools.nyc.gov; DDillingham@schools.nyc.gov; NFruchter@schools.nyc.gov; VLeung@schools.nyc.gov; KPayneHanks@schools.nyc.gov; LPodvesker@schools.nyc.gov; RPowell@schools.nyc.gov; RSotoCarrion@schools.nyc.gov; LZingmond@schools.nyc.gov;
Cmack-bracey@pubadvocate.nyc.gov; scovel@schools.nyc.gov; lfeijoo@schools.nyc.gov; ddromm@council.nyc.gov;
Dbrodsky@schools.nyc.gov;
mmulgrew@uft.org; epietromonaco@uft.org


and a school psychologist who took the hit for a Staten Island principal’s neglect of students.

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Note: This probationary bilingual teacher was previously rated “Effective” at her previous two schools. She is fluent in three languages and recently spoke at the December 2014 NYCDOE meeting at Long Island City HS (video here).  

Principal Adonna McFarland Retaliates Against Non-Tenured Guidance Counselor

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4 Comments

  1. I see Solidarity and New Action. Where was More?

  2. Pingback: Chief Leader Covers NYC Discontinued Teacher Epidemic - UFT Solidarity

  3. Together we demand reforms to the teacher dismissal policies. There is a growing epidemic of bullying by administration consequently leading to the demise of potential effective teachers. Research states there are no laws set in place yet for work place bullying so bullies are free to torment their subjects out of the work place. In addition administrators will continue to not be held accountable for their actions and justice will not prevail.

    There is a bill set in place
    http://www.healthyworkplacebill.org/index.php
    Congress needs to approve and sign it. United we stand stronger and if each discontinued educator unites together we can make a difference for future leaders. Let the bell tolls ring far, let them hear, do not dare silence them because we are coming roaring through the hurdles and we are hungry for justice.

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