Happy New Year! We hope that 2017 brings you much happiness, hope, and health. Unfortunately, it will not be an easy year for public education locally, state-wide, or nationally. The emphasis on testing continues, teacher autonomy continues to be reduced, while paperwork and mandates increase. All this while we sometimes have the wrong people running our schools, makes for a very stressful environment that is not conducive to learning.
2017 is an important year for UFT Solidarity, and members of the United Federation of Teachers union. It will be a “Year of Accountability.” In 2017, UFT Solidarity plans to increase accountability by continuing to expose specific people who are harming, and not helping, our education system. This will include not only administrators, but also UFT reps, and DOE lawyers and directors. 2017 is also an election year for the title of Mayor of New York City. The UFT leadership has hinted at an early endorsement for current Mayor Bill de Blasio, but we at UFT Solidarity do not feel an endorsement on a silver platter is warranted for our current mayor. This article will focus on the many administrators appointed under Mayor Bloomberg and kept by current Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Principals throughout the city have a free hand to harass and intimidate their staff, and thanks to Bloomberg’s initiatives – which De Blasio has failed to reverse – the DOE has a legion of lawyers ready to defend administrators when UFT members file a complaint. NY state law as it relates to schools only recognizes racial, age related and sexual harassment as grounds for legal action, so principals are free to employ any other methods they wish with the tacit approval of the DOE.
The oldest opposition caucus still in existence, New Action, fought to do more on this issue for years. Finally after years of insistence, the UFT’s leadership agreed to create a Principals in Need of Improvement (PINI) list. A list of abusive administrators was made, but no action was taken to push back against harassment and abuse of educators. A quick search for PINI on uft.org will reveal that the UFT has not even posted about the issue since 2009, when then UFT President Randi Weingarten brought it up at the deleate assembly and in typical fashion did nothing.
The UFT’s long history of inaction and neglect on the issue of educator/administrator relations was a major reason for the creation of educator advocacy group Don’t Tread on Educators (DTOE). DTOE and its affiliate UFT caucus, Solidarity took the initiative to create our own ANOI (Administrators in Need of Improvement) list in Winter 2014. The Administrators in Need of Improvement (ANOI) List, is turning three years old in 2017!
Fashioned after UFT Unity Caucus’ now-defunct Principals in Need of Improvement (PINI) List, the ANOI List is a “watch list” of administrators (principals, vice principals, superintendents, and Borough Office administrators) who do not foster collaborative, joyful, and safe school environments for students, the community, and faculty members. “Candidates” to our list are nominated by people from their own school or office who provide evidence and examples of misconduct about that person. Then Member Support officials from DTOE and/or Solidarity, review the claims carefully. If we determine the informant is credible and the claims can be collaborated via multiple sources, it is only then that the nominee is listed on the public ANOI page.
There are many bloggers who, over the years, have produced series of articles and pages devoting to the good, bad, and ugly sides of individual schools and administrators in New York City. We at UFT Solidarity and Don’t Tread on Educators stand on the shoulders of these giants; we are grateful for their willingness to expose corruption, abuse, and malfeasance via social media. UFT Solidarity and Don’t Tread on Educators do not claim to be the first or the last groups to use social media to expose corrupt and/or incompetent administrators; but, to our knowledge we are the first group to list administrators in an alphabetical and interactive list. Each candidate nominated for improvement has their own separate linked page. All ANOI candidates are confidentially and anonymously nominated, and vetted by teachers, parents, community members, and students.
Take a look and see some testimonials below:
Why is ANOI important? Here are testimonials from several educators:
“It provides educators with valuable information when job searching. Too many teachers, especially young ones, are leaving the profession. We need motivated, dedicated teachers who are treated as professionals and not bullied by insecure administrators who cross the line.”
- Save The Profession Advocate
“When seeking a transfer, I consult the list before I take/accept a position. Some of the information is great.”
- 1Brooklyn Math Teacher
“The ANOI list is a way for former NYCDOE workers to share their experiences with the NYCDOE bureaucracy by calling attention to shameful, abusive administrators. I used it to report my principal because I thought people need to know. I also have used the ANOI list to see if abusive administrators were reported in schools where former co-workers and friends now work so I could warn them. I let a family member who teaches in DOE as well, know about ANOI so she could also post and share her situation. Others looking for work in the DOE should know who the worst administrators are and what comments have been made by affected people before they get into the same situation. This also helps give legitimacy to the Solidarity movement and shows our need for change in the system. I’m grateful to all of you who made this possible.”
“I think with all the ATRs out there they can use the list to check out a school before they report. If they are offered a position, that can use the list along with school report card and surveys to make an informed decision. Anyone checking out open Market can do the same.”
“An administrator I nominated was put on the list and gone the next year from the school. Assuming there were many factors that led to her brief stay at my school, I’m hoping her name being on this list was one of the factors that led to her departure. This much-needed tool helps teachers realize that there are ways to confidentially report administrators that are failing students from reaching educational excellence. Schools are pillars in the community. When corruption replaces these pillars, communities collapse under the reign of tyranny. There is no room in education for abusive administrators.”
“It can be used by potential teachers seeking employment as another means in addition to the Quality Review of assessing how the principal is viewed by other teachers.”
- kidz were my bizness
“Administrators should not go unchecked in their actions that affect the careers of our cohort.”
“I believe that the ANOI list is helpful because it can ensure that prospective teachers looking for a change will avoid a bad environment created by a bad administrator.”
“ANOI lists should be used as a warning for potential new and veteran teachers, alerting individuals of toxic working environments that can result in wrongful terminations. Innocent and talented educators are being targeted for political reasons. Nothing is being done to reverse this activity and from what I understand such acts continue today. I was wrongfully terminated from Business of Sports School after being targeted after one month of employment. I’m fortunate to be back in the classroom continuing with my passion for teaching. I work at a charter school and I’m loving the scholars, staff and administrators. I experienced an enormous financial loss with the 3020a process and I’m praying that the corruption stops and that the truth comes out of the lies and defamation of character of innocent people that continue to this day.”
“ANOI is great because trusting colleagues about their experiences is important. A lot of principals conduct really wonderful interviews and many teachers currently in buildings have to watch their backs about what they say. This is a great anonymous way to be aware of which schools to avoid. It also holds principals accountable where the DOE doesn’t — and that is that teachers won’t work for you if you’re a bully. I’ve used ANOI quickly in referencing any school I get an interview at. I think others can use this by paying attention to which schools they apply to. If you’re being warned, you should pay attention to that. At least be armed with information so that you can make the best decision possible.”
“I think the ANOI is a useful list for the public to access because it provides an outlet for teachers to share experiences. There are really no other way of learning about a principal’s character other than the questionnaire provided by the DOE. It’s an outlet for staff members of a school to complain / report anonymously.”