RE: Immoral and Unethical Business Practices in the Public School System which
Directly Contribute to a Hostile Work Environment and Poor Mental Health
Please Help Us Create a Better Tomorrow
By Merely Enforcing Oversight and Accountability
Toward What Administrators Are Getting Away With
Within Our Children’s New York Public Schools
I was born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx of New York under what many will consider really poor conditions. Spanish was the only language spoken at home. I experienced my entire academic years in the Public School System in the Bronx. Because English was my second language I really did not have a voice in the public school system. I recall the times I was scolded in front of my peers for speaking “that language”. The common rationale was that as long as I continue to “speak like that” I will never learn English. Imagine the impact this can have on a child’s perception of their Native language and cultural identity.
I remember some of the forces that played a significant role in pushing me away from school, (isolation, humiliation, intimidation, attending class along, other classes, in a gymnasium of a scary abandoned school building in the Southern Boulevard section of the Bronx, with bright yellow “CAUTION” tape covering the stairs to the upper floors). I wonder how many students in the Public School System today are enduring similar circumstances.
Eventually, I adopted “the street life” as my classroom, my teacher, and my guide. Coming very close to losing perspective in life, I eventually defeated the odds and proudly graduated from an Alternative High School where classroom seats were arranged in a circle and teachers facilitated more of a family based dynamic among faculty and students as opposed to the oppressed institutionally based model emphasized today which prepares our youth for the worst. As a teenager, still in high school, I was fathering a young child and shortly there after started my own family. My children actually saved my life. Around this time in my life I discovered an immense passion for learning.
After high school, I went straight to college and fast forward to today – I own a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Human Behavior and a Masters in Science Education. I attained both degrees from The City College of New York.
I spent many years working hard in the Social Service Field. I was a Counselor and Case Worker for several years in a well known Adolescent Runaway Shelter. I managed several Group Home Programs, facilitating the transition into community living for people with developmental challenges and their neighbors. For several years I was a Mental Health Worker for a Dual Diagnostic In-patient Psychiatric Program in a well known hospital serving adolescents and adults. I was a Caseworker for the Administration for Children’s Services, (ACS), and for the past nine years I have been teaching in a Dual Language Public School in New York City; mostly Mathematics and Science. I am a New York State Certified Science Educator.
I have and continue to proudly give back to society but unfortunately pushing for moral and ethical treatment of others comes with a heavy price.
I have always been a strong advocate for the people whom I proudly serve. Unfortunately, in the New York City Public School System I am currently paying a hefty price for this virtue. Sadly, I still do not have a voice in the Public School System. The saddest part of this circumstance is that no one seems to care about the impact which administration’s immoral and unethical business practices actually has on students and the learning condition. In fact, students are often used by administrators as pawns as they play their game of retaliation and intimidation against any advocates.
The Breeding of a Dangerous Culture
The majority of working Americans are too afraid to speak-up against immoral and unethical violations in the workplace because they have a lot to loose and the forces against them are callous, meticulous, organized, and far more resourceful. Malicious smear campaigns are able to devour any modicum of good deed and permanently scar one’s future job opportunities. Working Americans, especially ones barely surviving from pay-check to pay-check, have become dangerously dependant on their jobs. Such fear and dependency isolates workers and stifles improvements from flourishing.
After teaching six years of Middle School Mathematics and Science (8th and 7th grades) with favorable evaluations and student performance, for the school year of 2012-2013 I was forced by administrators to teach a first grade class and all subjects (English, Writing, Social Studies, Math, and Science). This move took place well into the school year and I had no prior experience teaching this age group and other subjects. I was told by administration that I will surely fail and they will then take my teaching license away. I grieved this injustice but since the evidence was not in favor of the Department of Education the result of the hearing fell through the cracks. 327 days later (today) I still have not been provided with the results to this grievance hearing.
The following school year I was forced to teach fourth grade. Since testing became a greater priority in evaluating teachers, administrators were certain that I will fail because fourth grade students are formally tested in English, Writing, Math, and Science by New York State and I had no prior experience teaching some of these subjects and working with this age group.
During this year I had to endure more of the wrath of administrators whom were clearly bothered by their failed attempts to get rid of me the year before. I had to endure more lesson disruptions, threats, lies, unrealistic expectations, bogus disciplinary write-ups, etc. The Principal of the school once even wrote a memo and gave it to all of my fourth grade students (and students from other classes) which depicts me as a safety threat to the entire school and informed them that I will be removed from the classroom. You have to wonder what this is all doing to the students and other professionals that want to advocate against immoral and unethical business practices.
This year I am forced to teach a fifth grade class. Unfortunately, on September 8, 2014 I am summoned with a letter indicating that I am being pulled out of the classroom as of September 9, 2014 for allegations made against me. Later, I am told that I have to wait until I get the paper work for the details to the allegations.
This is a mere glimpse of what I and students in the Public School System have to endure. There are more horrific details to the harassment but I do not wish to exhaust you with them just yet.
What are we actually teaching our future minds? What are we actually teaching other professionals about advocacy and speaking-up for those without a voice?
To learn more feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my blog at http://writing4light.blogspot.com/
Thank you immensely for your time and energy in this very important matter and for everything that you do for the human condition. I wish you all the best always.
Luis Ángel Perez
Mathematics & Science Educator / Student & Parent Advocate