Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BOMBSHELL: Over 2/3 of Portelos' Charges Were Dismissed or Withdrawn

Amid the renewed public debate over teacher tenure (the 'right' to have due process before being fired) a post from Francesco Portelos that is absolutely shocking when taken into full context of the debate: 68% of the charges filed against him by his employer had been either dismissed or withdrawn during his hearing.

In California, Judge Rolf Treu found that hearings for teachers were more 'due process' than other civil servants received. In his decision, he said that being given written notice of the allegation and notice of termination was enough. He said that if teachers wanted an impartial fair hearing of the allegations, they should turn to the courts after being terminated. Of course, what he did not mention was that the teacher would not be paid during this time (which usually lasts years, not months).

What Francesco shared today, that 22 of the 38 allegations made by the employer were not enough to hold muster during an actual hearing, proves a very important point: An employer (any employer, really) can make whatever allegations they want -even allegations they would later choose not to fully prosecute.

Of course, Francesco's 'great crime' was making his employer extremely upset on a great many levels. He did this by engaging in the actions of a concerned whistleblower employee (because he was, you know, concerned about some things he had observed). In doing so,  he exercised free speech in a manner that agitated the employer and, when the employer expressed agitation, he exercised free speech all the more. That's really what was at the heart of the Portelos incident.

Although that employer (who, again, I adore and wish to continue to work for) was outrageously angry, as things turned out, Francesco -literally- didn't do half of what he was accused of doing.

Actually, he didn't do over 2/3 of the things he was accused of doing.

So, under Judge Treu's decision, would an angry employer be able to simply provide written notice and let the employee go?
Answer: Yes.

Even if the employee didn't do half of what he was accused of doing?
Answer: Yes.

But what if he is a fantastic teacher? But what if he is a charismatic union organizer? But what if everything he does in the classroom and with the kids in places outside the classroom like his robotics club, turns to gold? Under Judge Treu's decision, would the employer still; be able to fire that guy?
Answer: Yes.

So what saved Portelos? Well, tenure, of course. The simple courtesy of a person to defend him or herself from allegations of a RRREEEAAALLLYYYY angry employer before being fired. This, perhaps, is why his series is appropriately entitled A Case for Teacher Tenure. Part 1 was today.

And this is what makes the sentiment of commenter "paulvhogan" on this post from MORE so simplistically accurate: Tenure supports free speech. 


  1. Unfortunately my case is not unique. This has happened to thousands of teachers.

    This summer I was planning on relaxing, but wouldn't mind going up against several billionaires. Tenure lawsuit coming to NYC. Time to rally the troops.

  2. Wait until you see the 1/3 I'm "guilty of. You'll lose your mind!