A Bronx principal who kept a so-called hit list of teachers she wanted swept out of the school instructed her subordinates to "get rid" of them by giving out unmerited bad ratings, a probe has found.
Even more shocking than Principal Iris Blige's apparent attempt to ruin the careers of nearly a dozen educators at Fordham HS of the Arts was the Department of Education's agreement to keep her in charge and levy just a $7,500 fine.
In a stipulation signed last month by Bronx high-school Superintendent Elena Papaliberios, Blige was even promised a "neutral letter of reference to any potential employer" should she decide to leave her post.
The two-year probe was conducted only after teachers lodged a host of complaints about Blige's wrongdoings, according to United Federation of Teachers officials.
"I think it's outrageous," said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. "If the price for ruining someone's career is $7,500, where's the accountability?"
Asked if Blige was getting off easy, a Department of Education spokeswoman referred a reporter to the signed stipulation -- which makes no mention of why a fine was deemed appropriate punishment.
The probe by the city's Office of Special Investigations included interviews with a half-dozen teachers -- and assistant principals who were asked to fudge the ratings -- who say Blige was unjustly gunning for staffers she didn't like.
One assistant principal, James O'Toole, made his boss' destructive directives sound like a hit job.
"Get rid of Mr. Herbert Drummond," O'Toole quotes Blige as saying about a teacher, according to the report.
Another assistant principal, Laurice Chambers-Blake, says Blige told her she wanted two teachers "out" by the end of the 2008 and 2009 school years.
Chambers-Blake said she was told "to start to write up the teachers" with negative reviews at the outset of the school year and to focus on another teacher's "weaknesses and deficiencies" rather than her positive skills.
Principal's Hit List
Directives from Principal Iris Blige to her subordinates on targeting teachers, according to an Office of Special Investigations report:
* “At the beginning of the school year, Ms. Blige directed [one subordinate] to “U” rate [unsatisfactorily] three teachers regardless of the outcome of his respective observations.”
* “[Another employee] stated that . . . Ms. Blige . . . told [her] that those teachers were to be ‘out’ by the end of the school year. Ms. Blige then instructed her ‘to start to write up the teachers.’ “
* “[Another subordinate] stated that Ms. Blige directed him to ‘Get rid of [teacher] Mr. Herbert Drummond.’ “
Ruin the reputations and careers of a dozen teachers as a principal?
You get to keep your job, but you do get fined $7,500.
Which Whitney Tilson or some other anti-teacher hedge fund criminal will probably pay for you anyway.
Oh, wait - it's not unfreakingbelievable at all.
This is EXACTLY why there needs to be shared power in schools and why teachers need tenure to protect them.
Because when there are few protections for teachers and when the powers that be are exhorting administrators to take the fight to teachers and "U" rate as many as possible, this is EXACTLY what happens.
Now Oprah may not think that, but then again, she engages in the same kind of self-centered, autocratic behavior the principal engaged in where the "little people" are crushed at the whim of the powerful.