FOIL FRIDAY – Who Took the Position You Applied For

Imagine you have years of experience, awards and a resume that should be framed, but you just can’t land a permanent position in the DOE. I’m not talking about me, but the several hundreds of ATRs and other teachers looking for greener pastures. Not every school or position is a perfect fit for each educator and sometimes, just like in the “real world,” you have to move on. But what if you can’t

What happens when you try and leave and you are not hired because you are too expensive or too old What if you aren’t that expensive or old, but you come from a school that has a bad name Maybe that is a reason a principal wouldn’t hire you. “You came from where Hmm…you may be damaged goods. No thank you.” We’ve actually heard that.

This is my first time applying on the NYC DOE’s Open Market system. I still have my grievance on being wrongfully removed from IS 49 on the table, but decided to apply to other schools as well.

Thus far, I applied for sevendifferent positions across Staten Island. None of them offered me a job. In fact, only one called me for an interview and then canceled it. You tell me if this seemsfishy or just a coincidence:


Mr. Portelos,

Congratulations! You have been selected to participate in round one of XXXXXs interview process for our 2014-15 science vacancy. Round one will entail analyzing data in a group setting and discussing implications for instruction with the other applicants. Based on our cabinets observations of the group discussion, interviewees may be invited to stay for a one-on-one interview.

If you are still interested in the position and are able to attend round one of the interview process, please respond to this email ASAP. On June 12thplease bring 5 copies of each of the following:


2)A CCLS-aligned Lesson Plan that you created and executed this year

3)A CCLS-aligned Performance Task that you created and implemented this year

4)Your most recent formal observation

We look forward to hearing from you!


“That’s GREAT!” I thought and responded with an honest email:


Dear ,

Thank you for the opportunity to interview this week. Any opportunity to discuss and showcase my abilities and potentially augment a school community is always welcome. However, please know that I do not have items 2 and 3 listed below. Unfortunately, I was kept out of the classroom for over two years. That is something I would like to explain in person.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Should you find the time, before the interview, I am including a link to a video that showcases a little of my teaching.


Francesco Portelos

“In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” -Martin Luther King Jr.


How did the interview go Well, it didn’t.


Mr. Portelos,

Due to unforeseen circumstances, your interview for Thursday has been cancelled. We will be in touch if we are able to find time to reschedule.



Unforeseen circumstances Never heard from them again and the position seems to be still open. In similarnews, I dropped off my resume today in person to schools that never called me back. “Emails are so impersonal,” I said, as they told me, “Sorry…positions are filled.” I also applied to Eagle Academy that is co-locating in my original school. Nope. They seem tonot be interested in a science teacher, with an engineering degree, teaching underprivileged boys.

Am I…..can I be….blacklisted

Since the City of NY is now talking potential settlement for my Federal case, I sent the above email and wrote up all similar stories to send to my attorney Bryan Glass, Esq. There was some talk about them stating sixfigures, but if that is true, they are off by at least a figure. Seems like because I decided to fight back, I may have been problem codedand someone needs to pay for that. Someone will pay for that. Even if I applied for a position in Florida, all a superintendent has to do is Google me and see the over 9,000 hits. “Rubber Room What’s that

Someone has to (will)make me whole.

My resume is great. (I know that sounds arrogant.) At least I think it is. Not only is it great, but myGeneral Science License 5-9 and Earth Science License 7-12 is rare. A principal told me that there is no one else with a resume like mine. Here it is by the way:

Francesco Portelos_Resume Open Market_Page_1 Francesco Portelos_Resume Open Market_Page_2

So now what

Well I’ll tell you that I am very curious to know the background of who is hired for thesepositions that I was not qualified for. A new teacher right out of college Someone with a Common Branch license and no science or technology experience Only one way to find out….

FOIL!!! They don’t call me “Frankie the FOILer” for nuttin!

Send an email to,

Dear Mr. Baranello,

Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, please send me copies by Email of the following records:

1. The name and personnel file of the NYC DOE employee who obtained the ________ position for the 2014-2015 school year at school _______.

I would appreciate a response within five business days of receipt as required by law.

Thank you for your cooperation.


When you finally get theinformation, take the name and enter it into the NYSED Certification Search.

Now wait! Please do not get angry and take it out on the poor fellow UFT member who got theposition. However, you can try and use theevidence for a potential Office of Equal Opportunity complaint or complaint with theNYS Division of Human Rights. That would best work if you are a 50+ ATR and were not selected because a 22-year old fresh out of college landed that same position.

Lastly, and I don’t know if this helps, right when I hit “SEND” for theFOIL request I yell out “BOOM!!!”

Their response:

About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.
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  1. Wow….their corruption runs so deep!! So unfair!!! I hope you are successful….you certainly got the smarts!!! I wish that justice wins out!!!

  2. I like to yell out “THIS IS SPARTA!” when I send out stuff to Baranello. WD.

  3. Sure you are blacklisted when they call your school to ask about you but welcome to the world of many experienced teachers whose schools were closed but whose salaries were too high or had too few years left before possible retirement. The UFT gave up citywide seniority transfers. Now the UFT negotiated easier firing of ATR’s so try not to end up in that swamp. In the end, defense of democratic rights and the right to a job cannot be defended in most cases under capitalism. Look at the thousands more school bus workers who don’t know if they have a job in September. All the unions aided that . Workers need to be united for their basic rights by organizing in a new political party with a socialist program. Recent in this regard: “Union-sponsored bill to fast track the firing of teachers signed by California governor” at Good luck. There well should be a principal who recognizes your talent.

  4. Francesco:

    Welcome to the “untouchables”! You are in the lowest caste and the DOE (CFNs) will not grant you an interview.

    Its not what’s bust for the students its what’s best for the ideologues in power.

  5. I was an active Chapter Leader and I believe that this information has been shared by those whom I jousted with and has hindered my landing a permanent position. Unfortunately Francesco, your pugnacious history of defending your rights and the rights of children will probably haunt you for the rest of your teaching career.

  6. The school I was recently tossed out of is filling my position and two others in my department with one veteran and two TFAs. The deck is stacked.

      • Principal advertised five positions. I called him on it. He played stupid. Four teachers got e-mails. I addressed principal. He claimed no knowledge. Principal called me in. I am not a good fit. Despite being technically proficient, I am not building community. I come in, do my job, know my stuff, but principal wants people who are socially and emotionally available. I do not score highly on the newly implemented Warm Fuzzy Rubric. I mistakenly think that children should take responsibility for their actions and their education. I am not ashamed of being old and having standards.

  7. Francisco— I hear there are principals with hearts out there. Ficalora @ Newtown HS in Queens & the East Side Community HS principal in Manhattan I think his name is Mark something. Why not call them Maybe they can help. Word on the street is that they are decent.

    • Queens sped teacher

      Richmond hill just got a new principal and has a great science department. Also, looking for a new tech coordinator.

  8. Henry Brocklehurst

    What did you expect You were found guilty of charges. You state 2/3 of the charges were dismissed. What about the other 1/3 I am sure that there are hundreds ,if mot thousands, of teachers with no convictions on their records. So stop crying and accept the fact that you screwed up and have to pay the price

  9. Perhaps you’re not being hired because of the glaring misspelling on your rsum. Doesn’t look good for a teacher. I’ll let you work to find it.

  10. UPDATE: FOIL responded with the names for two positions. I looked the teachers up on the teacher certification search and they don’t hold the certs that I have for the positions listed. Surprise!

  11. I am going into my 30th year teaching. I will be a 2nd year ATR. Many times it is just the luck of the draw. I know a teacher who has had five U ratings in a row and got a permanent position at a school because they liked his teaching. I know of another ATR teacher who has a stellar record and cannot be hired. For myself, I was at a high school in the Bronx. They decided to keep me as a dean for six weeks. They really liked the job that I did. The principal wanted to hire me. I told her that I would be too expensive for her. She was one of those rare principals who said I don’t look at price, but the value of the person and how they can help the school. How about that!!!

  12. Claudia Bienenfeld

    As you have probably read, folks in the ATR pool sometimes apply for SCORES of positions and receive no call for an interview. Seven is not very many, even though your resume is more impressive than most. On the other hand, you, along with many others who were never officially “in trouble,” but simply cost more,
    have most likely been blacklisted in this punitive and opaque system.

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