Bilingual teachers brought in from the Dominican Republic to work in New York schools found service on their cellphones abruptly cut off last week – adding to the anxiety they face amid an investigation on the Ministry of Education employees who recruited them.
The disruption came without warning or explanation as city and federal agencies investigate complaints that Dominican teachers have been exploited and threatened.
“I realized this when one of the other teachers said to me, ‘Check your phone to see if it’s only mine that’s weak,'” one told the Post. “I couldn’t make calls, I couldn’t access the internet.”
The teachers, who work with Spanish-speaking students learning English, said ADASA, a fraternal group of Dominican-American school administrators, insisted on providing them with cellphones, each charging $60 a month for the service. .
“We tried to buy one when we arrived,” said a teacher. “They said, ‘No, it’s not possible. You have no credit.
The teachers said they paid the $60 fee last month, but won’t pay this month because ADASA cut off communication with them.
“We don’t see ADASA anywhere and they just cut the [phone] line. We don’t know what happened because they don’t talk to us about anything at all,” one said.
ADASA could not be reached for comment. Teachers are looking to buy their own phones and services.
As The Post reported, ADASA set up three rooming houses in the Bronx, requiring at least 19 teachers to each pay $1,300 to $1,450 a month for a single room and share a kitchen and bathroom. bath with others. Several teachers who rejected the arrangements were fired and lost their visas, they said.
A co-op on Marion Avenue that houses three female teachers was purchased for $155,000 in 2006 by Juana Polanco-Abreu, the late mother of Emmanuel Polanco, ADASA’s first vice president and director of MS 80.
When questioned repeatedly, city officials did not explain why a woman who died several years ago is still listed in public records as the owner.
Most of the teachers paid rent to Daniel Calcaño, ADASA’s treasurer. Polanco’s wife, Sterling Báez, a DOE teacher, collected the rent money from the co-op teachers.
After a report from the Post, Báez told the teachers they could move out and offered to refer them to someone who could help them find a new place, they said.
“Thank you, but we don’t need your help. We prefer to do it ourselves,” the women replied.
The Polancos still have the keys to the staff rooms and the mailbox, which they cannot open themselves, they said.
The DOE removed Polanco from MS 80 last month and replaced him with an interim director.
The special commissioner of inquiry for the city’s schools is still investigating the rental terms, a spokesperson confirmed on Friday.
Teachers were afraid to speak openly after being told not to say anything because of the ongoing investigation.
But they admit to being very stressed: “We don’t want the situation to impact our jobs. We have to be strong and do a good job,” said one.
The DOE did not respond to the Post’s request for comment. Chancellor David Banks commented on NY1, calling ADASA “an incredible group”.
“They came to me with this idea to help us need more bilingual teachers. It was not my idea, they came. It was innovative, it was an original thought.
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