Friday, September 21, 2007

Only A Teacher


The school is overcrowded. New classes are supposedly going to be formed. Teachers will be asked to teach a sixth class. ATR's are floating around the building with no program. This doesn't make sense to me. But, what do I know, I am only a teacher.

23 comments:

17 (really 15) more years said...

I'm curious - if teachers in your school are asked to teach a 6th class, do they receive the special per session pay they are entitled to? Personally, it's blood money, I was just wondering if they are being compensated.

jonathan said...

Please approach your Chapter Leader. It is our job as a union to protect our weakest and most vulnerable, and today, that means ATRs first.

17 (really 15) more years said...

Jonathan - you do realize though, that your way of thinking is the exception, rather than the rule. In this week's NY Teacher, there are some vague comments from Randi about ATRs- but it's difficult to take her seriously when she created the situation in the first place.

jonathan said...

Advocating what is right is not a tactical decision. We just do it.

At last Monday's Executive Board meeting (I was there observing, I am not a member) a resolution calling for a moratorium on hiring new teachers while there were unplaced ATRs was passed (I am omitting lots of details).

I was proud that it was introduced by a New Action supporter. I was prouder that the entire Exec Board, unanimously, voted in favor (Randi spoke) In fact, we were really endorsing policy that had been begun the previous week.

Enough? Absolutely not. But I advocate what's right, and keep plugging away. The alternative is not an alternative.

Ms. Tsouris said...

Sorry, Jonathan, this is too little too late; the die has already been cast. An AP , while chastising an ATR who was subbing far out of license, was told something like "no wonder you're an ATR". This ATR is far from a senior teacher and their school was closed. They are cast adrift in very hostile seas. The union is much too busy congratulating itself while this travesty continues.

Anonymous said...

What does ATR mean? Hope this doesn't sound to stupid...I'm a teacher in Arkansas and unions, ATR, etc... don't exist in my area.

Schoolgal said...

The UFT created this problem, and now this so-called executive vote is meaningless unless Klein himself puts it in place.

What this vote really says is that senior teachers should be placed first--like the old excessing.

I and many others warned the UFT not to advocate the loss of excessing rights. Have they really seen the errors of their ways.

17 (really 15) more years said...

PO'd - Just realized this was your first Yom Kippur since you lost your mom. You are in my thoughts.

jonathan said...

ATR's are Absence Teachers in Reserve, or something like that. They are teachers who lost their jobs in a school in NYC (because the school was being closed down, or because their program was shut, or because they were excessed as enrollment in their school dropped). In any event, they are teachers without placement out of no fault of their own.

In past years they would have been placed in other teaching positions, but with a lousy contract change, they now get assigned as a permanent sub to a school, each day covering different classes. It is lousy.

(nobody gets laid off, which may make it seem better than elsewhere, but trust us, this is much worse than what we had).

Anyhow, it is a real problem, and it is right in front of us. We can keep trying do something, or ... actually, or nothing.

I guess I don't understand being too angry to try and help other teachers.

Pissed Off said...

17 (really 15)...thank your for your kind thoughts. Today was rough. Although I did go say yiskor once before, it is much harder on Yom Kippur. My poor dad is really having it worse. At least I had my son and husband with me.

As for getting the union involved...our chapter chair sleeps with Principal Suit. He told the ATR, who was yelled at, it was no big deal.

I did make sure she knew what was going on in her department and I am going to leave it to her to deal with. Unfortunately, lots of my fight has been beaten out of me. right now, I am just into my survival and the survival of my students. It might be selfish, but it is all I can handle at the minute. That is why I am no longer on our elxec board or interested in being a delegate.

jonathan said...

Thank you for letting the teacher know. We each should contribute as we are able.

It is so frustrating to hear about CLs who take administration's side... and it is far too common. And there are schools with no CL too.

I didn't know. It's yontif. I don't pay attention. But there is something comforting about organized time to reflect. I hope you remembered some good things...

Jose said...

:: shakes head at this post:: what a mess.

Woodlass said...

Jonathan - to your 7:45pm comment where you say that ATRs "are teachers without placement out of no fault of their own."

Unfortunately, this is a big, big, big problem for the union. Some of them are subs through no fault of their own, but there are many kinds of fish in that ATR pool, and there are many facets to this fiasco.

Some of these teachers have not "made nice" with admin: they've been a thorn in the principal's side, they've blown one or more whistles, they refuse to teach by crap methodology, they look funny or walk funny, did not use enough wrinkle-remover or hair dye to keep admin happpy. (In know one principal who didn't hire someone, by the way, because she didn't have her nails done.) I'm not saying any of these is a "fault" of the teacher - I admire all people who speak up against absurdity and I generally admire idiosyncratic behavior as long as it contributes to society in a positive way. But if you are saying "no fault of their own", you really have to be more precise. This group of ATRs did not "conform" in some way or did not comply enough with what admin -- even terrible admin -- was insisting on. Was there "fault", or wasn't there? To these disgusting principals there was fault. To us as a union, there was no fault.

And then there's the other group of ATRs that really are not the best kinds of teachers. CLs know this because they've had to defend them the best they can. I suspect this group is not that big. Principals want to get these out of their schools, probably fairly legitimately.

I DESPISE what the union did to us with these changes in the contract. I don't trust any of them. I know they weren't staying up late on our behalf this summer. Did you see the UFT rag this week? When all this catastrophe was playing itself out this past year, RW was playing up to the per diem administrative law judges, who asked the UFT to represent them (p.25). We're subs and she's attending to law judges......

Pissed Off said...

Woodlass--you've said it all.

I know my Principal would get rid of one of the best teachers in my school because he refuses to wear socks! Thank goodness he can't do that as our school is not being reorganized and the guy has a great track record.

Schoolgal said...

Another problem that the UFT didn't address last year and I posted on Edwize (which no one responded to) was the fact that Klein made derogatory remarks about ATRs to the media (and sited the article) and Randi never counter-argued.
I got a chance to read NYTeacher, and the program the UFT has voted to put in place still gives the principals a "way out" not to hire ATRs. I would have been happier if Randi and the Board stated this as their greatest error and voted for a renegotiation of that clause.

Richard Farkas was the only big-wig to write a column last year stating what a big mistake it was to create this ATR status. However, NYTeacher on-line never reprinted that article. (Censorship in the making.)

Want I would like to see is the return of the old-New Action, not the new-New Action.

reality-based educator said...

That's a good point Schoolgal makes about Klein hammering ATRs in the media and the union letting the claims go unchallenged.

I saw that Randi, Joel, Moneybags and Ernest all went down to Washington together to accept the Broad Prize for Most Improved Urban School System (or something along those lines.)

The award is crap, of course. Broad is one of these "More Money Than God" guys like Bill Gates who looks to undermine labor/raise work hours/destroy worker protections/destroy worker benefits. Plus, one of the judges for the award was "Mr Houston Miracle" himself, Rod Paige (faked test scores and phony grad rates anybody?) And he's a Bloomberg crony. So basically, Bloomberg gave himself an education award and called the Broad Prize.

Anyway, in bestowing the award, Eli Broad congratulated Klein, Weingarten, Moneybags, et al. with the following praise:

“The strong leadership by the mayor, the chancellor and a progressive teachers’ union has allowed a school system the size of New York City to dramatically improve student achievement in a relatively short period of time.”

I assume "a progressive teachers union" means one that caves into management's every demand as the UFT has over the past 6 years.

You have to think that Randi purposely let Klein's claims about the ATRs go unchallenged.

That's her being "progressive."

17 (really 15) more years said...

Let's just revisit Klein's quote re: ATRs made a few weeks ago:

Q: The city has a large pool of "excessed" teachers working as
highly paid substitutes. What's the solution?

A: "After a certain period, we should be able to terminate those
employees, absolutely. Unfortunately, that's not where we are now,
and I think it's wrong."

Where was Randi's counterattack to that comment?

Woodlass said...

Actually, I did write about it on Leonie Haimson's parents Yahoo group.. On Sept 7th I saw RW's response in the Daily news and posted this:

=========================
"This is it?
"After giving away seniority in all but pay and making us vulnerable to brutal, unconscionable attacks that bring long careers to a pretty swift end, this is how the President of the UFT responds? In a two-sentence letter to the editor of a daily rag?
"Randi Weingarten, just how deep is your lack of vision or your apathy?
"Senior excessed teachers are seeing their careers flash before their eyes and you're criticizing Klein for two things: not using us to reduce class size and thwarting the recruitment of more new teachers. In which unbuilt classrooms do you want him to put us back into in our overcrowded city schools? And precisely how can recruiting new teachers help us out in the current hateful crusade against our jobs?
"It's hard to believe we're paying dues for this kind of advocacy, almost as difficult as it is to figure out whom this UFT leadership is working for."
=============================

Then Leonie, Norm Scott and another parent posted some responses, which led me to write some more stuff. I'll eventually post this up on my new blog, but if you are a member of that Yahoo group, nyceducationnews, these messages are around the #4932 sporadically to #4963.

I also had some correspondence with RW last week, where she said she defended herself on the UFT website (I can't find it, maybe someone else can) and in the Daily News. My point is that it is WEAK, WEAK, WEAK to defend against a KleinComment of this magnitude in a Letter to the Editor. Shame on her.

PS: and when she says in the papers that she thinks ATRs should be used in class-size issues, that's another load bunch of rubbish. But this comment will go too long if I get into THAT one.

Anonymous said...

Being an ATR is not what it used to be, not at least at my school-- This year, they gave two ATRs "programs". One, licensed in Music, had 2 music and 3 Social Studies. Another, a good friend of mine, licensed in ESL, had 2 Health, 2 regular English, and 1 Social Studies. My friend went to the UFT office in Manhattan and here is what they told her.

Q. Can they do this to an ATR?
A. Yes, absolutely.
Q. How about observation?
A. They can observe and give you a rating based on your class management skills but not on your mastery of the subject.

She went though a lot- they changed her Social Studies class from Global History to American History, then to US Government.

What did she do at the end? She resigned. She was an excelent teacher loved by many students.

We lost 10% of our faculty this year. Among them, there were young talented teachers with 4-5 years in the system. They loved teaching, but they got really screwed because of their seniority (ATR, programing, scheduling, teaching out of license, etc.)

I know there are many types in this "ATR category" but I am sure many of them are, like my friend, young and passionate but unlucky and discouraged. Some put up with it, others leave.

Not for transfer but seniority still exists for excessing.

ed notes online said...

TAG Members to Speak at PEP

On Monday, Sept. 24, a group of teachers from the Teachers Advocacy Group NYC, many of whom have unfairly been given U-ratings and/or sent to rubber rooms, plan to take 2 minutes each to force the members of the Panel for Educational Policy to look into the faces of teachers who have been savaged by the policies of the BloomKlein administration.

They will do so with dignity and style, befitting senior teachers who have been slated for obsolescence.

Their blog states: "We represent teachers and counselors who have been excessed, unfairly U-rated for political reasons, teachers forced into ATR status, and high-salaried and senior teachers who have been discriminated against. We feel abandoned by the United Federation of Teachers, which by its silence is allowing Bloomberg and Klein to destroy our careers."

TAGNYC can be contacted at their blog http://teacheradvocacygrpnyc.blogspot.com/ and at tagnyc@hotmail.com.

Some of us will be there to support them while the UFT will be holding one of their rubber stamp Executive Board Meetings.

We'll try to get some video to post on you tube.

Schoolgal said...

A young teacher resigning while a loss to our students, might be the best thing for the teacher. I am sure there are schools outside of NYC and, dare I say, even some well-run charters that would jump at the chance to have a dedicated teacher.

This young teacher may even find a better career choice.

This, btw, is Randi's legacy.

Black Affirmative Action Case said...
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kimberly said...

I don't know how the teachers in NYC work under these conditions. Your dedication to your students is wonderful. To bad your administration does care at all.