Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sign the petition for full ATR representation rights in the UFT

As you see from the ICEUFT blog ATRs are struggling for democratic representation rights with our own chapter and our own official chapter leaders and delegates in the UFT. 
Read at ATR ELECTION APPEAL SENT TO AFT PRESIDENT WEINGARTEN on how James Eterno and other ATRs sent a formal appeal to president Weingarten for a chapter after the UFT dismissed the chapter request.

We have been rebuffed after several official appeal attempts going back three years. Here's James Eterno's report from March 24.
UFT Snubs ATRS Again in Chapter Elections; Complaint Has Been Filed with Federal Department of Labor
Please sign the petition to the UFT for ATR representation rights.

( Here is the address for the online petition itself:

Sign a petition for a chapter for ATR members )

Here is the blog posting at the MORE caucus web site:
Petition for the Creation of a UFT Chapter for ATRs

The following petition for our ATR brothers and sisters will be submitted at the June Delegate Assembly - please sign and share!

Petition for the Creation of a UFT Chapter for ATRs:

ATRs have been prime staff casualties of school closures, which are driven largely by high-stakes test scores; the Bloomberg-era Fair Funding Formula continues to be a disincentive against principals' hiring ATRs; the position state in itself is illegitimate and unacceptable: the ATR status is created simply to break tenure and seniority; as ATRs are overwhelmingly over the age of 45, the placing of teachers in this position is age discrimination;

Absent Teacher Reserve teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, and other excessed NYC DOE employees are denied the right to representatives from within their own ranks; they can only vote for chapter representatives if they happen to be working in a school with an election during their rotation assignment;

Denying ATRs their own representatives violates the principle of no dues without representation.

Whereas, the ATR position has now been embedded in the UFT contract in Section 16 of the 2014 DOE-UFT contract, therefore be it Resolved, that the UFT will immediately create a Functional Chapter to represent the interests of ATRs, Leave Replacement Teachers and Provisional Teachers, with borough-level proportionality.

We UFT members ask president Mulgrew for his pledge to create these chapters.

And here's the URL address for downloading a physical copy of the petition.

Friday, May 15, 2015

2015 "Hiring Support" - Positions - What positions? Part II

Follow-up from yesterday's post on the school positions smoke and mirrors.

 Are they kidding me! Help me find a "new position"? Do I look like I have stupid tatooed to my far head? Please. The only way that ATRs will EVER get back into an appointed position is in their dreams.

From: []
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2015 11:00 AM
Subject: 2015 Hiring Support Services for NYC DOE Teachers in Excess

Dear Colleague,

In order to support you in your search for a new position, the Supervision and Support Team, part of the Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality, offers many services to teachers searching for a job within the New York City Department of Education. We encourage you to begin and prepare for your job search as early as possible in order to maximize opportunities to network with principals who are eagerly looking for quality experienced teachers. Below is a summary of Supervision and Support Team services for summer 2015.

Open Market Hiring System (OM) - Online DOE system that allows you to apply directly to posted vacancies as well as be searchable to principals looking for experienced teachers. Remember, don't be just a name and file number. Register<> with OM to update your contact information and current job search profile with an up to date resume and answers to the writing prompts. In addition to Open Market, you may also be invited to teacher recruitment fairs throughout the summer during the Open Market transfer season. If sent an invitation, we encourage you to register and attend as these opportunities are limited.

Job Search Support - Supervision and Support Team has created a new online portal,<> with event dates, up to date announcements, and job search tools including resume/cover letter templates and teacher interview questions.Searching for a new position can be an uncertain and frustrating process, but we are available to help you. Please visit our School Staff in Excess Portal at<> for more information. Just log in using your DOE credentials and click on the tile labeled 'School Staff in Excess' for access to our current job search support resources. You can view the attached one-pager for help navigating the log-in process or the following short video for extra guidance on how to use the space:

Questions are concerns about We Teach? Contact us at <>.

DOE Email we send out information and announcements via email so it is in your interest that you check your email routinely throughout the summer. Checking your email routinely will ensure that you do not miss out on invitations to recruitment fairs and other job search support activities.

Best Regards,

Supervision and Support Team

Ref Number : GX1187211 ATR_OMT_Reminder ATR OMT Reminder

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Opening at the high school? What opening?

An ATR, seeking placement write the UFT:

Dear Amy and Mike,

This is a follow up to my phone call last night. On the "good news", the environment at [a HS] is nothing less than refreshing compared to ______ HS. From the Principal to the teaching staff, I have not felt this welcome in weeks. The chapter chair here came over to me to introduce himself and also took my email to keep me in the loop at the school. What he also said, and I believe that it was given to all c.c. was that we are to be kept at our present location till the end of the school year. He had stated that it was to be included in city wide c.c. elections. It would be nice if we are to finish the school year in our present rotation.

On a "not so good news" event, I met the new social studies teacher for the _______ School [in mid-town]. Why am I telling you about this? When I applied and interviewed at that school in the first week of December, I was encouraged to formally apply for a formal interview by that principal. I never received a formal, nor was I surprised. What is upsetting is that because of the agreement between the UFT and the city on bloombitch's "fair funding" initiatives, senior aka higher paid teachers will, in most cases, be exempt from being able to get another position. It will also trap senior teachers in horrible, bloombitch-influenced principal, schools, where the only results will be ineffective ratings, forced retirements or worse.

The union MUST force the city to eliminate this farce. Thank you again for listening and supporting me in the past.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

My rotation assignment, my descent

An ATR writes, "My present rotation."

Amy Arundell, Mike Sill, and Michael Mulgrew,

     I am writing you to let you know that my present rotation is anything but pleasant.  I am not being abused or bullied but ignored by the staff.  I expect this from administrations, but from "fellow" teachers?  I say hello and what I usually get in return is a blank stare.  Half of these "teachers" will be gone in a few years only to be replaced with others of the same caliber.  They don't care that we are the results of a 12 year reign of terror.  They don't care that whatever we may forget they will NEVER know.  They don't care that we have been made as toxic as a super fund site.  What they do care about is how much money they may make if they stick it out for a few years.  I just had to introduce myself to the "chapter chair" in this school and she all but told me to leave.  This is what unity is about now?  Just ignore the Walking Dead and they'll be gone soon.  Is this what the union is telling them?  I surly hope not, because if we are pushed out none of you nor these so called teachers are ever going to be safe again.  We are their future, and if nothing is done to end this situation.  

  When I became a NYC teacher, back in 1995, I was so proud to be apart of a union that stood up for all teachers.  What I, and I might add, many "Walkers," have experienced over the past few years is the erosion of that union esprit de corps.  Now they are just as guilty in their treatment of us as some of the administrators. If we are to be a permanent segment and not returned to a full, appointed teacher status, as many of us know we are, the union needs to make it very plain that chapter chairs are the representatives of the UFT. If they don't care, how can we think that you care?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

ATRs need your help for an elected chapter, at the UFT Executive Board, Monday night

James Eterno and others will make the essential points stressing the need for ATRs to have their own UFT chapter, ATRs, being now distinctively institutionalized in Article 16 of the contract that the UFT agreed to with the NYC DOE last spring.

We need your assistance on Monday night from 5:30 pm-6:30 pm.  If you can be at 52 Broadway in Manhattan on the second floor, Absent Teacher Reserves and Leave Replacement Teachers would appreciate your support.

Absent Teacher Reserves and Leave Replacement Teachers have been asking for an ATR Chapter to represent our unique interests for a long time now.  We have filed a complaint with the UFT Executive Board concerning the Chapter Election process.  ATRs are being compelled to vote and run for office at schools we are just passing through in May and might know nothing about instead of being permitted to vote for our own ATR representatives.

Our letter of protest is on the ICE blog as is a summary of the UFT response.

On Monday May 4, the UFT Executive Board will officially respond to our complaint.  

ATRs need your support. 

We can appeal to the AFT and the US Department of Labor so the Executive Board won't be the final word.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

President Mulgrew: Do something about these absurd ATR observations

Many school chapter leaders are aghast at potentially career jeopardizing observations under substituting conditions. Yet, the logic of the controversy eludes the union which still staunchly opposes elected Absent Teacher Reserve representatives. And remember that UFT secretary Michael Mendel firmly endorsed observations of ATRs back at their pilot program introduction in a few Brooklyn districts in 2011.

Observation is covered at length in Article 6 the NYC DOE-UFT Memorandum of Agreement for the 2014 contract. However, observation is discussed nowhere in Article 16, the section which for the first time contractually institutionalizes the ATR condition. It is agreed between the City and the Union that ATRs are under observation conditions in "Teaching for the 21st Century." 

Yet, some observers (Field Supervisors) are doing the following which are outside of contractually sanctioned conduct for observing ATRs, and thus are grievable actions:
*Mandating use of the Common Core State Standards (mentioned only once, and parenthetically in the contract)
*Refusing oral or written requests for formal pre- and post- observation conferences
*Using Peer Validators (teachers or administrators serving as evaluators of other teachers, they receive $16,000 from the City on top of their regular salary)

Observation issues:

Regular classroom teachers do not leave lesson plans.
The city and union policy is that ATRs should bring in their own content. Students protest that this is inappropriate for the subject of the class session. ATRs are left with just saying that they are just following orders from higher up and that students should cooperate with the intrusion of the ATR's lesson agenda instead of the subject of the period.

ATRs have been observed and negatively rated when teaching a lesson in a content are outside of their own content area license or grade level.

ATRs are being judged when teaching lessons with students they do not know. They have been deprived of federally mandated access to Individual Education Plans (IEPs), yet have been judged by evaluators on their capacity to properly differentiate lessons. Teachers are judged as to having rapport with students, but as teachers do not know the students this is not possible to the ideal extent.
Teachers are expected to have classroom management over the students but as the students know, ATRs lack the grade or disciplinary authority over the students.
Teachers have sought and have been denied the opportunity to shadow a teacher in their content area and to be observed in that class.

Room issues:
Teachers have been denied proper preparation access to rooms for the purpose of setting up rooms for observations.

Teachers have been denied access to classroom technology. In worst case situations they have been denied passwords. In other situations they were not given full introduction and access by technology persons upon their assignment to the school. Often, the technology is nominally operative, but is not accessible to the ATR under observation.

School order and discipline:
There is an escalating crisis from the unregulated use of cellphones in class. Students text each other, play music and videos, shoot pictures and videos of teachers.
Yet, in many schools administrators do not act to squelch their use. Yet, teachers are expected to come into class and command attention of students.
And let's get real: when you were in school how many kids really did the work that a sub gave? So, why should it be realistic to expect that today's students would act any differently?
Did you ever think that a teacher's career would rest on whether kids did “it doesn't count” class work.
Inappropriate evaluator backgrounds and observations vs. student safety

esides the whole idea of being rated on observations, supervisors are not familiar with our grade level/subject area/school operations.

Informals make no sense. We could be anywhere. I was criticized for not assessing in a 15-minute informal when I'll never see these children again.

Being expected to do a whole lesson with all the components in elementary schools with little children during last period when dismissal safety is the priority, or first period when they are arriving and removing winter outer clothing, is obviously a setup. As a parent, I would sue the DOE if I knew an observation took priority over my child's well-being.

Peer observations - Teachers don't want to be observed and critiqued. Is this a way of creating distrust between us and colleagues?

We have been told by the UFT to cover lesson plans if left by the classroom teacher. Supervisors want us to go beyond teachers' directions.

Ask teachers where they send their children to school and why. I would never put my child into this nonsense.

I have not had access to training in the reading and math programs being used now and it was implied that this was my fault. Plus, the Pearson reading program is so inappropriate that schools are discontinuing its use.

Have I said enough? I hope the UFT listens.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How will UFT president Mulgrew prevent more up-skirt teacher shots from going Facebook?

In case you missed this item in the New York Post, just days after mayor de Blasio lifted the cellphone ban, one Brooklyn high school student used his cellphone to shoot an up-skirt shot of his Spanish teacher. Subsequently, the photo went viral on Facebook. Fortunately, conscientious students reported the controversy to school authorities.

His mother? She defended her ninth grade son, saying that the teacher's skirt was provocative. The teacher's parents are threatening to sue the city.