ATRs, the unrepresented -- no elected representatives in the UFT
"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.
"To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another."
Thomas Paine, First Principles of Government
Saturday, January 25, 2014
1) Based on DOE documents ACRs/ATRs have obtained, roughly 3/4 of displaced staff are in pool because of school closings or co-locations
2) Displaced as ACR/ATR due to fraudulent charges
a) any student charge will be validated if the principal or the investigator wishes, with principals freely soliciting fabricated stories made up on the spot
b) teachers surviving the accusation stage pay a mob-style shakedown fine and then return to the classroom
3) Vast majority of teachers (80%) at the last figure in long term assignments had satisfactory ratings (May 2011 Gotham Schools); others are getting their first U ratings observations while in rotation, with coverage (substitute) classes they just met, have no relationship with, do not have the power of entering a grade for them, do not have the parent or guardian phone numbers for them.
Positions are eliminated as UFT reading volunteer program undercuts literacy coach positions, as teachers are given college adviser duties for advisories, undercutting guidance counselors, as many guidance and social work positions over-all are given to outside private contractors.
4) Principals have played favorites and have replaced ACRs/ATRs with their own staff preferences
5) Not hired because fair student funding has encouraged principals to hire cheaper teachers
a) job fairs are a fraud
b) at the fairs established teachers are forced to compete with Teaching Fellows, Teach for America recruits and other new people
c) experienced educators are passed over for positions for which they are qualified, while unqualified teachers take their place
Instead of fighting the displacement process the UFT has repeated the DOE line that we need to retool our resumes or beef up our wardrobes. We are supposed to be protected by tenure. Why is the union cooperating with this tenure-crushing ploy that we need to reapply for jobs? This is a back-handed breaking of tenure. ACRs/ATRs did not leave their jobs. They were displaced as new hires took the places they would have had when new schools replaced old schools.
The union seems to have forgotten that by ignoring the hiring of Teacher for America recruits and other novice teachers, the DOE violated on-again, off-again hiring freezes, freezes that they used to insist on. The DOE opened the door for their displacement of veterans with the excuse that they filled shortage areas, then the UFT allowed that to happen for all licences.
Here are some of the stories of how ACRs/ATRs entered the pool. We tell them, since the UFT gives us no page in the union newspaper.
I am a guidance counselor, excessed by new principal because she said she had no money in budget to pay my salary, and she illegally lowered my caseload to 11 students. Yet she hired another gc for a few days a week, instead of keeping me for those days. Where is the help the UFT promised us? Several principals have said to me that no money in budget is no excuse.
The school that I taught in for twelve years was closed,and I was put into the ATR pool. In thirty years of teaching I have 1) been teacher of the year, 2) had thirty years of satisfactory ratings, 3) been one of the teachers that was asked to create the music curriculum that the city used, 4) helped several students get scholarships, 5) had the highest number of students from any one junior-high school in the all-city junior high school orchestra, 6) trained students that have gone on to professional careers in music. I have been completely ignored ten times when I have applied for positions that were posted via the DOE website. On the two occasions when I was asked to come to a group interview, all of the other candidates (who for the most part were much younger that me) gave up and said "there is no way that we can compete with this guy". However, I was never even invited back for the second round of interviews. So far this school year, as I have been traveling through the schools (which I don't mind so much really) I have come across three of my former students who are now teachers, and they all said that I helped to inspire them to become teachers (guess I haven't done such a bad job after all).
Then there is this testimony, which echoes disturbing stories that are coming in privately every few days: that ATRs are getting U ratings for observations of lessons in substitute situations. The UFT knows that the DOE wins nearly every U rating appeal, yet it agreed to this evaluation program from the outset, going along with the ploy that this was just a pilot program in just a few districts. What a way to end a career.
I am 64, after 18 years of service my school closed and was replaced by two new schools with young principals who in turn hired young, inexperienced teachers. During 18 years, I never received a U rating. Recently, I was observed out of my subject and grade, and I received my first U because I could not control three students. I was told that even though I did not know their names and they did not know me, I am supposed to be able to control them and teach, although their own classroom teacher could not control them. I will retire soon in Florida.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Yet a year later, the union dropped the suit. Today the age discrimination problem remains. By our survey of our members, which comprise one-tenth of the number in the excess staff (ATR) pool, 86% polled are 50 years of age or older.
Chaz's School Daze wrote on the issue:
Saturday, January 18, 2014
“Places, Everyone!”- in Which the Former ATR Plays the Role of Obedient Minion. Or Not. And All the UFT Reps are Going By the Same Script.
. I guess looking at me (I am one of those people who burns in 15 minutes with SPF 512) didn’t give them a clue. Riiiiiiight.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Saturday, January 11, 2014
(Since this post went up the teacher is out of the school.)
From December 17:
Today, on December 17, 2013, I arrived to school 2.5 hours late (interesting number, because I started work at the school 2.5 months after the start of school in September). A blind gentleman and his seeing eye dog fell onto the tracks at 125th Street on the A,B and C line in Harlem. The delay of my train made me so late for work that I missed my first class, my second class, my prep, and 10 or so minutes of my 4th period class.
When I entered my classroom, there was an ATR covering my class. The kids were upset with me because they claim that I failed them. According to my directives from the principal and AP, my job was to enter grades on skedula.com and make sure to input all work received. So, I did that. Skedula then calculates their grades. How hard can that be to understand? Well, the kids are of the "get over mentality". The kids say, "if we're in class everyday, doing your work, why don't we pass"? I told them that the marking period started prior to my getting the job, but all of their work from Oct. 21 - Dec. 6 counted. The other kids who did the work received credit, and those who did not do the work, got a zero for every assignment missed. 60% of the grade is classwork. They were in class, some anyway, many not, and did not do their classwork.
I told them two weeks ahead of the end of the cycle that I would be collecting notebooks to see what they had done while I was not their teacher. Few had done the work, many had a name on the page or handout and little else. Some had aims and do-nows, but no work. Some had name, aim, do now, and 1 vocabulary word out of 5 and the 3 questions were missing. To me that would be a 0 or a 55 or something between those 2 grades.
So, the kids were all cussing up a storm. They were upset with me, the "bitch" who "fuckin' failed me". I told them that if they wanted to know how their grades were calculated, that I would talk to them after class.
They said "no, tell us now." So, I did what they wanted and I had their graded work, and a list of other work that they had done on a sheet of paper. So, I gave back the work, and stopped along each table to talk to the student. I told each student, this is what you gave me, and I gave them their work back, and then I showed them my sheet of work they had shown me.
I then told them that there were 32 assignments consisting of Classwork, Exams, Participation, and HW. I gave them ample opportunity to find the work, to do the work when I was out with bronchitis, to get on an online website and do HW assignments that I set up. Every opportunity that was given, I gave them.
So, as I went from kid to kid, one kid called me a bitch for failing a "good student", someone he thought was a good student. Then, other trouble makers let me know what they thought of "my" failing their friends. So, I had gone around.
Then, this one kid, continues to say "fuck you...on and on...then, when I went closer to him, I asked him to stop, "your behavior is not appropriate and I will submit a referral"..So, he continued with that same phrase over and over, then, out of no where, he says "I can kill you, I can stab you, I can shoot you"! I thought that he was out of his mind. So, I wrote this down on my pad. And as I was going to move back to my desk, he slaps my left hand hard, and knocks my anecdotal book to the floor.
I go to pick it up, and he had, in his hand, a plastic bottle that he had been squeezing flatter and flatter. He had it clenched in his hand. And before I made it back up with the pad, the boy punches me in the back of my head, with the bottle in his hand. I felt and heard the sound of the punch and the bottle as it hit me in the head. I was in shock!
I had the pad in my hand, I got my cellphone, ran across the hall to the "dean's office" (dean was arrested last week when a kid accosted him and he tried to defend himself. The videotape shows the dean hitting the kid. But when the kid was beating the dean up in the classroom, there was no videotape. And everyone in the building acts like it never happened. The dean is no longer an employee of the NYC DOE. He is a 17 year vet, married, with 5 kids and a mortgage.)
The woman across the hall who works in the dean's office, asked me to identify the kid. When I went with her back to my room, while dialing 911, I pointed to him. The 911 dispatcher asked me what happened and I told her that I needed the police because of what this kid had done...I'm still on the phone with 911 and the boy I identified to the woman, gets up suddenly. Within 1 second, he flips my 60 pound desk upside down, took all of my stuff and shattered and destroyed all of my things. Debris was flying everywhere. It was chaos. He took the white board and rammed it into the wall, and he kept going. I had already given the info to the dispatcher, somehow got my coat and backpack, and was running to the principal's office for safety.
The kid was arrested, thrown in jail. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. I was in the emergency room for 7 hours. I was given a CT Scan after being there for 5 hours. The results came back after another 1.5 hours. Then, I was released with a mild concussion. I got a note from the doc. I'm out until January. I will no longer work at that school. It should be shutdown, period! There is no reason why a failing school should be allowed to operate. If the kids are not going to school, and may come in high on weed, or drunk, or are violent, or have no school supplies, then maybe this idea of keeping it open is not a good one. Shut it down,now!
I must tell you that I have one more problem. I am now a victim 7 times over. I have been assaulted and/or threatened with violence 7 times over the last two years and 2.5 months. I forget to eat, I'm nervous going into the school. I fear the students. Seriously! I am so stressed out that I can't do things the way I used to. My poor 8 year old has a mom who looks unhappy most of the time. I am so stressed out I have to chant mantras to myself everyday, almost every class, in hopes that my day won't be ruined by some emotionally disturbed kids, or some of my kids may not have taken their meds, or a kid does something outrageous.
Everyday I walk in, I walk in ready to teach, ready to have a good day. But then, reality strikes me when I enter the school's front doors, and run up those stairs, that attack my back and knees as I ascend them. I see the unclean place that I call work, and the faces of my students cutting classes, and the ignorance and anger mix together and my heart starts to race and I want to turn around and run out the door, but I can't. I have to work. I don't have the luxury of not working.
To top that all off, the administration seems to think that they hired me in September. I have not read enough UDL, Danielson, CCSS, learned to read IEPs, lesson plans the way the principal "encourages" us to write them (in fact, I have not found ONE person who even writes lesson plans in CCSS, BRIA fashion at all!!), I cannot meet the incredible high standards that they have laid out for me. I was never even given an IPC (Initial Planning Conference to sign off on how I would like to be evaluated, and all the things the principal would like to see..ad nauseam).
It all boils down to this...Teaching was my career. It has been ruined by, not a few students or administrators, but by many. I didn't sign on to be humiliated, abused, victimized, and depressed. No, no, I did not. Not. Not. Not.
My dream as an educator was to teach and to learn and to inspire and to excite and to help students envision a life where they too can teach, whether in a classroom, or a boardroom, or anywhere else. It has always been my dream to create wonderful students who will go out and lead our country into a future that allows everyone to thrive.
Before another teacher walks into another classroom, I suggest we picket the Mayor's Office and get legislation that puts thugs like the one who walloped me today into a closed school setting, where kids can be monitored, behaviors and bad attitudes can be modified to help the child live more happily and lovingly, those who need meds or therapy can get it right there on campus. We have got to come to our senses. By allowing students to harm the very leaders, we as educators are, is tantamount to having an Anarchistic Government. No rules! No consequences! No Values! No Morals! No Respect! Everything goes to hell!
From January 1:
I was assaulted at Bread and Roses high school on December 17, 2013, when a student with a plastic bottle in his hand, punched me in the back of the head. He then went on to ransack my classroom.
I was sent to the emergency room, and he was sent to jail. While the physical pain and injuries healed, the emotional trauma has not.
At this school, last year, three teachers were assaulted. Now, from December 3 -18, 2013, three teachers were assaulted. The dean was assaulted on December 3rd, I was assaulted on December 17, and yet another teacher has been assaulted on the 18th.
Six assaults in two school years. Six teachers hurt. How many of us need to be assaulted before an investigation is done on the school and the principal, Dr. Rodney Lofton?
I have called and sent emails to all of my representatives: Letiticia James, NYC Public Advocate; Jumanne Williams, City Council member from Brooklyn, where I reside, and Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President.
I gave them all of the phone numbers to the principal, Amy Arundell and Felicia Eugene.
I'm outraged that they would either by acting or failing to act, put me back in a school where I was assaulted, and a total of 6 teachers, including myself were assaulted.
I hope that I am moved before I step foot in that very violent school.
Unsafe! Unsafe! Unsafe!
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Forced placement today; denied hiring opportunities yesterday. A look back to the truth on job fairs.
Marc Epstein's article in the Huffington Post two years ago reminds us of how we were denied consideration in invitation-only hiring halls. Some DOE hiring fairs were specifically only for new teachers, while there was a "hiring freeze".