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

Hello, ATRs are suing

Friday, May 30, 2014

The tentative UFT contract's "problematic" clause seems legally dubious

As writers at the ICEUFT blog have emphasized the standard for discipline of ATRs is tricky: "The “Problematic” Language is Not the Only Part of the Agreement that is Problematic". It is based on a label of behavior as "problematic;" but this is troublesome, as the term is not precisely defined in the tentative DOE-UFT 2014 contract.

The beginning of the article describes the fast-track expedited dealing with targeted ATRs:

Principal removal of ATR after assignment. Under the proposed contract a principal (not the teacher) has the complete discretion to return a teacher to the ATR pool. If the return is based on “problematic behavior,” defined as “behavior that is inconsistent with the expectations established for professionals working in school.” An ATR accused in two writings within two years of this “problematic behavior” may be accused of a “pattern of problematic behavior” which can become the basis of an “expedited 3020-a hearing” in which a hearing must be completed in one day (half day to each side) within 20 days that the teacher requests a hearing. The decision must be made within 15 days of the hearing date.

The article closes with this conclusion which sums up how this sets a bad precedent for teachers in general, going into the future.
The acceptance of this procedure as a perceived benefit signals our union’s position in future contracts where it appears all teachers will “enjoy” the benefit of expedited and ill-defined termination proceedings.
This proposal is anathema to the good order of the teaching profession and must be completely understood before it is blindly accepted.

Another ICEUFT blogpost addresses how Mulgrew is conceding the ability for the "problematic" to be determined by others in the future. (May 13: "Mulgrew Admits He'll Leave Critical Issues to Others in Proposed Contract.")

This contract rests on disciplining teachers by terms that will be figured out at sometime down the line. Essentially, this has the potential of handing to arbitrators a blank slate on which to write discipline law. This overrides the state's 3020-a law, taking away some of the protections that law has offered. How could the UFT lawyers on the negotiating team agree to this provision?

The UFT has not explained to its members these precedents in discipline and rule setting.

1 comment:

  1. This is so unjust. How can they give the power for the laws on ATRs to be made up in the future as they go along?
    This profiling brings to mind the predictive policing in the movie, "Minority Report" where the police target people before they have committed the crime.
    Are we bringing Texas-style police justice here?