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

Sunday, March 29, 2015

An ATR responds to the Post's anti-teacher opinion column

Subject: Today's Post Opinion

Dear Mr. Cunningham,
(Editorial-page editor) 

  Do you really believe that the educational crisis in our country stems from the abundance of incompetent teachers or is there another agenda you are fostering?
  It is really not a sensible premise when it is seriously analyzed.

  Teachers have a Masters Degree-plus, in their subject areas. They must go through three years of probation in which they are observed multiple times. How then can there be so many incompetent teachers?
Rather, the problem in education stems from a system that socially promotes rather than holds students to high standards and accountability.  It is also a cultural problem of entitlement instead of valuing achievement. 

 Standardized testing is an important assessment that has revealed the low levels of student performance. Many would like to bury their heads in the sand by ending standardized tests.  However, holding teachers accountable for student test performance is unacceptable as there are many factors that contribute that are out of teachers' control. Testing has always been an assessment tool of monitoring how well the student has learned but at the end of the day, it is the student's responsibility.  Did the student pay attention in class, do homework, study for exams? Was the student excessively absent? All these are critical factors in the learning process.

  Making teachers scapegoats for the failing system will only weaken our educational institutions further. We are going down the wrong path and heading for the cliff.

  The one issue that I agreed with in your editorial was your opposition to weakening the NYC Discipline Code.  The main deterrent to learning in our public schools is a lack of student discipline. Charter schools seem to understand this principle that an environment conducive to learning must be achieved for learning to take place.

  Your paper is also way off base on the ATR issue. These educators should be placed in vacancies (they are employed by the DOE not the individual school) and evaluated like other teachers. Instead, they are stigmatized and vilified for being in the ATR pool. The City wastes over 100 million a year by its policy, as well as maintaining a central ATR unit with 30 roving supervisors.

 There is so much "wrong thinking" concerning education. If you want to "fix" the system, one must have the courage to address the real problems. Maybe, you should consult with teachers for real insight. 
James Calantjis
Public School Educator

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