And also remember that it was the UFT's Secretary, Michael Mendel, that said it was all proper for ATRs to be observed in subbing circumstances in Fall 2011, when the UFT agreed to the change from placement of ATRs to rotation of ATRs. Many ATRs are now facing termination after observations in these inappropriate settings. In a new precedent: ATRs are receiving termination letters well in advance of the end of the term in June.
The author at the Chaz blog wrote a very good analysis of Mendel's tenure in the UFT leadership. He took important steps that have been important setbacks for veteran teacher in general and ATRs in particular, on issues ranging from the seniority transfer, to Fair Student Funding, to dealings with the DOE.
Here is Michael Mendel's 2011 letter sanctioning the "trial" program of ATR observations in certain Brooklyn districts. Notice how the slippery slope of trial allowed this program to progress, with no review as to how the observers operated.
The UFT has been informed that the DOE will implement a new supervisory system for ATRs in Brooklyn community school districts (Districts 13-23 and 32) and Brooklyn high school superintendency (District 73). They have labeled it a pilot, though they did not indicate how or when the pilot would be evaluated; nor have they indicated if or when they would extend this system to other ATRs. We were informed about this plan, but had no input into it. I am writing to assure you that the union will continue to make sure that your rights as a UFT member are not violated and your professionalism as a teacher is respected.
The DOE has created a new position, that of field supervisor, with the intent that field supervisors will provide some measure of evaluative continuity to the members whom they observe and to whom they provide professional feedback. They have done this because state law requires that all teachers must be evaluated and rated.
As always, the UFT will monitor the implementation of this new system carefully to make sure that it is implemented appropriately (e.g., that members are observed on things like classroom management, and not on things like content when they are teaching out of license — in other words, things that make sense). We will address concerns that come up with the DOE immediately. Above all, we will continue to hold the DOE’s feet to the fire on the main tenet of the June ATR agreement, which is to fill all long-term absences and leaves with ATRS and to help members in the Absent Teacher Reserve find permanent positions.
We know that you play a valuable role in virtually every city school, under often challenging circumstances, and that your contributions are often unrecognized. We are committed to ensuring that ATRs are treated like professionals and are working to make sure this new supervisory system does that.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact your district representative or Amy Arundell at firstname.lastname@example.org.