Monday, November 23, 2015
The field supervision program deceives on its pledge to help place teachers, so why does the UFT support the DOE's program?
The United Federation of Teachers backs the New York City DOE's observation program of teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve. Read this 2011 post which reported the UFT's Secretary Michael Mendel's endorsement of observations of ATRs in rotation. Yet, the UFT ignores the fact that the field supervisors do not help ATRs find jobs, in spite of the script that field supervisors recite on their first meeting with ATRs under their supervision, “my job is to help find you a position.” The DOE and Unity-UFT cannot point to any evidence of how the field supervisor's work contributes to ATRs' finding positions. All together, the UFT is complicit with the DOE. Given the facts of the observation program in actual practice, the field supervisor's function is to harass veteran teachers into quitting. It is no wonder that ATRs are coming together for class action lawsuits.
If field supervisors are finding teachers to be satisfactory two, three, four years in a row, why are they not taking these assessments and using these judgments to help refer ATRs jobs for positions? As there are no sincere efforts to place ATRs, it is inherently evident DeBlasio-Farina are continuing Bloomberg's attack on senior teachers. Thus, term one of mayor DeBlasio's administration is to the right of the first two and a half terms of Mike Bloomberg's administration (that is, 2002-2011), when that mayor placed excessed teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, etc.
So, the question is, why is the UFT so adamant about backing the field supervision program? It has never criticized the program in principle. The closest it has come to criticize the program has been when Amy Arundell has complained in yearly ATR informational meetings of a few bad apple field supervisors. The UFT has not sent to every ATR notice of their rights to be observed under the conditions of "Teaching for the 21 Century." The UFT has not posted notice of this on their website. True, the UFT has posted the document but it has failed to give the link the prominence that it warrants. Is it any wonder that the ICEUFT blog in "Queens UFT to ATRs: We'll Fight YOur Unsatisfactory Observations Only When Admin. Tries to Terminate You," called the observation program a colossal fraud? As the ICEUFT blog pointed out these observations violate the spirit of Article 8J of the contract. (Note that since that March 12, 2014 post it has become evident that the DeBlasio administration DOE has increased the rate of U-ratings based on observations. Furthermore, the DOE has initiated 3020a termination proceedings against many victims of these pedagogically unsound observations, with not a peep of protest from UnityUFT.)
It could be that the UFT is trying to play nice with the sister union, the supervisors' union. If the program field supervision/observing ATRs under substituting situations is eliminated, then the roving administrators stand to lose their positions. The UFT is known to play friendly with the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA). See, for example, this notice of a UFT/CSA District 26 social. The UFT's support for the field supervision program gives critical support for this jobs program for excessed and retired administrators. Shouldn't the UFT advocate for ATRs first and play chummy with the CSA second?