Hello, ATRs are suing

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?


  1. I think you must mean that they cannot find teaching placements only temporary provisional placements if at all or Absence coverage placements for permanent teachers who are on leave . Because of the "fair student funding formula", unless changed by the current Mayor and Chancellor, we will never be placed in permanent placements regardless of our S ratings especially with in the provision addressing ATRs of the MOA Article 16 of the contract and the use of the former teacher evaluation system only for ATRs ( see http://www.uft.org/files/attachments/teaching-for-the-21st-century.pdf) is how they will evaluate our "performance" in na ATR rotation placements. We know what this means an increase of U ratings of good teachers in the ATR pool and worse Field supervisors misusing this protocol including making false official statements in annual performance reviews in writing leading to 3020a charges and proceedings.

  2. You should look into why job specific titles have been pulled from the open market. This has been done for a very specific reason. Arundel knows why. Let's all call and ask her.

  3. This whole situation is ridiculous! Let's take a moment to examine the facts:
    -When there are vacancies principals fill them with new teachers, while veteran teachers have to act as substitutes.
    -Principals hire based on economy rather than quality, thereby not hiring ATR veteran teachers.
    -Nonetheless, ATRs are required to go on mandatory interviews, and if two are missed, the ATR is considered as having resigned.
    -ATRs have a different set of rules, including being written up by field supervisors and subjected to expedited 3020a hearings, based on vague labels of "problematic behavior."
    -ATRs have to be on rotated assignments with no capability of setting down roots at any particular site, where no storage space or bathroom/room keys are provided. In addition, they may be given any work assignment: covering classes out of license, answering phones, stamping books, etc.
    -There is no real support to help ATRs to secure teaching positions, including as the previous writer indicates, that titles section of the Open Market has been taken away.
    -The UFT still charges each ATR $54.87 per pay period, equaling $1316.88 a year in dues!
    At minimum, the class action lawsuits should request a return of these dues, and punitive damages for fraudulently taking money from members who are ATRs and not representing them! No other union would allow this!

    By the way, where can I find more information about these class action lawsuits?

    1. I think that's one of the main reasons the job specific titles have been taken down. It's proof of discrimination by the NYCDOE. The UFT is complicit.