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


WE ARE ALL ATRs

WE ARE ALL ATRs

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Official UFT meetings for ATRs are coming soon, starting this Tuesday

Initially, this semester there was no news of UFT ATR meetings, but there was news of career training meetings, "Success Strategies for ATRs," that we would have to pay $10 for. This fiasco was covered by the Chaz blog a short while back. Why should we have to pay for a training? This is our union. We should be getting meetings and trainings, without special fees.

Now, the UFT has announced that it is granting official meetings for ATRs, a month later than usual. But similar to previous years, some of the meetings are being scheduled on days when there are mandatory school meetings we as NYC DOE teachers must attend, for parent-teacher conferences. The latter are absurd in themselves, as we only know these students short term, and often just days before the meeting.

Does the UFT really not want ATRs to attend informational meetings? They don't want us in the same place, so that we can see that these are AARP gatherings? Or for the reason that too many of us might have important questions?

We should ask for honest responses on what the DOE-UFT side agreement to the contract stipulates to us -what does the sunsetting of the ATR side agreement mean for any changes for us this year, on whether anything has changed in conditions that we can expect with field supervisor meetings and observations, on the union's progress in opposing the Fair Student Funding (FSF) fiasco (the true reason why we are not truly hired at schools), on what the union is doing to combat the media smears against ATRs, on what the union is doing to make sure that schools can tolerate actual safety threats to teachers. Chaz recently discussed the FSF policy and certain media talking point myths against ATRs here. (In addition to opposing ATRs for monetary issues, the DOE does not want ATRs because they as veteran teachers carry an institutional memory of the DOE BOE pre-Bloomberg when schools functioned better and teachers were treated with more dignity.)

When will the UFT stop playing along with the DOE's fictions, like we don't get hired because  any issue other than our higher cost? When will the UFT stop playing along with the DOE script that the field supervisors are here to find us positions when the UFT knows full well that their function is to meet a quota to terminate us? When will the UFT publicly call out that the field supervisors ultimately play no useful function for the students or for the teachers? The UFT knows full well that the DOE each year hires five to six thousand new teachers a year when it can draw from the pool? When will the UFT confront the DOE's preference to keep certain positions unfilled, with a rotating teacher every one to four weeks, rather than place a teacher, many of these classes being in Regents exam subjects?

Usually the union likes to focus on what the schools can or cannot do with ATRs or issues like bathroom keys, but we should also press issues that cut to our ability to keep our jobs. Why won't the UFT enforce the contract and force schools to humanely furnish us with critical keys or secure lockers for our belongings?

Informational meetings will take place in each of the UFT borough offices:
Brooklyn, 335 Adams St.
Tuesday, Nov. 1, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Bronx, 2500 Halsey St.
Thursday, Nov. 3, 4 to 6 p.m.
Manhattan, 52 Broadway
Monday, Nov. 14, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Queens, 97-77 Queens Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Staten Island, 4456 Amboy Rd.
Thursday, Nov. 17, 4 to 6 p.m.
You are welcome to attend the session that is most convenient for you. We hope to see you there.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

ATR's letter, on legal issues we face

A letter by an ATR to attorney Maria Chickedantz:

Dear Ms. Chickedantz,

   I thought I would present my views on the ATR issue to you by e-mail, for discussion at the April 20th scheduled meeting.

   I recently retired after 25+ years as a secondary high school Social Studies teacher. From March 2011 until my retirement, I was an ATR, rotating among Queens High Schools.

   I contend that the DOE treatment of ATRs has been arbitrary and capricious, violating the UFT contract and resulting in discrimination in the work place.

   Reasons:

1) There is no written policy by the DOE stating expectations and responsibilities for ATRs. The schools do not expect us to teach lessons or have lesson plans, yet many of the DOE roving supervisors do. As ATRs, we are substitutes, and are expected to carry out lesson materials that are left by the absentee teacher. It is accepted that it is the school's responsibility to provide lesson materials if none is left by the absentee teacher. Yet, there are roving supervisors who expect to see ATRs with generic lesson plans, teaching classes, even outside their lesson areas, which is unrealistic, setting up the teacher for failure. 

2) Again, without any written policy, the DOE allows the roving supervisors to observe an ATR in a teaching capacity, with a class and students the ATR is not familiar with. Again, this is arbitrary and capricious, setting the teacher up for failure. These observations have nothing to do with our job duties as ATRs, covering classes for absentee teachers. It also violates the UFT contract, Article 7A, which stipulates that teachers must have programs with specific subjects and classes. Since ATRs do not,they can not be fairly evaluated as teachers.

3) The evaluation system by roving supervisors is arbitrary and capricious because not every ATR is assigned one. In the three years roving supervisors  were in place, I had one only one year.

4) Principals and DOE abuse ATRs by using them to cover teaching  assignments with out hiring permanently. Principals are not charged for ATRs that are used provisionally and thus save money by dismissing them at end of semester.

5) Even though there are generally over 1000 ATRs in any given school year, the DOE discriminates by hiring between 4 and 5 thousand new teachers annually

Solution:

DOE must place ATRs in available positions on a permanent basis by seniority, before hiring new teachers. In this way, they can be fairly evaluated like other teachers.This also solves the problem of an ATR pool for the future.

Thank you for your consideration in possible litigation on behalf of ATRs. The UFT does not choose to advocate for us.


Sincerely,

James Calantjis