Secondly, Carmen Farina and Randy Asher (the new chief supervisor of ATRs) have openly declared that the city is aiming to drastically thin the herd, by possibly 50 percent. Sure, this is wrapped in language of "reducing" the pool; but ATRs have heard too many stories of able ATRs being harassed out of their positions. The "reduction" plan smells to the ATRs like a liquidation plan.
The buzz in the newspapers just seems too coincidental. Most of the city non-TV media outlets, including most of the daily newspapers, were running stories about problem teachers returning to the classroom. The one after another pacing of the stories suggests that the DOE might have ignited this with a press release of talking points. This is virtually designed to create a base of hostile parents resenting “those teachers teaching my child," which is sure to set up teachers for trouble in an already challenging assignment, being force placed in October.
The UFT totally failed the ATRs by letting this media smear campaign go on without an equally loud union campaign defending the ATRs. The union should have pointed out that the teachers in the pool that had faced charges (usually around one-fourth of the Absent Teacher Reserve pool) have been exonerated. The city’s placing “problem marks” on teachers is double jeopardy (a subsequent attempt to try and punish someone that has already been cleared of charges, something that is illegal in the United States to impose on the accused). Those ATRs that had been accused have been found as not deserving to be fired. The UFT needs to make the point that not all accusations against teachers are true and that the bar for getting teachers charged with something under Bloomberg was dropped really low. And, the UFT needs to acknowledge and publicize the fact that the majority of ATRs are from schools that had closed down or had lost numbers of teaching positions.
Randy Asher's own problematic history needs to be brought up. He was "managing" Brooklyn Tech High School while he was slow and inept to work on some creepy teachers that we were in need of punitive action. New York magazine reported his history in "Brooklyn Tech Student Sues City Over Creepy, Cross-dressing Teacher." Yet, the city cooperates with the principals union in making sure that truly problem administrators will always find a new job. So, instead of firing Asher or demoting him to an AP position or a classroom position, he is empowered with drastically "thinning the herd" of ATRs. This is very hypocritical for someone with such poor professional judgment in his prior DOE administration job.
In fact, now with Farina’s new get extremely tougher campaign the DOE is taking a very hostile tone by putting letters in files against teachers that have had bathroom challenges. This case involves the DOE actually penalizing a teacher that has bowel difficulties. It's bad enough having embarassing toilet "accidents;" but this penality is additionally humiliating. The bar has dropped even lower than the Bloomberg era.
Then, we have the issue of ATRs and supervision. How is it that ATRs are going to have double supervision (the UFT is cooperating with extension of the field supervisor pursuit of ATRs, even while they have been assigned for a half year or nearly a whole year to a regular assignment in a school). ATRs are going to be supervised by principals and by field supervisors. It is unfair in relation to regularly assigned teachers who do not have to essentially face two principals. And common sense will say that however the principal feels is how the Field Supervisor will treat the teacher. This is not neutral. The principal & Field Sup plan is a tag teaming and the UFT is expecting the ATRs to be gullible for falling for this.
The DOE and the UFT have had the side agreement in the works for assignment and supervision of ATRs settled for a few months now. Why did the union allow months to elapse before properly briefing us on the new changes? The union's very unprofessional procrastination on a very important task is irresponsible and is leaving ATRs vulnerable to a weak transition back to regular classroom assignments.
Here are just some of the other questions that ATRs should pose to the UFT's ATR liasions next week:
*When will the UFT step up to bat on our getting seniority for job openings? The city hires new teachers when experienced ATRs are available.
*Why won't the UFT give us straight answers about how many ATR pool members get truly hired or picked up by schools? They dodge and refer to ATRs as being assigned. They always promote sending our resume around or shining in our performance. But ATRs know many of their own kind and no of hardly any that ever get picked up.
Tuesday, Oct. 10
Wednesday, Oct. 11