Hello, ATRs are suing

Monday, February 13, 2017

Why is the UFT allowing supervision of ATRs by two different types of supervisor? Or 'The stealth revision of the contract'

Beware the agreements that the UFT gets from the NYC DOE. It usually means something toxic has become in the power of the DOE. Witness the end of seniority transfer. Witness the forced overtime at the schools under the guise of professional development.

Now we are hearing all over that the DOEUFT has a new protocol, that as part of the end of rotation of ATRs that we will be observed by the roving field supervisor as well as the school administration. Clearly, this is a breach of the contract.

Notice how there have been big changes in the ATR experience almost immediately after the new chief supervisor of ATRs, Randy Asher (former principal at Brooklyn Technical High School, reviewed here) took over. ATRs are being held in one school until June. And ATRs are now being told that their field supervisor will be observing as well as the school administration.

WE NEED A GRIEVANCE AGAINST THE UNION: IT HAS FAILED TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH. IT HAS FAILED TO COMMUNICATE. ONCE PER YEAR, AT MEETINGS THAT ARE ILL-ANNOUNCED, IS NOT SUFFICIENT. ISN'T THIS LESS FREQUENT THAN THE LEGAL REQUIREMENT? ARE THERE ANY ATRS REPRESENTING US IN THE NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE DOE? IF SO, WHO ARE THEY? WHEN DO THESE REPS MEET WITH THE DOE? Isn't it interesting that other UFT members are better informed and have more frequent meetings?

Apparently, the UFT has allowed the DOE to circumvent the contract. What other bags of tricks are coming? Why did the DOE just drop people into assignments last Monday without so much a notice of what they would be doing? Couldn't emails have been sent alerting teachers what they would be teaching? Or couldn't the field supervisors have sent these messages? Will the school administration try to use Danielson/Advance on us? These are evaluation systems that ATRs have not had proper training or introduction for. Why are ATRs not getting meetings of the sort that we get in October, to clarify the new protocols for the use and observation of ATRs? Why are we getting no official statement to ATRs?

Of course, this leads to a host of other questions, many of which ATRs have been asking for quite a while. Is it any wonder? This is regarding a union-city relationship that has our leaders openly endorsing mayor Bill De Blasio without so much as a membership discussion and vote, a mayor that is really Term Four of Mike Bloomberg, great chutzpah when the city is targeting teachers just as fiercely as ever. Why don't we have a page in the UFT's 'New York Teacher'? Why don't we have a chapter? Why don't we have clear official stats on the numbers of teachers truly placed (not simply temporarily placed for a month or until June)? Why do we get no information about changes from the district representatives, and instead only get happy "how are you?" visits, free of any meaningful substance as to the new topsy turvy conditions we've been thrown into?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Former ATR sets things straight with the New York Post on pass-fail rates and college readiness

A happily retired ATR, pens another on point letter to 'The New York Post.'

  The NY Post article by Alex Taylor and Selim Algar, focuses on Bronxdale HS, where 76% of students graduate but only 4% are ready for college. The school scored an "excellent" rating  in the DOE's "rigorous instruction" category. Red flag?

  This discrepancy between graduation and college ready data is common in our public schools.

  Why is there there such a disconnect between graduation and college ready data?

 The reason is that our public schools are not holding our students to high academic standards and have created a climate where students do not have to become educated to earn a diploma. Homework is no longer important nor studying for exams. Social promotions allow students to move on and graduate through inflated grades, low standards and easy "credit recovery" options at the high school level Discipline rules have been watered down so that students are setting the tone and teachers have no backing from administrators.Our middle schools have the lowest achievement levels. Absenteeism and cutting of classes is rampant and usually not a criteria for passing.

  Those who run our school system are afraid to hold our students to high standards in academics and behavior because they know there will be student resistance. Students have become accustomed to low expectations and easy work over the years. They know rules and requirements can be broken with little consequence.

  It is time to be honest about the faults of our public schools. If not, charter schools will continue to grow The Charters that emphasize and enforce standards and demand an educational climate for learning will have success.

 No amount of money will improve our public schools. Blaming our teachers for the failure of students to learn is dishonest. Giving "lip service" to parent involvement while undermining School Leadership Teams as governing bodies is hypocritical.

 The public school system is rotting away and will not be transformed until we have courageous leadership that is ready to rock the system.


James Calantjis