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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Delegates that support ACRs/ATRs and educators will support these resolutions at Wednesday's UFT Delegate Assembly

Resolution for Full Union Representation for ATRs
Please raise for NEXT MONTH’S AGENDA

Whereas, the Delegate Assembly is the highest policy making body in the United Federation of
Teachers, and
Whereas, federal labor law requires that policy making bodies within a union be democratically
elected with each member entitled to a vote, and
Whereas, Absent Teacher Reserves (ATRs) are not entitled to vote in Chapter Elections unless they
happen to be working in a school that has a Chapter Election during a particular week that the ATR is
working in a school, and
Whereas, unions can set up reasonable rules as to who can run for office, but it is not reasonable that
ATRs including Leave Replacement Teachers and Provisional Teachers cannot run or serve as
Delegates or Chapter Leaders simply because they belong to no Chapter, and
Whereas, the ATR position has now been embedded in the UFT contract in Section 16 of the 2014
Memorandum of Agreement, therefore be it
Resolved, that the UFT will immediately create a Functional Chapter to represent the interests of
ATRs, Leave Replacement Teachers and Provisional Teachers.
Movement of Rank and File Educators is the Social
Justice Caucus of the UFT- New York City’s Teachers union.
We are a positive alternative to the current union leadership.
Want to talk MORE?
Join us for a post-DA gathering at 6 pm, just a few blocks away at
the White Horse Tavern, 25 Bridge St.

Whereas, both New York State gubernatorial candidates Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino vocally
support the privatization of education through the expansion of charter schools, and the Green Party
ticket of Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones oppose charter schools, and
Whereas, Andrew Cuomo has pushed through an expansion of testing statewide and the punitive linking of test scores to teacher evaluations, while the Hawkins/Jones ticket opposes an emphasis on
testing, and
Whereas, Andrew Cuomo implemented a destructive tax cap that has forced massive layoffs of teachers in upstate districts, and
Whereas, the New York State AFL-CIO and the New York State United Teachers have declined to endorse
Cuomo because of his anti-education policies, and
Whereas the Buffalo Teachers Federation, Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, East Williston Teachers Association, Lakeland Federation of Teachers, Diane Ravitch, the Coalition for Public Education,
the Independent Commission on Public Education and three local NYC Democratic clubs have all
endorsed the Hawkins/Jones ticket, and
Whereas, the Hawkins/Jones platform of a Green New Deal calls for equitable funding for all of our
schools, reduced class sizes across the state, support for programs that promote desegregation in
our schools, an end to zero-tolerance discipline policies driving the school-to-prison pipeline,
and allowing schools to develop methods of assessment organic to the learning process, and
Whereas, Astorino and Cuomo are both millionaires while Hawkins and Jones are both union activists,
Hawkins in Teamsters, Jones in the UFT and PSC, therefore be it,
Resolved, the United Federation of Teachers endorses Howie Hawkins for Governor of New York State and Brian Jones for Lieutenant Governor. Be it further
Resolved, the UFT, through COPE, inform its members of this endorsement, the contrasts between the candidates on key education issues, and mobilize its members to support the Hawkins/Jones campaign.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

“Here We Go Again!”

An ATR returns to page 1.
“Here We Go Again!” – In which the former ATR is no longer a former ATR, but an ATR, not former, but for a second time and, OH, HECK, I’m back in the soup.

You know those kids’ picture books where you give a mouse a cookie, or you give a pig a pancake, and you go on this long convoluted journey only to end up back on page one when you get to the last page? Yeah, I kinda feel like one of those characters. You see, friends. I am back in the ATR stew.

Funny how this came about. I had a roller coaster of a year last year – I was in a school that was completely out of control and was assaulted and sent to the hospital. Over the summer, I had no idea what was waiting for me come September, as I had heard nothing about being moved to another school and had yet to hear the result of my transfer request.

As the summer wound down, I was focused on squeezing every bit of goodness and family time out of what remained of the season. Almost daily visits to the pool, summer outdoor concerts, cocktails on my backyard patio with friends, and barbecues kept the trepidation at bay and I made a firm commitment to not worry about things that hadn’t happened yet.

So imagine my surprise when my husband tells me that he checked the house answering machine and said that there was a call from a principal asking me for an interview. I was completely puzzled, as Open Market had closed and I had not found any vacancies on it that I found suitable, and therefore had not applied for any interviews. Anywhere. But, not one to mess with fate, I returned the call.

The principal was very nice, and we spoke for a few minutes before I asked how he came to call me, as I didn’t recall applying to his school. He said, “I got your name from the excess list.”

WHAT??? “Excuse me?” I said, “Excess list? Like ATR?”

After a few moments, I found out that I had been allegedly been placed in excess at the end of the school year. Sure enough, I logged on to the Excess Staff Selection System, and there I was. In excess.

To this day, I have received no formal, written notice that I am in excess. I have heard nothing from my former principal, and all my belongings are still, as far as I know, in my old school. Requests to reclaim my belongings have been ignored – and my union has been little help in assisting me in getting my property back.

The question lingers – what if we had ignored the house answering machine, as we tend to do as we favor our cell phones and the land line is used mainly by the kids? What if this principal had never called me and I never found out I was in excess? Am I really in excess? I got an assignment on the system, but I have no hard paperwork explaining how I came to be here. Would my no-show on the first day been my first instance of “problematic behavior”?

Why does this bother me?


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Some goals to pose in the ATR meetings at the UFT borough offices

Some goals to pose to Amy Arundell and the UFT in the ATR meetings at the borough offices on September 9 (Manhattan and Queens), September 11 (Staten Island) and September 12 (Bronx). The Brooklyn meeting was held on September 8.

  1. Points We Want to Make
  • Was the return to the previous way of funding teachers’ salaries, so as to remove the “roadblock” of higher salary costs from principals’ consideration when hiring, a part of the contract negotiation? Why not?
  • Last school year, some ATR members were observed by their field supervisors, out of license. Why did the UFT allow this?
  • Recommend that next school year, the DOE arranges for all current ATR members, to collectively meet, to have a day of professional development. At the same event, allow the UFT to hold its annual UFT meeting for ATRs that is currently held borough-wide, after working hours.
  • Demand protection from physical harm from students and consequences for their actions, if it does occur.
2) Questions to ask at the UFT’s ATR Meetings
  • Considering that a significant number of students are reading below grade level, what is the UFT doing to urge the DOE to put librarians back in schools and reading teachers back in the classrooms?
  • Why were many members of the ATR, who applied on the “Open Market System,” not given interviews?
  • How many members of the ATR were appointed to positions prior to the beginning of the school year?
  • Explain who pays ATR members’ salaries if hired provisionally versus being appointed. How long does the DOE pay/contribute to their salaries once in these positions?
  • What plans are underway, by the DOE, to create opportunities/new programs for ATR members with Art, Music and CTE Trade licenses?
  • What happens to ATR teachers who were U-rated last school year?
  • Why didn’t the UFT respond to the repeated lies and/or attacks on members of the ATR pool by the media (“Crain's,” the “NY Daily News,” the “NY Post,” “WNYC,” the “NY Times” and the “Wall Street Journal”) and Chancellor Farina?
  • Why is the UFT “turning a blind eye” in many cases to ATR members’ complaints of harassment by school administrators or ATR field supervisors?
  • If ATR members are terminated after 3020a hearings, for unprofessional behavior, do the members lose their entire pension minus the years they contributed?
  • Despite repeated requests for a definition of “unprofessional behavior” on the part of ATR members, which could result in an expedited 3020a hearing and ultimately, termination, why is the UFT’s answer vague or nil? Stating that the arbitrators will be able to recognize such behavior is not considered an adequate response, according to the ATR pool. How may the ATR avoid such problematic practices if they don’t know what they are? Why are ATR members singled out for disparate treatment, while the remaining membership is not?
  • According to chancellor there will be no forced placement. Then explain how ATR members, who do not accept a position in their license area and in their borough, are to be considered as resigning?
3) Goals
  • The UFT should allow ACRs and ATRs to have borough-level elected representatives with Delegate Assembly voting rights, as our number at approximately 1,000 is comparable to the number of UFT members in many districts.
  • The UFT should facilitate the creation of new positions for borough representatives dedicated to the ATR pool.
  • Due to that fact that the following incidents happen quite frequently, instead of putting the onus on ATR members to complain to Chapter Leaders or UFT representatives, the UFT should inform school administrators to:
    • stop assigning ATR teachers to do clerical tasks.
    • stop assigning multiple periods of cafeteria, hall and bathroom duty.
    • inform School Safety that ATR members do not have to scan.
    • insist that schools provide bathroom, classroom and elevator keys.
  • The UFT should insist that the DOE puts in writing, in explicit detail, a list of the unprofessional behaviors that principals can use to return ATR members back in rotation, and that could result in an expedited hearing and ultimately, their termination.

Friday, August 29, 2014

"I am an ATR. What are you going to do for me?"

There is a movement underway to draw attention to the ATR cause.
Please flood Twitter directly with the following statement verbatim :
"I am ATR, an experienced teacher. I need to be placed in a permanent position,to best serve NYC's students. @NYCschools @UFT @deBlasioNYC?"
Tweet this to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the UFT.

"#ATRjobs Experienced employees @NYCSchools @UFT @BilldeBlasio Ensure placements 2014-2015 Apply #district#boro#ADA constraints #ATRjobs"
It is already underway. Please share.

For Mayor Bill de Blasio:  (@BilldeBlasio)

For Public Advocate Letitia James: (@TishJames)

For City Council President Melissa Mark-Viverito: (@MMViverito)

For Michael Mulgrew / the UFT:

Monday, August 11, 2014

An ATR sends a correction letter to the Post for their imbalanced article on ATRs

  An ATR sets the record straight, correcting Yoav Gonen's article in the New York Post. And meanwhile, the NYC DOE has been holding job fairs, through the summer, for new recruitment. Why haven't ATRs been informed of these fairs? Some schools are even recruiting on Craigslist, and at least one school is openly saying that licensure is not required. These new recruits are getting positions that could be filled by ATRs, fully licensed, experienced teachers. Why can't the UFT get a hiring freeze to prevent this displacement? Meanwhile, ATRs have submitted dozens of applications through the Open Market Transfer system, to no avail: no interviews. This has many ATRs thinking that this program is a hoax.

Dear Yoav,
   Your article on ATRs is not balanced.
   Even though teachers (and guidance counselors, social workers, librarians, Assistant Principals) lost their jobs 'through no fault of their own"(UFT quote), principals have not been hiring them since 2011 due to their higher salaries which are charged to the school budgets.  This is a fact as the new contract has a clause that now assures that the average teacher salary of a school will not increase if an ATR is hired.
  Since 2011, principals have used ATRs to fill vacancies and leaves and then dismissed them at the end of the semester or leave, hiring new teachers.  They saved money as they were not charged (or were charged very little) for the ATRs service during the semester and then save money on a permanent hire of a new teacher.
  To say teachers are "unwanted" or "ineffective" because they are in the ATR pool and are not being hired, in effect because of DOE budget policy, is demeaning to these educators.  Are the other staff in the ATR pool ineffective because they have been in the pool since 2011, such as guidance counselors?
  Susan Edelman in her article last Sunday at least had a more balanced piece, acknowledging the budget issue in hiring ATRs.Your piece gave three paragraphs quoting Students First NY, which is anti-ATR.
   Put ATRs in the classroom and evaluate them like other teachers rather than demonize them for being in the ATR pool. You should also provide the ATR perspective to readers.
   In addition, you should FOIL to find out how many ATRs were permanently hired (not "provisionally" and tossed back into the pool) since 2001. I have been trying and DOE has not been forthcoming.
James Calantjis

Monday, July 7, 2014

An ATR addresses the essential issues of the DOE in the Attack on Veteran Teachers

It is important to note well that the very nature and reason for being of "The Corporation" is to shield its investors and administrators from liability and accountability.  I can't be the only one who notices that every time the NYC DoE issues an official public statement it comes from some nameless, faceless bureaucrat who appears in print as "the DoE" or from "DoE Spokesperson, Margie Feingold."

The DoE has metamorphosed into a giant corporate entity which functions as an impregnable fortress.  It is too big to fail, and is shielded from accountability by its facelessness which protects individual executives and bureaucrats behind a wall of invisibility and anonymity.

The only way for the public to combat issues involving DoE non-compliance or incompetence is through expensive litigation.   The faceless, nameless bureaucrats are never held accountable because they successfully hide behind the wall of invisibility and they can rely on their corporate budget to litigate an issue ad infinitum. 
Unlike professional journalists (Beth Fertig/WNYC, etc.) I note well that the media NEVER critically questions or follows up on any of the disinformation or corporate missives that are dispensed by the DoE's public relations mouthpieces.

The DoE avoids transparency and accountability by hiding behind their legally mandated mission to protect the privacy of the minors whose interests they represent.  This legal obligation is exploited by the DoE as a shield to avoid transparency and accountability by public watchdog groups and the media. Because of the legal shield against investigation the media is dependent upon the largesse of the DoE to provide them with information.  And like submissive lapdogs they gratefully and uncritically accept any crumbs and scraps of information the DoE chooses to feed them.  

Another part of the complexity of the issue has to do with the simultaneous expansion of the bloated bureaucracy of the DoE which insulates them from both  transparency & accountability.   Beginning with Rudy Giuliani and Harold O. Levy and their corporate consultant McKinsey & Company, and continuing with Bloomberg/Klein, the City dismantled all of the DoE's accountability and oversight units EXCEPT for the Teacher Performance Units (TPU).  They super-empowered Principals by eliminating oversight of their operations;  they uncritically accepted and encouraged and celebrated all the inflated and bogus data and statistics they proffered and rewarded them with cash bonuses for delivering inflated graduation rates and test scores.   

What we are left with within the culture of the DoE/UFT is the destruction of the labor movement, the creation of a "right to work"  economy, and zero accountability for substandard products (illiterate graduates) in the new factory model engendered by corporate education reformers and their political cronies and legislative enablers.  

The whole charter school/privatization movement is about avoiding accountability for instructional incompetence, sub-standard performance, and financial malfeasance.  The movement enables professional misconduct by corporate profiteers  and educational administrators.  It operates primarily as a bait and switch strategy of shaming and blaming teachers for failure,  and substituting creative teaching and learning and inquiry based education with rigid, proprietary test-prep drill and kill.
As for the UFT -- it has metamorphosed into a corporate style professional development organization.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A displaced teacher speaks out on the Contract on Educators

The leadership of the UFT, Michael Mulgrew, along with the Mayor, have subverted and usurped the rights of our union members. This will remove our union relationship with the rank and file of our union brothers and sisters in other unions, not only in NY, but around the country. Our leadership is out of touch with its members and our brethren around the country.
Today I shed tears for our union, and its soon-to-be isolation from others fighting for bargaining power and right to make a living from their labor. My tears will now be a path to putting my boots on the ground and my condemnation in the air, vocal cords wanting to yell out my adamant cry for change. The courage to speak out makes me free.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

When they came for the sanitation workers

When they came for the sanitation workers, they saw that the sanitation workers were willing to let the garbage pile up. So, they got what they wanted

When they came for the cops, they realized the cops were armed and carried weapons. So, they got what they wanted.

When they came for the transportation union, they realized their union leader was fearless and outspoken --not afraid to get arrested. So, they got what they wanted.

When they came for the teachers, they noticed that teachers loved kids and were willing to spend their own money on needed supplies and stay after school to help kids in need. They also noted that teachers were highly sensitive, thoughtful and compassionate folks. So, there was really no need to give them anything. And nothing is what they got.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The tentative UFT contract's "problematic" clause seems legally dubious

As writers at the ICEUFT blog have emphasized the standard for discipline of ATRs is tricky: "The “Problematic” Language is Not the Only Part of the Agreement that is Problematic". It is based on a label of behavior as "problematic;" but this is troublesome, as the term is not precisely defined in the tentative DOE-UFT 2014 contract.

The beginning of the article describes the fast-track expedited dealing with targeted ATRs:

Principal removal of ATR after assignment. Under the proposed contract a principal (not the teacher) has the complete discretion to return a teacher to the ATR pool. If the return is based on “problematic behavior,” defined as “behavior that is inconsistent with the expectations established for professionals working in school.” An ATR accused in two writings within two years of this “problematic behavior” may be accused of a “pattern of problematic behavior” which can become the basis of an “expedited 3020-a hearing” in which a hearing must be completed in one day (half day to each side) within 20 days that the teacher requests a hearing. The decision must be made within 15 days of the hearing date.

The article closes with this conclusion which sums up how this sets a bad precedent for teachers in general, going into the future.
The acceptance of this procedure as a perceived benefit signals our union’s position in future contracts where it appears all teachers will “enjoy” the benefit of expedited and ill-defined termination proceedings.
This proposal is anathema to the good order of the teaching profession and must be completely understood before it is blindly accepted.

Another ICEUFT blogpost addresses how Mulgrew is conceding the ability for the "problematic" to be determined by others in the future. (May 13: "Mulgrew Admits He'll Leave Critical Issues to Others in Proposed Contract.")

This contract rests on disciplining teachers by terms that will be figured out at sometime down the line. Essentially, this has the potential of handing to arbitrators a blank slate on which to write discipline law. This overrides the state's 3020-a law, taking away some of the protections that law has offered. How could the UFT lawyers on the negotiating team agree to this provision?

The UFT has not explained to its members these precedents in discipline and rule setting.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Quick responses to hokey arguments for the UFT contract's "protections" for ATRs

Once upon a time there was a rep that promoted the UFT's 2014 contract, and said:

On ATR’s:   Double the protection a regular classroom has.  Yes, now it takes TWO principals documenting problematic behavior to bring someone on 3020a charges.  Yes, they will get a hearing in front of a neutral arbitrator.  Yes,  the DOE will have to prove their case.   Yes, the UFT will provide them with an attorney free of charge.   
Yes, they will now be sent to schools in their district and borough, where there are vacancies in their license area. Yes, the open market transfer period has been extended.  Yes,  they will have the option of taking a severance package if they resign.  Yes, there is NO AUTOMATIC DISMISSAL. 
The UFT said the ATRs would be protected.  They have been protected.  

To which an ATR responded:

I'm sorry you have bought into this.  We will have a ONE day hearing.  That is not protection.  Are you kidding?  What about calling witnesses?  What is unprofessional conduct?  Have you seen a list?  No, no one has?  
This has created a 2nd class of teacher?   Why?  ATRs are not worse teachers, they are not ATRs due to something on their part.  Their school was closed because of Bloomberg.  Why are they being hunted down like dogs?    Being sent to schools in their borough???   Do you know how large Queens is?  And I have no choice if I want to accept a job?  I can't get to schools in Astoria or L.I.C.  There is no parking, but I may have to take the job.  The only jobs left will be the jobs that no one else wants.   

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Petition the UFT for a mass meeting to explain the contract's impact on ATRs

This petition to Mulgrew is something that would be good for people to support. It encompasses all excessed staff in all content areas. Shouldn't we be granted a meeting? Staff could have an opportunity to ask a question about their situations or obtain information about the 2014 NYC DOE - UFT contract that they otherwise would not have had.
The union should announce the meeting to every member by their personal email and through the UFT website.

Petition the UFT for a mass meeting to explain the contract's impact on ATRs

We ask you for a mass meeting at UFT headquarters, in the delegate assembly hall, to accommodate all members of the Absent Counselor Reserve (ACRs), the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATRs), other excessed staff or other concerned UFT members, for the purpose of fully airing how the tentative UFT contract will affect excessed staff. 
The ATR part of the contract is a fundamental violation of due process and tenure. We are troubled that there is an expedited discipline and termination process that applies only to ATRs and not to non-excessed teachers. By agreeing to this expedited process you appear to be conceding to the myth that ATRs are all bad teachers instead of educators caught up in school closings and co-locations. 
Principal among our concerns, we wish to have a full enumeration of all actions that would constitute "problematic behavior". 
We are very troubled by your statement, reported in the May 12, 2014 “Wall Street Journal”, that some unnamed panel of hearing officers would solidify the definition of "problematic". How can we be considered as breaking the law if there is no written law or statute? You are trying to get people to agree to a contract whose terms are not yet really defined. 


How can one be considered as breaking the law if there is not yet a written law? Should the fate of teachers' careers rest on undefined legal concepts?

Monday, May 12, 2014

"First They Came" by an excessed teacher

This gem needs no introduction.

They came for the Ed Evaluators, but I was not an Ed Evaluator so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Home Economics Teachers, but I was not a Home Economics Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Shop Teachers, but I was not a Shop Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Reading Teachers, but I was not a Reading Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Literacy Coaches, but I was not a Literacy Coach so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Librarians, but I was not a Librarian so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Bi-Lingual Teachers, but I was not a Bi-Lingual Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Business Teachers, but I was not a Business Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Drama Teachers, but I was not a Drama Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Art Teachers, but I was not an Art Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Band Teachers, but I was not a Band Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Phys Ed Teachers, but I was not a Phys Ed Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Computer Teachers, but I was not a Computer Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Physics Teachers, but I was not a Physics Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Chemistry Teachers, but I was not a Chemistry Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Foreign Language Teachers, but I was not a Foreign Language Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Dance Teachers, but I was not a Dance Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Music Teachers, but I was not a Music Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Common Branch Teachers teaching in middle school, but I was not a Common Branch Teacher teaching in middle school so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Guidance Counselors, but I was not a Guidance Counselor so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Social Workers, but I was not a Social Worker so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Older Teachers, but I was not an Older Teacher so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Minority Teachers, but I was not a Minority Teacher so I did not speak out.

Then they came for me, the regularly assigned teacher --and THERE WAS NO ONE LEFT TO SPEAK FOR ME AND IT WAS TOO LATE.

Just Vote No on the UFT Contract that makes ATRs Harijans!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

ATRs: Leaflet the delegates @ Wed's DA: Vote No on the UFT contract

ACRs/ATRs, other excesseed UFT members:
Leaflet the special UFT Delegate Assembly (special location) at the NY Hilton in Midtown:
1335 Ave of the Americas (west side of 6th Ave between 53rd St & 54th St, near E, F, M, N, Q, R line stations)
Wednesday, 5/7, 4 to 6 pm
(The MORE Caucus, which is supporting the ATR cause, is leafletting there as well with their leaflet.)

*Click this link for Web access to the print-ready landscape-formatted leaflet:
*Version addressed to UFT delegates:
*UFT's Pay Raise Schedule drawn out to 2020, plus issue of disparate treatment of ATRs:
*Drawn-out raise schedule Illustrated in a graphical form:

Fellow UFT members, ask your delegates,


In the new expedited process an ATR's career can be cut short promptly:
The charge from just two principals that he or she is “unprofessional” (which is not spelled out) will end their tenure, without due process.
--Can we really trust that principals will not create frivolous trumped up charges?
How safe are you from becoming an ATR?
--Is your license the next to be eliminated?
--Is your school losing enrollment?
--Is your school getting a co-location?
--Do you think your principal likes you –now?

And why are we agreeing with merit pay and with putting 200 schools outside of union protection?
Why does 75% of retro pay does not come until October 2018?

"These [ATRs] are good teachers, mostly from closing schools. But rather than create a win-win situation, the system - despite repeated requests - refused to deal with these issues."
             --UFT then president Randi Weingarten, April 10, 2008 – How far have we come from then?

Vote NO on the UFT contract! ATR Chapter Committee


Here are the true details about the proposed contract as reported by UFT Leadership on May 1, 2014 to the negotiating committee:

Our Pay Raises
These are the raises that we will get on paper (what the press is reporting):
'09 --4%
'10 --4%
'11 --0% ($1,000 signing
bonus credited to 2011)
'12 --0%
'13 --1%
'14 -1%
'15 -1%
'16 --1.5%
'17 --2.5%
'18 --3%

However, the money that is owed to us from previous years will ONLY arrive beginning in the
year 2015. It will work like this:
• 9/1/14- 2% (which includes the raise due 5/1/13 and 5/1/14 at 1% each):
• 5/1/15 - 3% (2% from our leftover raises in '09-'10 plus the 1% in the contract)
• 5/1/16 - 3.5% (2% from our leftover raises in '09-'10 plus the 1.5% in the contract)
• 5/1/17 - 4.5% (2% from our leftover raises in '09-'10 plus the 2.5% in the contract)
• 5/1/18 - 5% (2% from our leftover raises in '09-'10 plus the 3% in the contract)
• We would receive the $1,000 signing bonus sometime early next Fall

Our Retropay
That comes over 5 years and doesn't begin until 2015. We will receive a percentage of what
we are owed in one payment per year:
• 10/1 2015- 12.5% (lump sum)
• 10/1 2016 - Nothing
• 10/1 2017 - 12.5% lump sum
• 10/1 2018 - 25% lump sum
• 10/1 2019 - 25% lump sum
• 10/1 2020 - 25% lump sum

Whoever accepts a position at a school, will go right back into the pool if a principal *says* they acted in an unprofessional manner. If an ATR is sent back into the reserve pool twice, then he/she will be fired in a 50 day time frame via a 3020-a hearing that will last no more than 1 day.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Some ATRs are being evaluated under dual evaluation systems

Some bad practices from Bloomberg's time are intensifying under de Blasio's Farina. One is the NYC DOE's having ATR Field Supervisors with over-reaching power observe ATR teachers with students that they have just met, that day, that period. A worsening nightmare, is that an untold number of ATRs are actually falling under dual evaluation system, under the flakey ATR evaluation system (herehere, and here) AND under the new Danielson-based Advance evaluation system. Is this all to protect Field Supervisors' jobs, to sustain the viability of their jobs, all in order to terminate ATRs out of their jobs?
The following description is just one instance of the rampant contract evaluations in practice under chancellor Farina's "new, improved" DOE. Unsurprisingly, interpretation of ATR observation conditions for temporarily placed ATRs is an area where the DOE and the UFT do not see eye to eye.

Rotating ATRs are covered by the 2007 to 2009 NYCDOE-UFT contract conditions, as there is no replacement DOE-UFT contract yet. ATRs are subject to the S and U observation system. Since they are not in a regular school they are allowed to request in writing to have pre-observation and post-observation conferences, as required under Articles 8J and 20 of the contract, as regularly assigned teachers were allowed to do, pre-Advance. Some Field Supervisors are accepting these written requests. Others are not. Also, as in the following case, some are not agreeing to submitting post-observation written requests, in person; and some are insisting that post-observation conferences can double as pre-evaluation conferences. All of this, of course, is in violation of Articles 8J and 20 of the contract. On the issue of observation reports, pre-Advance, read further here.

I am currently in a long-term assignment that started in mid-November until the end of the school year. I was evaluated in mid-January by a field supervisor. I thought it was strange that I was assigned to a school until the end of the year and yet was still going to be evaluated by a field supervisor, and not by the principal of the school. There was a pre- and post-observation and I received an S rating.  However, in early April I was told I would be evaluated by the principal using the Danielson and not the ATR S/U system. So far, the two informal observations at my assigned school have gone well with no rating below an effective, but still it seems being thrown into the Danielson system at this late date is ridiculous. Also, I am told my original S rated observation by the field supervisor won’t count which also seems unfair.

It gets better … In addition; I am told that the field supervisor still wants to observe ATRs (there are a few of us assigned long-term to this school). How can we be singled out like this for dual evaluation systems?

Also, I recently received a copy of my evaluation via email (yes, it took 3 months!) and at the end of it the last sentence reads; “It is understood that the post-observation conference for this lesson will serve as the pre-observation conference for any future observations.” It should be noted that I gave my field supervisor the request for a pre- and post-observation when she first contacted me. They want me to sign this and fax a copy back to them!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Be happy you have a job" -- The true national trends in teacher displacement and placement

The main phrase that we're told over and over is "Be happy that you have a job. Everywhere else, teachers in your position lose their job in a few months." Not true. Actually, cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., are more the exception to the rule, as we see in a very informative webpage. The percentage that dismiss displaced teachers, "ATRs" in the New York City Department of Education, is quite low. And it is also revealing that in most places seniority protects displaced teachers. In New York City it works against displaced staff, as the group of ACRs and ATRs is blatantly lopsided against older, longer tenured staff.

The article is from a site which is targeted towards administrators, the National Council on Teacher Quality, The article, "Tr3 Trends: Teacher Excessing and Placement", from the site, surveys 114 districts, including Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., and smaller districts such as Little Rock. It doesn't address the issue of evaluation of teachers while out of the classroom in an excessed status. Notice that in other cities seniority protects senior teachers in other cities, yet New York City is one place where seniority works as a penalty against teachers.

The contrast of better situations for excessed teachers in other cities suggests that we should be armed with this knowledge as the NYC DOE and the UFT move forward with contract negotiations as well as negotiations over ATR status.

These patterns can be overlapping and include:
1. districts that use performance and other factors in deciding whether to retain teachers
2. districts that lay off teachers
3. districts that hire without consideration of seniority (27% of the survey), includes Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York.
4. apparently, LA & NYC are two of seven districts that place teachers in sub work pools until they are placed in a school.
5. 34 districts (29.8% of the survey, and including Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, St. Paul and St. Louis) have the district assign the teachers back into schools.
6. four districts (including Cleveland, Las Vegas, Little Rock and Spokane) allow teachers to choose positions based on seniority.
7. only six districts are in the worst category: five districts lay-off teachers or place them on un-paid leave (this includes Chicago teachers after 10 months); another, Washington, D.C. gives options of resignation, buy-out or eventual termination after a year if the teacher is unable to find a job.
8. about half the surveyed districts (65 of 114) do not address the issue of what to do with teachers that cannot find jobs.

Here's the article, Tr3 Trends: Teacher Excessing and Placement. Go to the original page link, for the charts on the teacher displacement and assignment trends.

PDQ: Pretty Darn Quick Blog
Tr3 Trends: Teacher Excessing and Placement


In this month's Tr3 Trends, we take a look at teacher excessing: what factors determine which teachers to excess, how excessed teachers are assigned to schools, and what happens to excessed teachers who cannot find new assignments. 

But first, what is excessing and how is excessing different from a layoff? 

Excessing is the shifting of teachers from one school to another that results from a school reducing the size of its faculty due to a drop in student enrollment, a change in budget, programmatic changes, or because the school is being closed, redesigned or phased out.  Unlike being laid off, teachers who are excessed are still employees of the district and, in most cases, are still entitled to a teaching position at a school, but just not the same school that they left.

We've analyzed scores of excessing policies in districts' contracts and board policies.  Here are the trends that stand out:

In over half of Tr3 districts, seniority is the primary factor considered in excessing decisions.  

Only five districts--Denver, Douglas County (CO), Cypress-Fairbanks (TX), New Orleans, and Louisiana Recovery District--use performance to select teachers to excess without considering seniority.  Three districts--Wake County (NC), Baltimore County, and St. Louis--only consider the best interests and needs of the school or district.  Many districts look at a variety of factors when making excessing decisions. Washington, D.C., for example, uses a rubric with four different factors, of which seniority can only account for up to 10%. 
The "other factors" districts use to make excessing decisions run the gamut from diversity factors to extracurricular responsibilities.

We also looked at how excessed teachers were matched with new placements.

In about a third of the districts, principals or other site-based administrators choose which excessed teachers to hire, as opposed to being placed on the basis of seniority status or assigned by the district's HR office.
Thirty-one out of the 114 districts in our database use "mutual consent" to hire excessed teachers, which allows principals to interview and hire teachers of their choosing without regard to seniority. Los AngelesNew YorkMiami-DadeChicagoDallasFort Worth, and Minneapolis all use this approach.

Duval County (FL)St. PaulSacramentoSt. Louis, and Pittsburgh are a few of the districts in which Human Resources places excessed teachers in schools without seeking input from the principal--at least according to the teachers' contract.
In Cleveland, Clark County (NV)Spokane, and Little Rock, teachers are allowed to choose placements based on their seniority.
In only six districts in our database, teachers are exited out of the school system--via layoffs, unpaid leave, early retirement, or buyouts--if they are excessed and then unable to secure a new assignment.  In most districts, excessing does not lead to layoffs. 
The six districts include Clark County (NV) and Manchester (NH), which lay off teachers unable to find positions after they are excessed.  These districts' contracts do not specify how long teachers have before they are laid off.

Little RockChicago, and Douglas County (CO) give teachers temporary assignments (in Little Rock they serve as substitutes) and then if they are still unable to find permanent positions, they are laid off or placed on unpaid leave.  In Chicago, teachers have 10 months to find a position and in Douglas they have 12 months.  Little Rock's contract does not specify how long teachers have to find a position.

In Washington, D.C. excessed teachers unable to find placements are given three options:
  • They can immediately receive a $25,000 buyout,
  • They can elect early retirement, or
  • They can accept a year-long temporary assignment and continue looking for a position.  If they cannot find another position within that year they will be laid off.