The UFT has failed to speak up on this. Michael Mulgrew was directly asked about this during his appearance on WNYC on February 17th, but he didn't address the issue. The union's statements about teachers needing to get new wardrobes and get more professional development play into the media's and the DOE's line that ATRs are incapable. In October, 2011, the union publicized its agreement with a "pilot program" for rotating supervisors to evaluate rotating teachers in a handful of districts. This followed on other key events in the history of the ATR condition. 2005, the UFT sold a contract eliminating the seniority transfer. 2007, the union agreed to Fair Student Funding, opening the floodgates for principals rejecting ATRs for new teachers. June, 2011, the union's executive board agreed to rotation.
The union got shnookered with the line that this was a pilot program tried in a few select districts. With pilot programs the results of the pilot are shared. Where was the analysis of that first year? And did you notice? About observations in the first year, 2011-2012, Amy Arundell said that the only teachers getting U's at the end of the year got them for attendance issues. For the second year, 2012-2013, Arundell took great effort at the yearly boro level UFT ATR meetings to snuff out any discontent over the prospect of career-threatening U ratings. In the October, 2013 meetings Arundell called people that raised the issue “fear-mongerers”. By the end of this January, the pattern became clear: Roving ATR Field Supervisors are giving out Unsatisfactories at an unprecedented rate. One Queens supervisor is giving them out at a 50 percent rate. It is clear that they are at war with us. They couldn't get rid of LIFO. Note that the LIFO battle happened in mid-2011 and that by the fall the city meted out this rotate and observe program. They're pursuing the same tenure-breaking objective by this contract-breaking and all common sense-defying strategy. No education expert has stepped forward and has defended this approach of dropping teachers into alien situations and placed make or break expectations on them.
There are multiple contract violations in the course of these observations. The 2007-2009 Contract still applies to excessed teachers in rotation. Yet, some Field Supervisors are refusing to accept written requests for pre- or post-observation conferences. There are multiple reports of roving supervisors giving only part of a period to a conference. Thus, Articles 7A and 8J of the Contract are being violated. Common Core was launched after the 2007–2009 Contract was signed, yet in clear violation of the Contract, supervisors are mandating that lessons conform to the Common Core, a program so controversial that many in the legislature are having serious doubts. Some supervisors are going a step further and are mandating that teachers follow Danielson, yet this legally only applies to teachers in regular classroom assignments. In general, these observations appear to be arbitrary and capricious, violating the professionalism of educators. Because of the arbitrary and capricious issues these observations are in violation of Article 20 of the Contract.
And the uniform testimony is that supervisors are forcing ATRs to sign statements that they have received documents and that they have discussed certain questions such as “How many days are left in your CAR?” And what's up with pressing us into a discussion of the Family Medical Leave Act? Are they trying to get us to spend less time in the classroom?
Here is an excellent public letter summing up the issues at stake in the evaluations, followed by some ATR testimonies of the outrages of the ATR evaluation scam.