Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Chaz Delivers Outstanding Presentation for 40 ATRs Who Turned Out for Info Session

Kudos to bloggers NYC Educator  and Chaz's School Daze and ICEUFT Blog for helping create and run the ATR info session. 
Arthur Goldstein suggested to Mike Schirter, James Eterno and
myself a few weeks ago that we hold a meeting for ATRs with blogger Chaz's School Daze (his name is Eric, not Chaz) because of the immense depth of knowledge Eric has accumulated and also his ability to handle the slings and arrows of ATRdom with relative aplomb. Arthur thought Eric could help ATRs who are having difficulty adjusting.


James Eterno gave us some history of the ATR situation and has a report of the meeting at the ICE blog (SUCCESSFUL MORE-ICE ATR MEETING) where he listed some of the issues discussed by Eric:
  • The history of the ATR mess
  • The 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 (now expired) ATR agreements
  • Rights of ATRs
  • Contacting Mike Sill/Amy Arundell at the UFT if an ATR's rights are being violated
  • Filing grievances
  • Attempts to organize ATRs
  • Age discrimination
  • Difficulty in getting hired permanently
  • Provisional positions
  • Problem codes for people who are 3020a hearing survivors
  • Weekly, monthly, or yearly rotations-What works best?
  • Organizing ourselves
  • ATR's having a class for six months being covered under Danielson
Mike and I had offered the assistance of MORE in getting space, putting together an ad and an agenda. I was hoping we would have time to talk about forming a shadow UFT chapter and how to move forward but there were so many questions that Eric responded to with knowledge and patience, we never got to that part - other than people saying they want to hold another session, possibly in mid to late January. At the end of the day I felt really good about what had occurred.

Mike got MORE to donate a few bucks for light refreshments. As the day approached I had mixed feelings: About giving up what was turning out to be the last beautiful Saturday before entering 5 months of dark, cold weather. About trying to try to work with ATRs since basically giving up 5 years ago after putting a great amount of personal effort into trying to put together a group of ATRs  - that effort dissipated into bickering and recriminations. We had modest goals for this event: Provide information so people can survive the best they can. If this group keeps meeting it might morph into something but we'll see.

I had no idea of how many people might show -- I was thinking maybe a small handful. Mike told me about 15 had responded on FB - given the usual attrition, I guessed about 10. I imagined we would basically sit in a circle and strategize the possibilities for ATRs going forward. I drove into the city early and went shopping for some basic refreshments - some soda and pretzels and chips but not so much that we would be left with lots of leftovers.

I got there shortly before the 1PM advertised start time to find over 15 people already in the room. Oh well, I thought as I put out the refreshments, first come first serve. People were chatting, some meeting for the first time, and some came over to chat as I laid out the refreshments. I had an engaging conversation with a soon to retire ATR - retiring because conditions had just gotten too bad. A 2nd careerer he had less than 15 years in the system. A guy with a PhD who really wanted to help kids and teach - so impressive and a deep thinker about education. He said he had been in 100 schools and things were deplorable. I congratulated him on his pending retirement and told him how I've tried to extricate myself from the ed mess since I retired -- call it an Eexit - but gravity keeps pulling me back - I said I would understand if he never wanted to talk about schools again but if he wanted to stay in the struggle from the safety of retirement he should get in touch. I'm hoping he does.

It was 1:20 and people kept drifting in but I started the meeting with an intro and a report on the section I was supposed to do - a brief history of the 2008 rally and the impact it had on the UFT and DOE - as I reported the other day --- Reminder of ATR Meeting Sat. Nov. 19 1-4 PM - ATR History - 2008 Rally Redux.

A sign up sheet was being passed around and I assured people they did not have to sign it if they didn't want to and also that we would not bombard them with emails about MORE -- I felt this was not an event to push MORE  - but to use the resources of MORE as a caucus to support initiatives coming from ATRs - MORE doesn't have an ATR agenda or program -

Well, the upshot is that around 40 people showed up and Eric stood for almost 2 hours answering every single question with a depth of knowledge --and he also managed the group so well as if teaching a class -  I've seen some ATR events disintegrate -- and allowed people to share experiences and get their points in. Every single person had a chance. I know I learned so much.

One of Eric's points was that the UFT is not useless as some ATRs claim. That Amy Arundell and Mike Sill will get stuff straightened out when called. Many in the audience affirmed that point too. While acknowledging the problems with the UFT in helping the DOE create the ATR situation, I never imagined an ATR event where the UFT would receive any praise at all.

By the way - ICE will be meeting on Dec. 2 to discuss a number of issues, including the recent election and doing more events like this - space is limited since we go to a diner so if interested contact me.

4 comments:

  1. ATRs, other issues such as horrible admin staffs, horrible kids, clueless principals and on and on are all becoming irrelevant. We really need to be focusing on our livelihoods as a whole in that we really need to become ONE again and stop pitting against one another. In a trump education world ALL of us are ATRs and right now any colleague who walks around and actually thinks that they are better than an ATR better re-think their state of mind. I say this because now the game has changed and EVERYONE needs to band together and forget all the petty shit as we really need to have our A game on for the upcoming battle against the wicked witch of the education world whether it be moskowitch or rhee or whomever..this social injustice to us all here as educators is a real slap in the face as we all know that its the kids that occupy our schools that come from families that do not value education or have poverty issues that cause us to look bad and not the "union" like the bastard reformies like to say.....

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  2. The UFT would not have received any praise from me. The problem with Amy and Mike is not them per se, but the fact that they are the designated representatives instead of an ATR chapter. It feels like a consulation prize for us losers. I believe if Mike and Amy were honest and really cared about the ATR situation, they would agree that ATRs should have our own chapter and work towards that end (or beginning). That's not to say a chapter would help or hurt, but it would recognize that we are a group of displaced educators that should have a modicum of respect.

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  3. A few people at the meeting seemed to have given up on asking the uft do help when. Rules weren't followed. Chaz and others pointed out that they do respond and fix stuff. That was the praise I guess. I mean they should do that but some atrs are so angry or dispirited they never ask. Also discussed was that some atrs give a bad impression and ruin it for others.

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  4. I also think we need to understand that people in the uft are not free agents. Amy might be fine with a chapter. She couldn't say that openly as long as mulgrew is not for it. His concern is bringing in hostile forces to the Del ass. Since atrs would get a batch of delegates. They don't want a vocal rogue chapter. The best we can hope to do is form a shadow Atr chapter but the major issue is that few atrs are willing to stand up in public.

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