Thursday, August 2, 2007

Do you hear snoring?


Guest Column by Woodlass

You've heard about scripted lesson plans for the classroom? Wait until you see what the DOE has scripted for us now.

They've just sent excessed educators a hefty "Placement Guide," which is a manual on how to let the Open Market System process you. Once again our employer has confused us with our students, and once again a very sleepy union is taking it on the chin. They, too, want to keep us barefoot and pregnant: to stay with the kids, do what we're told, and keep our mouths shut.

The new guide starts with this pandering come-on: "We hope this guide will give you an understanding of how the job search process works." If you really want to know how the Open Market works, just read the recent blogs. It "works" to further destabilize the system and hurt the educators in schools that are being closed or restructured, particularly those who teach the minor subjects and exercise their political voice.

There are some questionable sentences in the opening pages about hiring practices being changed in the teacher contract in 2006. I looked at the 2003-7 contract posted on the UFT website and I actually don't see anything in there about the Open Market system, particularly where it would hurt us most, in the article on excessing (17.B). Which contract are they referring to, the next one? I didn't know contracts prepared for a future date apply to the current moment. Correct me if I'm missing something here.

Then follows a deprecating little section in this guide of "tips" for conducting a successful job search, six DOs and DON'Ts that are basic for anyone looking for a job, much less educators who might have actually taught the subject themselves. After some "Job Search Strategies" on pages 7-8, you'd have to see the remaining pages to believe the content of this enormous script. There are 11 pages of how-to instructions: how to research schools, update your resume (sample provided), write a cover letter ("a basic three-paragraph" one no less), communicate with principals (two more pages of DOs and DON'Ts), prepare and take an interview (I guess they think all of us are getting them: Double Not), and much about a demonstration lesson. The last pages are filled with administrative info on certification, office hours, and the like, and finally my favorite -- an Appendix consisting of a long list of "Action Verbs."

I have said it many times before. The people who are running the DOE despise teachers. They see us as minions, not as educators, and having no regard for our degrees or our experience, they send us scripts so we can fit better into their plans. These are of course driven by corporate values and do not serve the public. They have degraded a school system many of us would have been happy to put our own kids in, even if we didn't have to.

Do you hear snoring? It's the union.

13 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. 3 comments deleted have been reposted in the comments section of the "NYC Grad Rates Rising" piece below this.

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  6. As I've said:You're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. I'm sorry to lead with a cliché, but it's preferable to leading with falsehoods.


    MYTH:
    Under the new UFT Contract, “excessed teachers” would no longer have a job.

    FACT:
    The UFT Contract guarantees all excessed teachers the right to a job within their own district or high school superintendency.



    MYTH:
    The UFT Contract does not protect its excessed members from losing their job.

    FACT:
    All members without exception or condition are fully protected against having no job.



    MYTH:
    There has been a decline in positions for UFT members in the schools.

    FACT:
    Not only has the Union been successful in maintaining the level of positions held by its members in schools, but it has significantly increased the number. This is in sharp contrast to what has otherwise been a national phenomenon, both in the public and private sectors, of a massive loss of jobs.



    MYTH:
    Under the old procedures, excessed members always found or were offered placements that they wanted.

    FACT:
    Under the old system, excessed members were placed solely at the discretion of the DOE, and members were commonly forced into schools, districts, and high school superintendencies that they had absolutely no desire to be in.



    MYTH:
    Excessed members had many vacancies citywide from which to choose their placement under the old system.

    FACT:
    Under the old system there were practically no choices available for excessed personnel. Under the Open Market there are over 5000 vacancies.



    MYTH:
    The UFT has not kept its members informed of their rights and opportunities.

    FACT:
    In February, 2007, all members received the UFT’s “Know Your Rights” booklet. In it all details are fully explained and clarified.



    MYTH:
    The DOE issued their “Placement Guide” for excessed staffers solely in an effort to be of assistance to its employees.

    FACT:
    The UFT’s successful effort to ensure a job for all its members meant that even if they would be excessed and in some cases become ATRs, the DOE would be obligated to continue to pay them full salary and benefits. This would put severe strain on the DOE’s budget and gives them the incentive to secure places for ATRs.



    MYTH:
    Excessed members are forced to participate in the Open Market Transfer Plan.

    FACT:
    The Open Market is an option, not a mandate. Members can use it or, if they prefer, remain in their own school, district, or high school superintendency as ATRs until they find a position of their choosing.



    MYTH:
    Under the old system, excessed members were treated respectfully as professionals.

    FACT:
    There was no freedom of choice under the former system. It was paternalistic and impersonal. You were a number and not a person. People were bumped and forced into vacancies. They were pawns. Under the new system there are far greater opportunities for members and a much better hope for them to achieve personal and professional satisfaction.

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  7. I really cannot let this comment go without further comment.

    The “Snoring” post identifies a recent way our employer has been de-professionalizing educators for their own needs, and chastises the union for their feeble stance and despicable positioning.

    Anonymous sets out nine “myths” that have as much to do with this post as the silkworm industry in China, atmospheric pressure guages, or used carburetors. Example?

    ... MYTH: Silkworms bred in China are always white.
    ... FACT: The UFT Contract guarantees all excessed teachers the right to a job within their own district or high school superintendency.

    See? You can do it, too.

    And who are these “mythological” creatures anonymous feels need quoting? Not anyone I know. I can see them playing with handpuppets down at the UFT headquarters. Left-hand puppet shouts out a MYTH, right hand puppet shoots back FACT.

    Nice try, guys, but you don’t even make it as satirists.

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  8. Very Shakespearean.
    Appearance and reality -- that is the theme of UFT officialdom response. The UFT is only interested in appearance and looks to hide the reality.

    The system the way it was -- and remember you guys helped install that system when there were no BloomKleins -- now you trash the very system you created and defend the system you put in place to take its place.

    A joke of course.

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  9. How is an ATR supposed to get a job if he doesn't use the open market? There is no such thing as placement any longer.

    FACT: Many teachers excessed last year still don't have a position while new hires are coming into the system. Add to this that the NY Sun says they plan on closing a significant number of schools and this problem will only worsen. Spin, spin, spin from the UFT leaders as usual. Nothing to do with reality.

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  10. Myth: The UFT is a labor union.

    Fact: The UFT is a self perpetuating organization that does little to help its members and usually only looks to assist its leadership in gain money and power at the expense of the wider membership.

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  11. Fact: Under the old system no new teacher got a job until all excessed teachers were placed.

    "Under the old system there were practically no choices available for excessed personnel. Under the Open Market there are over 5000 vacancies."

    So where did these "new" vacancies come from? From Leadership academy principals emptying the schools of experienced personnel and from schools being closed. Or did they just materialize out of thin air? Where are those 5000 teachers?

    Fact: You are making around 150G's in salary from the UFT, part of which comes for monitoring the opposition blogs on union time.

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  12. I'm not opposed to them reading these blogs on union time. They're profoundly reality based. A kind of staff development for the union pols.

    And remember that their own blog is a controlled substance. It was designed to spin.

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  13. Seriously, does ICE even serve a real purpose other than to drive a wedge within our union? Has ICE ever accomplished anything worthy of mention? And no, a sham presidential candidate in the last election, shoddy quality YouTube films, and heckling during the Delegate Assembly doesn't count.

    -Son Of Unity, the next generation
    I'll be back!

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