Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ATR's in Bloomberg Purgatory

The breaking Bloomberg wanting-to reopen-the contract ATR story reached us here in Tokyo. I'll link to Elizabeth Green's story when I get back. The gist from the people who published the vicious attack on ATR's by calling for them to be put on unpaid leave after 12 months until they get a job is what we all expected to happen. That the character in charge said he has confidence that Randi will agree in the long run is actually funny - if you're not an ATR. The UFT always gets mad he said. Or acts mad before signing on to whatever.

Yeah! The UFT response even 7000 plus miles away will make me go all gooey inside.

Ok, Bloomberg, here's the deal. Let's reopen the contract - Teachers get all seniority rules back and your - is it $60 million- ATR problem goes away. The UFT doesn't need no stinkin' press conferences with ATR's pleading their cases. Time to say we don't give a crap how much the public or the press or anyone slams us. Time to act like a union. Draw a freak'n line in the sand and say a loud SCREW YOU ALL. THE CONTRACT IS THE CONTRACT EVEN IF IT SUCKS.

Oh, but what does that do the image of the next president of the AFT? Won't Rod Paige and Eduwonk withdraw their praise?

And gee, I just have been reading about a certain union that went on 3 strikes for almost 3 months 40 years ago over 19 teachers who were transferred. Where's Shanker guru Richard Kahlenberg on the current ATR outrage with his defense of Shanker's actions then? (I heard he got some nice space in the NY Teacher 'splainin what Shanker REALLY meant on his charter school idea.)

This email was sent to ICE-mail asking us to spread around this letter some teachers wrote to the NY Times, soon to be owned by Bloomberg. Think anyone there has the balls to publish it?

Hi colleagues,

Here is a "Letter to the Editor" of the New York Times, which two GED Plus teachers, Roz Panepento and myself, sent off today. It was in response to the Times Metro page article on ATRs. The Times, the Post, Channel 7, the Daily News all ran varieties of the same story, which disgustingly blamed the ATRs for being in sub pools, and not in the classroom. The story was clearly generated by the Chancellor's office. The UFT is asking ATRd teachers who have tried, but not been successful on the open market, to contact the union and be willing to speak to the media to counter this latest onslaught from the NYCDOE.

To the Editor:
New York Times

April 29, 2008

Your story about the Absent Teacher Reserve pool today can only be seen as part of a coordinated campaign by the mayor and chancellor to be able to layoff senior teachers, with years of critical experience.

Your article states that many teachers in the reserve pool are “undesirable.” This is pure slander. In District 79, last June we faced a chaotic “restructuring” which led to the loss of hundreds, if not thousands of students (the DOE is not keeping records), and the loss of over 250 teacher positions. Some of our ATR’d colleagues have Ph.D’s in education; others are college professors who have returned to the classroom; still others are highly-skilled math, science and literacy teachers. Some were not permitted to interview for new positions, others had phone interviews; others faced interviewers who were utterly unqualified and clueless about specialties such as ESL or Special Education. Most had years of “S” ratings, and had never received an unsatisfactory in their lives.

Behind the fiasco of the ATRs was the end of seniority transfers in the 2005 UFT contract. That system assured that with school closings, teachers could find new positions in an orderly way. Bloomberg and Klein vowed to get rid of tenure, seniority transfers and bring in merit pay—all of these are disasters for the students and the teachers.

The article blames teachers for the NCDOE’s own policies: closing schools, “excessing” teachers, forcing them into pools, and replacing them with new (cheaper, younger) teachers. Looking at the “bottom line” might work in business, but it sure hurts students. It takes years to develop knowledgeable, experienced, effective, caring teachers.

You blame teachers for supposedly not taking advantage of the open market. We suggest you ask the teachers who tried it --many applied for numerous positions, and never got a call back (many positions are filled before even being listed). We strongly suggest that, rather than the blame game, you give the ATRs a voice, to get a real view of what’s really going on in the schools.

Roz Panepento, former Chapter Leader during the ATR reorganization of District 79
Marjorie Stamberg, ESL specialist, teacher GED-Plus, District 79


Anonymous said...

I was not surprised when the teachers' letter on ATR was not in the Times today. Have you seen the jaw-dropping editorial yet?

Anonymous said...

I'm still out of town. Copy and paste it into the comments if you can.

Anonymous said...

Idle Teachers, Wasted Money

Published: April 30, 2008

New York City and its teachers’ union deserve praise for abandoning a rule that once guaranteed senior teachers the right to switch schools whenever they wanted by bumping younger teachers out of their jobs. The new system, which allows principals to refuse teachers that they do not want, has put an end to the perpetual transfer dance.

But it has also created a new set of very costly problems that the city needs to solve very soon. Those problems surfaced this week in a report by a New York research group known as The New Teacher Project, which estimates that the city has been paying $81 million over two years in salaries and benefits for teachers who have not been able to find permanent jobs.

Under the new free-market system, teachers who lose their jobs because of budget cuts, program curtailments or school closings are supposed to go into a reserve pool for a short time before they are hired elsewhere in the system. An overwhelming majority of more than 2,700 teachers sent into the pool in 2006 did just that.

But according to the study, 235 of the teachers who entered the pool in the summer of 2006 still had not found permanent teaching jobs by December 2007.

The reserves are required to show up at school hours and are available for use as substitutes. But no one really knows how reserves are being used or what they are actually doing.

The city, which seemed content to ignore this issue until the budget picture turned grim, needs to focus on this group much more closely. It needs to make sure that the pool members are actually looking for work. Beyond that, it needs to make sure that teachers are not being discriminated against by age or because they once worked at schools that were closed. If that becomes the case, the city could find it difficult to staff struggling schools that are candidates for closure.

The union disputes the report’s claim that the reserve teachers are much more likely to have had negative job ratings than teachers in general. But it is surely the case that some teachers in the pool will never find permanent jobs within the system. The city and the union need to explore new avenues for easing those teachers out of the system. Given the costs, this issue should be high on the agenda in the coming contract talks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting so quickly.

"But it is surely the case that some teachers in the pool will never find permanent jobs within the system."

Instead of calling for them to be eased out of the system, you mean to say there is NO position in the sytstem for even 200 people? Like to find them a school that has some high class sizes?

Where is the Times talking about the enormous waste of the high priced consultants who contribute nothing? Why aren't they being eased out of the system? or the enormous salaries being paid at Tweed to the kiddy core?

The focus on 200 teachers in a system of over 70,000 teachers is obscene.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah. And Aris too, an $80 million white elephant.

Anonymous said...

Norm ticked off in Tokyo. Can blogging get any better?

Anonymous said...

If this transpires, is there some way we can sue the union for failing to protect basic professional rights such as job security with seniority? I believe the large high schools are being closed basically where they can get away with it to create more ATR's who will be in BloomKlein's crosshairs. Shouldn't the so called local journalists also be asking specific questions about why Julia Richman High School is being SOLD to Hunter College?

Anonymous said...

Don't you guys vote for your union chief? And you elected Randi? No, I would imagine you cannot sue the union, but perhaps you can sue yourselves for voting for the wrong person.

Anonymous said...

Not me kimosave. There were over 5000 people who just said NO. Of course, they said no to Randi's capitulation on all the areas that Socrates loves her for - charter schools, end of seniority, and a general screwing of the NYC teaching corps generally.

Anonymous said...

I VOTED NO ON RANDI AND THE CONTRACT SO STOP BEING SO PRESUMPTUOUS, "Socrates". You never have anything valuable or productive to say so please stop commenting. You are certainly not a teacher and if you are you work for that sham of a union. What are you, some kind of legal "expert" that you know for a fact that we couldn't sue? Maybe you're just a DOE operative who needs to slink back to wherever you were before commenting on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I didn't presume that you voted "yes". I know better than that. But how can you claim that Randi doesn't represent the voice of the teachers (Norm likes to claim that his is the majority opinion and that I can't possibly be a teacher because I disagree with him) if she's elected?

5000 out of 80,000 teachers voted against her? That hardly sounds like a groundswell or an uprising.

ed notes online said...

Gee, if you actually could have voted would you have been one of the 5000? Since Randi's policies have given your side so much, your vote would go to her, as would BloomKlein vote for her.

And by the way, only around 15,000 out of the 70,000 plus members actually teaching voted for her - only 22% of the teachers voted at all. Around 70,000 sat it o ut - my numbers are a bit off.

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg and Klein should STOP spending the money in the TWEEDies, Columbia University trainings, AUSSIES, ARIS computer, Brits, etc. that do not do any good for the improving of public education. Did you see in the Times Magazine how many kids graduate form High School in the US.? = 45 percent? Give these ATR experience teachers a class to teach and stop the crap.