Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ATRs Push Union on Rally: Teaching Fellows Firing Date Upcoming

Click to enlarge

Phew! Things are still rolling along on the ATR issue.

The firing date of Dec. 5 for the new Teaching Fellows who are still ATRs is coming up fast.

Lorri Giovinco-Hart at the NYC Education Examiner has an excellent post The Strange Mess of the NYC Teaching Fellows:

I have some serious doubts about alternative teacher certification programs like Teach for America and The New York City Teaching Fellows. I think it is a serious injustice to send teachers who have been given a few weeks of training to work with needy populations of students for a short period of time.
Despite my misgivings about such programs, I cannot help but feel compassion for the 100 or so Teaching Fellows who are being threatened with termination.

They are promised training and support and are often attracted by recruiting techniques which appeal to their desire to make a difference. They instead, often find themselves struggling to work in rough environments in which the promised support does not come.

Now, many of them are learning that what was promised to them has has not materialized and they may be unemployed in a very expensive city to which they have relocated.

...the situation has turned into a large mess, and The New Teacher Project may find themselves in the position of answering questions by a pretty angry group of people who have been organizing their efforts.

The entire piece is here.

The amendment calling for a rally at Tweed passed by the October Delegate Assembly in spite of the UFT leadership's attempt to subvert it has not resulted in a date being set for the rally yet. What a surprise. That hasn't stopped the ATR Ad Hoc Organizing Committee.

They're pretty hocked off at how the NY Teacher presented what happened at the DA. I'm reprinting their letter to the editor, which they published today on their blog:
To the New York Teacher:

New York Teacher Distorts ATR Citywide Rally Amendment

The latest issue of the New York Teacher asserts twice in its October 15th DA Report that our ATR amendment calls "to hold a citywide rally demanding the DOE reduce class size through assigning added positions to ATRs."


THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the UFT will organize a mass citywide rally to show our unity and strength, calling on the NYC Department of Education to reduce class size and give assigned positions to all teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve who want assignments before any new teachers are hired.

Your report misrepresents the amendment, as it fails to communicate to UFTers the grave importance of not allowing the DOE to hire new teachers until ATR teachers who wish to be are assigned. This is a crucial demand of the rally, not simply "added positions." It fails to recognize that many of our most talented and experienced colleagues yearn for permanent positions after being arbitrarily deprived of those positions by any number of circumstances including, class size reduction, school restructuring and the opening of new schools.

The next Delegate Assembly is scheduled for November 12.

How can you help?

Share the leaflet with your colleagues. You have the right use the mailboxes and UFT bulletin boards, as affirmed by the recent federal court ruling.

Join the other 103 schools by signing petitions of support.

The latter action is a major button to push to spur the leadership into action (believe me, if not for these petitions, Randi would have made sure the rally vote never lived). Imagine if it were 500 schools. The sidebar on the right has these ATR links.

Some ATRs at Lafayette HS are urging teachers to write the UFT directly:
Dear UFT Members:

On October 15, the Delegate Assembly of the UFT passed a resolution to hold a citywide rally to support the ATRs by demanding that the DOE freeze hiring of new teachers until they provide programs for the ATRs (highly qualified teachers, now 1400 +) and RTRs (newly enrolled Teaching Fellows (about 140). No date has yet been set for the rally.

If you are a union member, please email Leroy Barr of the Action Committee of the UFT and ask him to set a pre-Thanksgiving date for the citywide rally (presumably to held at Tweed). He can be reached at lbarr@uft.org.


  1. It is time that RW and the UFT start doing something positive for the 1,400 and plus ATRS. Let's start with the ATRS RALLY.

    NYC teachers and public in general, please support this good cause.

  2. The link to The Examiner appears to faulty.

  3. I understand some of the criticisms of teacher immersion programs. However, I would argue that teaching is about the individual and the right person can and will be effective whether they complete a full education program and delay entry into the classroom or opt for the "jump right in" style of these types of programs. I had an excellent experience with the New York Teaching Fellows Program, learning through my day to day teaching experiences and always supported by NYTFP staff, my college professors, advisors and the community of educators I trained with. Many have been lasting resources even after completing my master's degree and getting fully certified. These programs may not be for everybody but deserve no more criticism than any other entryway into a career in education.

  4. I was also trained in an immersion program way back in 1967, though it had a lot less support than Teaching Fellows are supposedly getting. The issue is just how prepared you can be in 8 weeks vs. people who spend years preparing for teaching. I know you will get duds in both categories but I would assume that those years had to count for something, especially the student teaching time.

    What you should ask yourself is whether you would have been a more effective teacher in your first year or two if you had taken the traditional route to teaching. When I remember my early stuggles, I can't help think the answer for both of us would be "yes."

    The most effective new teachers I saw in my first year were the teachers who had student taught in the school the year before.

  5. The UFT has filed a lawsuit against the DOE on behalf of the teaching fellows(RTR'S)that the DOE has threatened to fire after December 5. The Lawsuit claims that such action would constitute a layoff which is prohibited by the collective bargaining agreement. The UFT also claims that the Contract supersedes any agreement the RTR's may have entered into with the DOE.


Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating).