Thursday, May 20, 2010

Did Joel Klein Tell Principals to Violate Contract and State Law?

We've seen for years that BloomKlein will run rings around just about any loophole they can find. But teachers have felt that layoff by seniority and tenure protections would be fairly sacrosanct unless the UFT blinked - which we know they are perfectly capable of doing. But we've always felt that Tweed has violated so many laws without penalty, why not go here too? Read and weep. Oh, and check out Winnie Hu's piece in today's NY Times Teachers Facing Weakest Market in Years. There are hundreds of people looking for very job available.

From a Chapter Leader, elementary school:
My principal said that she has been directed to lay-off U rated teachers first and then ATR's. I said that my understanding is that it is by seniority. She said, read the Principals' directs principals to lay-off U rated teachers and then ATR's. I said the UFT would file a law suit if they tried to do that and she said that a law suit would take a long time and the DOE would do basically what they want. She said the UFT is silent on this matter as far as she knows. I have heard in a few places that the "memorandum on ATR's allows them only two years for a guaranteed job.

Joel Klein in Principals' Weekly, May 11, 2010
We may be forced to lay off thousands of teachers for the upcoming school year, and State law mandates that we let these teachers go in the reverse order of their seniority. The law does not allow us to consider an individual teacher’s merit, nor does it grant you the authority to make these decisions based on who best meets the needs of your school. This could have a disastrous impact in our schools.

Nobody wants to lay off teachers, but if we are forced to, I believe we must do so in a way that keeps our most effective teachers in the classroom. Rather than letting teachers go in reverse order of seniority, we would first let go the teachers with “unsatisfactory” ratings and those who have been in the ATR pool for a year. Then, I would give you the authority to make decisions about your school’s staffing, using clear, transparent criteria: teacher attendance, student progress, and quality of teaching. Superintendents would review all decisions to make sure they were supported by evidence. This common-sense approach would protect the interests of our students more than the nonsensical seniority-based approach to which we are currently bound.

Responses on ICE-mail:
1. While Klein wants to layoff u rated and ATRs he knows he can't (at least for now). I can't see how a principal can layoff anyone. Perhaps excess, but layoff must be done centrally. It is amazing how the conversation has changed. We were always on the defensive but we are going into new territory.

2. Is there a pattern here? there are rules. there is a contract. there are laws. they don't follow any. they do whatever they want. severe damage is done. the uft shouts into a wilderness. then goes to court or not. we win - but really lose. things are never again the same.

3. Remember how adamant people were about ATR's and selling them down the river - well the city is not even bothering to wait,

Also from PW
Liberal Leave of Absence Policy for 2010-11 Academic Year

The Division of Human Resources is continuing a "liberal leave" policy for the 2010-11 academic year. UFT employees whose leaves are terminating can extend their leaves of absence for child care, for adjustment of personal affairs, or to work in a charter school until September 2011 with the approval of their principals. The employee must still submit a complete application, signed by his or her principal, with supporting documentation to the HR Connect Leaves Administration Office. Please contact HR Connect at (718) 935-4000 if you have any questions.


  1. I am very upset at the Union for all this talk about laying off ATRs and so on. For a long time the Union has kept quiet about this ATR problem. The DOE and the Union are the ones who caused the ATR problem with the 2005 sellout contract agreement. What a shame. Where is the law. Why do we pay dues to these union people that do nothing.

  2. The union's dues are guaranteed whether or not teachers join. That's the problem. Until the union's survival is no longer assured and supported by the state the union will not fight vigorously. If the union dues were not assured but depended on teachers to voluntarily pay rest assured it would fight a lot harder.

  3. You are right. That is why they will never strike - the loss of dues checkoff would kill them.

  4. The power to tax is the power to rule. Effectively the state controls the union since it guarantees it's dues and survival. I think the union would ultimately be stronger and more effective if it had to fight for it's survival.


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