Tuesday, November 15, 2011

GEMATR Meeting Nov. 16, 5PM - YES, We ATRs Know What to Do

Today was the first time I felt like a teacher and would gladly stay with this class for as long as it takes, even though I was warned they are really bad from the other teachers ----Posted by an ATR taking pride in his abilities

I just came home from parent/teacher conferences. The regular teacher has been out for weeks with a few more coming. The Principal has hired day to day subs instead of an ATR like myself for the entire time. I was asked to do the conferences because a sub couldn't handle the report cards, parents and explanations of the standardized tests. Well, the parents were really upset that their kids at are not learning with different subs in every day. they seemed to like me cause their kids were excited about working in class with me and having fun. Yes, we ATRs know what we do.
No kidding! It took me two hours to get control of this class which has been partying for 3 weeks. I had them doing real work for the first time. And they liked it after they realized I am a teacher not a sub. I went to the chapter leader --- said admin will claim they are to busy to deal with it. Too busy to run their school? You can see
their priorities. what a shame, blame the DoE....your article infers that we like week to week. Today was the first time i felt like a teacher and would gladly stay with this class for as long as it takes, even though I was warned they are really bad from the other teachers, I said two weeks with me and they will be the best class in the

The GEM ATR committee sent out this email tonight.

 Welcome to new ATR additions to this list,

A must read piece on ATRs at NYC Educator: http://nyceducator.com/2011/11/dignity-gap.html#disqus_thread
Leave a comment.

See the text of the leaflet below and the attachment if you want to share with others.

A reminder that we are holding our second meeting tomorrow at the diner at 9th ave and 34th St. at 5PM. Depending on how many people show we will avoid the situation of the last meeting by breaking up into work groups at different tables.

So far we have the following groups:
Publicity/outreach - to the general public, the non-atr teacher corps and right now most importantly so we can build - to other ATRs - and to closing schools.
UFT liaison
Anyone with another group send it along.

Other agenda items- building some structure into this group.

If you saw a recent TJC response to the report of what happened at the Delegate Assembly, this point was made:
"It's still possible for ATRs to organize themselves  and supporters to hold an action, and ask UFT to endorse and build, the way that  was done in 2008.  This cannot be done overnight, but needs to be carefully  planned and given adequate time to be organized sufficiently to make it  effective."

ATRs are too isolated to organize without setting up some structure. That is why GEM took action to jump start a group, which has begun. But we need to move to the next phase which is to make the GEMATR group self-governing (think of the Occupy movements) with some structure. Thus we hope we can move towards a steering committee - maybe even come up with a temporary committee at the meeting with the idea of having one elected at some point.

The most important outreach we need is to other ATRs and also get into schools on the closing list since the teachers there are the future ATRs.

Another thing to do it expose what is going on in the schools you are traveling to.

One ATR was told to do clerical work with the secretary. She refused saying she was  a teacher and wanted to teach. The principal called her "lazy" and said that was why she wouldn't get a job. You mean there isn't one child in that school who could not use some one on one tutoring?

Same situation at another school where a licensed math teacher was told to sit in the hallway all day. Not one child needs tutoring in math?

Another school - the ATR was told to go through the scanner and refused. I won't go into details but if she is at the meeting tomorrow we may hear all the details.

Another ATR ran into a union rep and he ran away to hide in the bathroom.

Maybe we have a "sharing table" tomorrow - but have these stories chronicled for publication.



ATRs will gather Nov. 16 at 5PM at the Skylight Diner (34th St and 9th Avenue)               

On Oct. 22, almost 40 ATRs gathered at the first meeting called by the GEMATR committee, exhilarated at the opportunity to share their stories and strategies with others, something they felt they had not been able to do at the UFT borough ATR meetings. There was discussion of forming committees - publicity, legal, UFT liaison, etc. and a call for a follow-up meeting. Since then, ATRs have shuffled to different schools each week and have been issuing great reports on the blogs. While 10% have been offered provisional jobs, there are still an estimated 1200 left and with 49 schools on the DOE (don't fix schools, close them) chopping block, we can expect a massive influx of new ATRs next year.

It was clear to everyone in the room that only by organizing ATRs into an effective force could their interests be defended. And that could only happen by reaching out to other ATRs and the rest of the teaching corps to educate them – the forty must grow into 400. Since then, the GEMATR committee has received daily requests asking to join the GEMATR Google group. If your only sources of information are the D.O.E dispatches from Tweed, the UFT newspaper or the compliant mass media, you are not getting the whole picture.

Some amazing blogs by ATR are out there: nycatr.blogspot.com, chaz11.blogspot.com, travatr.blogspot.com (each week the ATR brilliantly issues his own rating of the school he was at), iceuftblog.blogspot.com, and ednotesonline.com. The amount of information about the schools ATRs visit offers a snapshot of the school system that is proving embarrassing for Bloomberg.

Help fight off the destructive actions of the DOE done in the name of "school reform", as well as the poor decisions of the UFT leadership resulting in the loss of job protections and the unwarranted closure of over 100 of high schools (& middle schools) over the objections of parents, students, alumni, teachers, community, etc.
·       Ask ATRs to sign up for the GEMATR google group at gematr@googlegroups.com.
·       Support the resolution on ATRs co-sponsored by TJC and GEM during the new motion period.
·       Pass the word to ATRs: Attend the Nov. 16 meeting, 5PM, at the Skylight Diner (34th St and 9th Ave.)

The Grassroots Education Movement ATR Committee: gemnyc@gmail.com

Here are some interesting links from key ATR supporting blogs:

The Traveling ATR  http://travatr.blogspot.com/
My Adventures As A Gypsy ATR . School #6

From NYCATR: http://nycatr.blogspot.com/
The UFT 1% turns a deaf ear
Michael Mendel's "Hissy Fit"
Once again, the New York Teacher fails to report on the ATR
"Demagogic Rant" by Michael Mendel
Business as usual at the UFT Delegate Assembly

DOE and UFT claim that weekly rotation is peachy keen: New York Times
No ATR teacher on ATR Joint Oversight Committee: Chaz's School Daze
The Dignity Gap: NYC Educator
How reformers alienate teachers: Joanne Jacobs

Who Are The People On The Joint Oversight Committe...
The Disgraceful Disconnect Between The DOE's Schoo...
The "Numb Nuts" At The DOE Adds More Responsibilit...
The "Restart/Transformation" Schools Are Shortchan...
If You Don't Believe That Principals Are Trying To...
Is This Really Something To Cheer About As One Out...

Google Group
We are still having some issues with the google group we set up. It does weird stuff. We have 47 people signed up and 60 pending. The problem is that once a person is invited we can't re-invite them. We will keep trying. Also some people seem to be able to get mail but when they try to send something it gets rejected.
Thus I am sending this out to both the email listserve and the Google group to be sure everyone gets it. If you get this twice then you are in the google group.

I'm resending some posts so those not in the google group can be up to date.

Insulting Article below - posted by an ATR

New Policy on Substitutes Leads to More in Permanent Slots

Nov. 14, 2011, 10:58 a.m.

By Beth Fertig

The number of teachers without permanent assignments has fallen to its
lowest level in more than a year, and both the city and the teachers’
union credit a new agreement.

Teachers without permanent assignments — also known as “excess
teachers” — are now sent to work as substitutes in different schools
every week, instead of just one or two schools for the whole year. The
change went into effect in early October.

According to the city’s Department of Education, there are now 1,126
teachers without any assignments. This is fewer than at any time
during the last school year.

The Bloomberg administration views this pool of teachers, known as the
Absent Teacher Reserve, as a wasteful expenditure because it costs
about $100 million annually to keep the teachers on the city’s
payroll. Many of the teachers lost their jobs because of budget cuts
or because their schools were closed. Most find other positions within
the school system, but others spend years in the pool working as

The city has used a hiring freeze to encourage principals to fill
their vacancies with the excess teachers, but some principals claim
the teachers don’t always want permanent jobs and would rather float
around without any real responsibility.

By rotating the excess teachers to different schools in their district
every week, the city and the union hoped more of them would land
permanent jobs by connecting with a wider range of principals. Since
the change began in October, the city says 228 teachers landed
permanent jobs.

“Our agreement with the U.F.T. to change the A.T.R. rotation has
resulted in more teachers being hired by schools than during this same
time frame in past years, which is both beneficial to schools and is
an overall cost savings for the system,” said a Department of
Education spokeswoman, Barbara Morgan.

The United Federation of Teachers president, Michael Mulgrew, agreed
that “people are getting placed.” But he said his union was still
working with the department to make sure long-term vacancies were
filled by the excess teachers so they did not have to move around
every week. He acknowledged that some teachers had complained about
the system.

Principals have mixed opinions, too. Seth Phillips, principal of
Public School 8 Robert Fulton, in Brooklyn Heights, said he understood
the city’s reason for the change. But he said it had been “up and
down,” noting that in one case he was asked to discipline a teacher
who had just been sent to his school for the week.

However, he said it was nice to know every Thursday who would be
showing up the following Monday, and that he had seen a wide range of
different teachers.

Beth Fertig is a senior reporter at WNYC. Follow her on Twitter


Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/. And make sure to check out the side panel on the right for important bits.

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