Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New DOE Policy? Force Top-Salary ATRs Into Schools for Death Sentence

This is the 2nd case I heard of a top salary teacher being sent back to a school with a principal who will put a target on their backs before they walk in the door. If you have info leave comments. I also sent it to the MORE chapter leader and delegate support group which has loads of experienced chapter leaders.

(If you are a CL or Delegate (or even not) or know some people have them send an email to more@morecaucusnyc.org and ask to be added to the CL listserve.)
An ATR just received a letter from the DOE stating that they were "assigning" her back to her original school. She doesn't know if this happened to other ATRs.
They (the DOE) are putting her in an ICT kindergarten class because she has a special ed license. Last year she worked at another school in a self contained special ed class, but the assignment was not permanent. The principal at this school does not want her there because she doesn't know her and she is at top salary (she could retire if she wished). She is afraid that this principal, who is not a nice person, is ready with a "U" rating before she even begins. This principal also wanted to know why she did not accept a permanent assignment at another former school a year ago  She has not formally accepted or turned down the position, but is concerned that she's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. She has been given no other choice.The UFT has been no help to her in the past and she is reluctant to contact them again so I thought I would run this by you. . Doesn't an ATR have the prerogative of accepting a placement or not, just as a principal can let an ATR go? I don't know what the current "rules" are for assignments. If you have any ideas of how she should proceed or to whom she can go, it would be most appreciated.
 The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.


Anonymous said...

It's hard for me to feel sorry for someone who can retire "if they wished". My fear is for teachers with 15-20 years in the system who don't know what the future will bring. Some are still young enough to start new careers. Others have to hope they can make it to retirement. These are the ones who are stuck. The ones near retirement at least have a light at the end of the tunnel. Unless this teacher is in horrible debt, she has an out.

As for ATR rules...what rules? Like the rule ATRs were supposed to get first crack at vacancies?? There are no rules.

zeno said...

badges?...we don't need no stinkin' badges.

Anonymous said...

Having an "out" is not the point! If a person wants to work until they feel they are ready to retire, they have that right and the job they have should provide for the him/her. it's not the ATR"s fault that they are without a permanent position. These qualified and mostly experienced teachers have every right to still be educating children and mentoring their younger colleagues. It is the fascist system of politics we are under that has forced these teachers, these fellow human beings,to have to live as "floaters" and substitutes and has taken away their dignity without respect to their intelligence,knowledge and experience. You are all "stuck," experienced and younger. Don't be so selfish and inhumane and decide for others when they should or should not leave the profession. it is actually easier for younger folks to change careers if they wish than for someone who has worked 15-30 years in a profession they love and, has up until recently, provided them security. We are all fellow travelers along the road and should be working to make positive changes for the better, not toss the "old(er)" away becaause you feel they are in your way of moving up the ladder.

Anonymous said...

Did you vote yes in '05?? I didn't and I fought hard against the ATR provision. Yet that contract was passed. People wanted a salary bump over rights.
So my inhumane heart is for the teachers who have no "out". I think you need to re-read my comment again. I clearly said those with less years can easily change careers. I also stated that if she needed the money, that would be different.

Fascists??? It was Weingarten who agreed to this.

It's amazing you can assume things about me like my agenda. I've been retired many years so I have no ladder to climb. What ladder is there anyway??? I have a friend who is an ATR because the DoE closed his school. He is far from retirement but not young enough to start a new career. He wants to teach and instead is being treated like trash not just by the DoE but the UFT. This woman has an option, and I know my friend would be grateful for such an option. My friend is not looking for a ladder either. He just wants to teach. Geez!! Ladder!!! Really!! Like teaching 4th grade instead of 2nd??? Unless you join the Leadership Academy, there is no ladder. Teachers are going to be subjected to evaluations based on testing. And the testing is starting in Kinder. 2 years of low scores and you could be out of a job. Nice ladder.

So how did you vote in '05??? If you voted for it, than you voted away rights for money. You voted away excessing rights and seniority rights. And if you voted YES and became an ATR, oops!!

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but i have NOT voted for a contract since I have worked for the DOE. Everyone of our previous contracts since I have been teaching has given away our rights; rights that I and others have been fighting for for years with ICE, GEM and now MORE. My main point is no one has the right to tell someone else to move aside. Ask any teacher over the years (as a retiree, you should know) and you will see we have all had to face employment difficulties and it didn't start with Randi, but continued with her. Everyone, no matter how many years in the system, had and has complaints about the DOE and the union although many don't speak out. EVERYONE, retired or currently working, new or contemplating retirement needs to be vocal and work for the system we all want for ourselves as educators and for the students we work with. Currently MORE is that group. Come and join us. Help to bring about the betterment of our profession and our public schools.

Anonymous said...

No wonder why ICE didn't win. Your own people didn't take the time to vote. Having only 30% of all members vote is the reason we are in this mess. That is such a disservice to people like James Eterno who deserved a vote.

I am vocal and have a larger audience than MORE. My work exposes the reform movement and our union leaders part in it.

You are correct. This teacher has every right to walk into the lion's den. She has every right to go to a job knowing she will be harassed and U-rated and probably won't get any help from UNITY. And even if she is put back as a weekly sub, she has every right to be formally observed in front of a class she just met. I apologize and absolutely support her decision!! It makes perfect sense!!

So now that we are once again friends--can you please explain that "ladder" comment?? If there are opportunities, I certainly would like to let my readers know because right now all I am hearing is frustration and teachers starting LOTTO clubs. (Or is winning LOTTO fascist??)

ed notes online said...

Your own people didn't take the time to vote
"but i have NOT voted for a contract"
That means I believe not voted in FAVOR of a contract not didn't vote.

I think the comment is referring to the career ladder that Shanker started pushing and Randi continued -- the Lead Teacher crap as a way to sneak in merit pay.
Yes, the "ladder" to me was going from 4th to 6th grade. Never out of teaching -- until the very end when I worked for the district at the same pay but actually loner hours -- I would do 10 hour days and wouldn't break a sweat compared to 3 hours of teaching. And how nice to go to the bathroom when you needed to.
My peeing problems today go way back to those long mornings until 12:30 lunch.

Anonymous said...


Isn't it amazing that climbing the ladder in reality means getting to use the restroom when needed instead of holding it in.

I thought that ladder thing Shanker started was for paras??? But that was a pretty funny comment. Still don't see the correlation between an ATR retiring and my climbing the ladder. Although IMO that's would be the definition climbing the ladder. Sleep late, travel, pee when you want.

So Norm, surprised you didn't write something about Christie's "I am so wonderful and teachers are bad" speech. Heard the Mitt camp was furious with his ego. And to add a cherry on all this, Fox commentators were not kind to Christie's either. And today on FOX News online someone wrote a column numerating all the lies Ryan told last night. Pretty good convention. The more they talk, the deeper they dig that hole.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Norm you are correct. i voted against the contracts. I always exercise my right to vote. And your explanation of the career ladder is right on point.Thank you!

ed notes online said...

The last contract I voted in favor of was around 1969 or 70. I vowed not to vote for a contract that didn't address class size.

ed notes online said...

Christie dug his own grave, which in his case requires a backhoe.
I'm not too thrilled with the Democrats either at this time.
The economy will tank so bad under the Republicans, people will be living in park cities called Romneyvilles. They will bring the troops home from Afghanistan to control the population. Seria, here we come.

Anonymous said...

I heard the only grave was the one for his speech writer.

I just want to go back to this post of yours and anons attack on me. I solely went by your headline "Death Sentence" and it is. But then you go on to write that this particular ATR has a reprieve in the form of being able to retire. My friend doesn't have that out. His would be a true death sentence. He is in his early 40s and the way things are going, I don't think the UFT will support ATRs for long and they will lose their jobs entirely. This is already happening in other cities. What's really needed is a class-action suit against both the UFT and DoE because the "open market" has not been a success for ATRS, but for teachers still in positions. It is the worst type of discrimination. Even their hiring halls are segregated.

I questioned the point of her "death sentence" (your words) while Anon went on a personal attack. Does he really want this women to die just to make a point? Does the M in MORE stand for martyrdom? And is this the type of people MORE is attracting if someone disagrees with them?? Why would I ever want to attend a meeting if I can't give my opinion without being called names??

And your explanation of the career ladder is not "on point". I still believe the Shanker version was for paras to become teachers. The city paid for their BA. And Anon's use is still off point when he used it to attack me.

The Master Teacher or whatever was something cooked up with Unity and the DoE to allow TFAs to get those positions. The requirements called for less than 3 years classroom experience. I wouldn't call that a ladder. I would call it a small step on a big staircase.

ed notes online said...

You are right about the original career ladder in the late 60's - early 70s for paras as Shanker's response to the impact of the 68 strike. This plan worked very well and brought many former paras into the system as teachers.
But in the 80s Shanker began to respond to the merit pay argument with a plan for a sort of career ladder for teachers as mentors, masters, etc.
As I've been pointing out it wasn't the DOE or Randi who came up with these plans but Shanker, like with charters, was searching for ways to give the original ed deformers of the 80s some of what they want.
So he went with -- yes, close schools, yes we will make it easier to get rid of bad teachers, yes we will agree to modified forms of merit pay, yes we will agree that you can affect education without paying more for it -- class size disappeared from the agenda other than rhetorically.
Now as to the comment about MORE -- I have no idea who this person is. In fact right now we have very few retirees involved with MORE on an active basis so if you do come to a MORE meeting your voice will be heard. I can't guarantee people will agree with you and you have to accept that too.

Also I didn't write the stuff in red but published a letter from a teacher about her friend.

Anonymous said...

Your work with ATRs is to be commended, but Unity will hammer the final nail in the coffin when they give in to DoE demands.

I have no problems with listening to different points of view and I am glad to hear this writer does not represent MORE's way of treating people with differing points of view. I was just taken back by the attack on me for writing this ATR had a chance to avoid a "Death Sentence" while many others don't. I would however work very hard for any group who wants to address the needs to teachers who are struggling each day to survive the classroom and the mandates. I want to work with a group who is willing to take on UNITY now by offering teachers an alternative to testing as the main focus of evaluations. Who offers an alternative plan for evaluations that will keep good teachers and fire the bad ones. Who will fight against charter co-locations. Who will fight against Danielson. Who will fight against the excessive paperwork. Who will fight against administrators who bully rather than support. Who will not follow Gates blindly. These are the issues teachers are facing now and Unity is leaving them out to dry. Social movements are good, but they take time. But what is needed now is strong union leadership.

btw, The New York Times has a "Room for Debate" on TFA. Of course the majority of the debate is pro TFA and Rubinstein is not part of the conversation. You must read the response written by a NYC administrator. She finds TFA cost effective. Isn't that terrific. It's more about the bottom line than keeping and retaining good teachers. She also admits to not having any dealings with the TFA coaches. Perhaps it's because she doesn't know how to reach out. Staff development has always been dead in NYC. But now it is being replaced by Danielson and teaching to the test methodology.

ed notes online said...

"Social movements are good, but they take time. But what is needed now is strong union leadership."
We cannot forget the Chicago model which got hit 8 years before us with a Unity style leadership that neglected all of these issues. Why have the new leaders gotten to the point of a 98% pro strike vote in a city where the union has been killed? They are building a social movement along with the union and it is that that has gained the support of the community which makes a fightback possible.
There is no way a caucus/leadership that only focuses on the teachers can win anything --- you need weapons to fight back and Unity only has COPE and political "influence" -- and money. It has done well for them but not for the teachers.
So why can't they fight back anyway? is it that they don't care? No, they have locked themselves into a box --- their prime directive is to hold onto power at all costs and that means to step on any movements for change growing in the union. To truly engage the members and win the trust -- so they could have a 98% strike vote -- they need to run a democratic, member driven union - which you know would be against using any data for judging teachers -- so they have to tamp down and control the members which prevents them from using their organizational power to battle for the members. A vicious cycle.
Their world view is that we are losing ground we cannot gain back so hold onto what we can for as long as we can.
If Mulgrew/Randi were pres of the Chicago TU there would have been a settlement and givebacks a long time ago. Or just a stalemate.

Anonymous said...

Think about what you are saying. Look at the timeline. Should NYC teachers suffer for 8 long years. And I will bet that there will be less public schools as more "reform candidates" take over. This is the time to ride the coattails of Chicago otherwise it will just be a bad memory.

Karen Lewis acted quickly with Emanuel. Randi let Bloomberg take charge. We cannot do that with the next mayor. This is why new leadership must start forming now instead of later. This is the time to start getting into schools and letting teachers know there is an alternative. Teachers are ripe for change. Do you really think Mulgrew will not fold on the evaluations the way he did for Cuomo? And didn't he also back the new rule to let parents see our scores? And didn't he also back Pearson being in control of certification? I bet if you sent out a survey,most teachers would have no idea about these issues I stated above. And sadly, even though it's not our official evaluation--that NYS teachers must meet the 40% criteria 2 years in a row or be fired. Or I bet they don't have any idea that Buffalo is fighting evaluations based on truant students. And now the big one!!! I wonder how many NYC teachers know Chicago is ready to strike. The only way they will all know is when it makes the news. Randi keeps teachers clueless. Teachers keep teachers clueless. They are afraid to face these issues. That's why she is winning. But once they learn that charters will soon be coming to to their nice middle-class location, IT will hit the fan.

If you don't get hold of the message NOW, you won't be around in 8 years to do so. This is the information highway age Norm. Everyone is connected in some way. Get one or two teachers at each school to start spreading the news in their Twitter accounts, and watch Phoenix rise!!!

The Tea Party didn't take 8 years in the making. Now they control Congress. It was a big idea that caught fire and the imagination. Learn from them. I was right about ICE and I will be right about this.

ed notes online said...

Get one or 2 people in each school? From your lips to God's ears. That would be 2-3000 teachers. I'm hoping for a hundred right now. They are not exactly pouring out of the woodwork yet. I have no idea how to reach deep into the schools without people to do it --- you also need a functioning organization. Anyway, not my long-term problem. I'm assisting but there is only so much I am willing to do. The new gen of activists have got to figure it out or slip into being New Action before the sell-out -- content to run in elections and get 30% of the vote. I want to play with my cats and sit in the backyard while renewing an old habit -- smoking a pipe -- yes, I am giving up cigars.