Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Newark Teacher on an AFT Visitation

Ed Notes Newark teacher/reporter with a report on a visit from a rep from the AFT.
My school was privileged this afternoon to have a visit from Ryan Williams, AFT NJ liaison for Newark aka a local in crisis.

Unfortunately, Ryan had not done his homework and was unaware that Camden Street is completing its third year of renew status and he gave us his spiel for the eight schools slated to be turnarounds this fall. The issue at Camden, as elsewhere, is whether faculty should sign Election to Work Agreements (EWA), which feature two weeks of Summer Institute, four Saturdays and an extended day all for a measly $3,000 stipend. Ryan couched the majority of his responses to questions with the expression, "technically speaking," which I interpreted to mean best case scenario.

For instance, he claimed that non-tenured faculty who do not sign EWAs do not have to worry. He bandied about the figure that 20% of renew faculties have not signed EWAs in the past. I countered that claim that to the best of my knowledge only one faculty member at our school refused to sign and I was not contradicted.

Ryan downplayed the possible ramifications for tenured faculty who do not sign EWAs. I argued that they will most likely become Employees Without Placement Site. He emphasized that the AFT is recommending that nobody sign EWAs. Ryan was unable to answer the question as to why the AFT had not made this recommendation in the past three years. The most alarming aspect of Ryan's presentation was his mention of APNET, a system purportedly used for video taping classroom instruction without the teacher's knowledge. I left shortly afterward so I will await further clarification from our "highly effective" union.

Abigail Shure

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