Kudos to bloggers NYC Educator and Chaz's School Daze and ICEUFT Blog for helping create and run the ATR info session.Arthur Goldstein suggested to Mike Schirter, James Eterno and
James Eterno gave us some history of the ATR situation and has a report of the meeting at the ICE blog (SUCCESSFUL MORE-ICE ATR MEETING) where he listed some of the issues discussed by Eric:
- The history of the ATR mess
- The 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 (now expired) ATR agreements
- Rights of ATRs
- Contacting Mike Sill/Amy Arundell at the UFT if an ATR's rights are being violated
- Filing grievances
- Attempts to organize ATRs
- Age discrimination
- Difficulty in getting hired permanently
- Provisional positions
- Problem codes for people who are 3020a hearing survivors
- Weekly, monthly, or yearly rotations-What works best?
- Organizing ourselves
- ATR's having a class for six months being covered under Danielson
Mike got MORE to donate a few bucks for light refreshments. As the day approached I had mixed feelings: About giving up what was turning out to be the last beautiful Saturday before entering 5 months of dark, cold weather. About trying to try to work with ATRs since basically giving up 5 years ago after putting a great amount of personal effort into trying to put together a group of ATRs - that effort dissipated into bickering and recriminations. We had modest goals for this event: Provide information so people can survive the best they can. If this group keeps meeting it might morph into something but we'll see.
I had no idea of how many people might show -- I was thinking maybe a small handful. Mike told me about 15 had responded on FB - given the usual attrition, I guessed about 10. I imagined we would basically sit in a circle and strategize the possibilities for ATRs going forward. I drove into the city early and went shopping for some basic refreshments - some soda and pretzels and chips but not so much that we would be left with lots of leftovers.
I got there shortly before the 1PM advertised start time to find over 15 people already in the room. Oh well, I thought as I put out the refreshments, first come first serve. People were chatting, some meeting for the first time, and some came over to chat as I laid out the refreshments. I had an engaging conversation with a soon to retire ATR - retiring because conditions had just gotten too bad. A 2nd careerer he had less than 15 years in the system. A guy with a PhD who really wanted to help kids and teach - so impressive and a deep thinker about education. He said he had been in 100 schools and things were deplorable. I congratulated him on his pending retirement and told him how I've tried to extricate myself from the ed mess since I retired -- call it an Eexit - but gravity keeps pulling me back - I said I would understand if he never wanted to talk about schools again but if he wanted to stay in the struggle from the safety of retirement he should get in touch. I'm hoping he does.
It was 1:20 and people kept drifting in but I started the meeting with an intro and a report on the section I was supposed to do - a brief history of the 2008 rally and the impact it had on the UFT and DOE - as I reported the other day --- Reminder of ATR Meeting Sat. Nov. 19 1-4 PM - ATR History - 2008 Rally Redux.
A sign up sheet was being passed around and I assured people they did not have to sign it if they didn't want to and also that we would not bombard them with emails about MORE -- I felt this was not an event to push MORE - but to use the resources of MORE as a caucus to support initiatives coming from ATRs - MORE doesn't have an ATR agenda or program -
Well, the upshot is that around 40 people showed up and Eric stood for almost 2 hours answering every single question with a depth of knowledge --and he also managed the group so well as if teaching a class - I've seen some ATR events disintegrate -- and allowed people to share experiences and get their points in. Every single person had a chance. I know I learned so much.
One of Eric's points was that the UFT is not useless as some ATRs claim. That Amy Arundell and Mike Sill will get stuff straightened out when called. Many in the audience affirmed that point too. While acknowledging the problems with the UFT in helping the DOE create the ATR situation, I never imagined an ATR event where the UFT would receive any praise at all.
By the way - ICE will be meeting on Dec. 2 to discuss a number of issues, including the recent election and doing more events like this - space is limited since we go to a diner so if interested contact me.