Friday, October 13, 2017

Get It While You Can - Janis Joplin


   This morning I read two articles that were relatively disturbing. Relatively when viewed through the lens of another natural disaster or a nuclear holocaust. The first was in the NY Post concerning a protest by charter school parents against ATRs being forced placed into schools. would parents that have kids in charter schools care about or even know the term 'ATR'? Why would they care if we are sent into public schools with vacancies? We are much more qualified than any charter school teacher - especially now that charter schools can certify their own teachers. These parents are being manipulated to ensure that veteran teachers are not returned to the classroom after being removed for any reason. These groups want temporary teachers - 3 to 5 years stints. If teaching remains a career and not a job the salaries will remain high. This equates into less profits. Why would anyone get a undergrad degree and a master's for a three to five year gig? They wouldn't- therefore the charters will lower the requirements, while using this as a reason to pay less and make sure their workers go on their miserable way in due time. ATRs are a real threat to this plan. I'm glad the UFT sued over the charters being allowed to do this. I am, however, not pleased with their silence in defending ATRs against the many scandalous, salacious and surreal attacks by these groups and their allies.

   The second article that was upsetting was in Chalkbeat. article was not biased. Ms. Veiga is an excellent journalist. The article mentions that Farina won't have any ATRs placed in renewal schools.

     Why? There's no reason mentioned specifically by Farina so we are only left with the assumption that this is an acquiescence to the Charter school groups. A real shame for the renewal schools because we are the most experienced and the most educated of all city teachers. The complete opposite of the picture that is being painted. I believe Farina knows this, but may be  doing this out of political expediency, as this is an election year for Bill. I understand that, and to be honest I wouldn't imagine many teachers - ATRs or not, would want to be placed into a renewal school. There should however have been a strong statement of defense from the UFT.

   I dedicate this song to the UFT via 'Janus' Joplin

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Possibly Maybe

The UFT has the answers to the questions you need to know, (as you know if you did or will attend one their annual ATR meetings).

ATR: Will we be moved on October 15th or will we stay in our schools? 

UFT: Possibly.

ATR: If we are moved to another school will we remain at that school for the rest of the year?

UFT: Maybe

ATR: If we are moved to another school will we rotate? 

UFT: Possibly.

ATR: If we are rotated will it be a longer rotation then a month?

UFT: Maybe.

ATR: If we are rotated into a new school will it be less than a month rotation?

UFT: Possibly.

ATR: Will we be provisionally placed if not rotated?

UFT: Maybe. 

This interaction reminded me of a Bjork song called Possibly Maybe. Wonderful song. . that she may have some fans down at 52. Personally I think I preferred the Magic 8 Ball answers, although I do love that song- but not when the UFT is singing it.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Don't Become Distracted

Green Acres, D.C.

    Distractions - what are they used for? To take your attention away from things that may be much more important - for you and for the person who is using the manipulation. I don't watch football anymore and to be honest I haven't in quite some time.This is America -if someone doesn't want to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance that's their right. Personally, I don't like it, but I respect it. Don't disrespect our country just because you hate Trump. This of course, should not be a national issue of import other than for op-ed pieces.  I know there are many people who disagree with me. That's fine, too. (Don't disagree with Trump though, especially on Facebook- that's another no-no.) Many of my ancestors fought in numerous wars for our country as patriots at great personal and family costs. This whole thing is a major distraction from real issues.
     Right now there are extreme examples of global warming that are causing devastation in many parts of the world. (Trump of course denies global warming.) I have a special affinity for Puerto Rico and I am deeply troubled by what is happening there. There needs to be more done for Puerto Rico NOW. There also seems to be a real chance of war with North Korea. Trump calling their leader 'Rocketman' diminishes and ridicules the seriousness of this issue. Then there's his war on prescription medication, which is going to create a tremendous spike in heroin addiction. Chris Christie is the Opiod Guru and he obviously has an addiction of his own. Perhaps, Obesity Guru would have been a better choice for him. Tightening the legal supply of prescription medication for people who need it is going to put innocent people (that have committed no crimes) in great pain and anguish. It will also push some to heroin, which is cheaper, stronger and easier to obtain. roulette curtesy of #45. They may get heroin or instant death. At least make marijuana legal for pain management. Oh yes, it is already legal for pain management - but just about impossible to get. I don't know if you've ever experienced someone in tremendous pain (or perhaps yourself) not being able to get access to some kind of relief - it is hell on earth. Trump is adamantly against marijuana, drugs and alcohol. I understand that because his brother drank himself to death. I would respect that view if he hadn't tried to profit from the sale of alcohol. He manufactured and sold his own brand of vodka under the Trump label. He is the supreme hypocrite.
     He is also causing extreme polarization in this country and is very embarrassing to me personally as an American. I don't like hearing Europeans and people from around the world criticizing our president. I find myself becoming enraged because they are right and I am deeply offended, not only by their remarks, but by having this man in office. Do I really want to get into a fistfight defending Trump? No, but I cannot sit by and listen to people from other countries mocking him in the most obscene ways. He needs to understand his role, respect the office and start representing us with some dignity.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Information for ATRs Before the World Ends

      Someone told me the world maybe ending soon. That wasn't much of a surprise to me. The world ends for all of us when we die. It's our living that we should be focused on. Are you happy? Or at peace? Happiness is a deliberate decision; peace is something different. I'm at peace - for those fellow ATR travelers who may not be, the UFT will attempt to assuage your fear. Here's the link for those of you, like me, that weren't informed (I believe they would like you to RSVP, perhaps quail and caviar will be on the menu? Better grab a P&J before hand.) :

Happy Rosh Hashanah.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Repost- How do We get out of the ATR Pool?

I decided to repost this. Nothing much has changed since it was written two years ago, other than the outrageous DOE/UFT endorsed sanctions against ATRs were sunsetted; and that we now have forced placements to look forward to - something that was to meant to start a stampede of ATRs into retirement, with a 50K incentive. We are experienced experts in our field and instead of offering us 50 K NOT to leave, we are politely told to f--k off. All with our union's blessing- two ATRs told a UFT rep they were excited by the choice. In rereading my original post, I was reminded that Ms. Hinds did something one would expect from a UFT leader - she called for an end to individual school budgets. This needs to be priority number one from the UFT. Nothing will change for any teacher - new or old until that is done. Every teacher that survives at least ten years in the system will be turned into an ATR, because of cost and cost alone. Everything else we are hearing are lies and distractions to hide that simple truth. There is no teacher shortage, there is no lack of money in NYC coffers, Janus is quickly becoming a hope - not a nightmare for many teachers and charter schools are not gaining ground. Thousands of new NYCDOE teachers were just hired.

No new teacher should have been hired until every ATR was placed in their licensed content area, as a teacher - not a defacto sub. The Unfair Student Funding all but insures there will be very few vacancies as of October 15th because of cost, and seniority. The media outcry against ATRs is an outcry against the possibility of teaching remaining a career and not a job. Many want teaching to be viewed as a stepping stone to something else. If it remains a career, teachers will acquire higher salaries as the years go by, and will use the union to ensure our rights. That the UFT, with the prospect of losing mandatory dues, would ignore these attacks tells me that they don't understand this concept or have surrendered to the inevitably of Janus and are sitting on their laurels. A union should be so much more than the UFT is currently - and no Mike, I'm still loyal to the UFT and will continue to pay my dues.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How Do We Get Out of the ATR Pool?

Yesterday morning, on my way into a large high school campus building, I met a former student of mine that I hadn't seen in years. He was happy to see me and surprised we were in the same school. He is now a teacher and doing well. He became a teacher via the traditional route. He said he really didn't understand the whole ATR thing, but if "they are forcing great teachers to be subs something is really messed up". How did it come to this? After 23 years of teaching, never receiving an unsatisfactory, being the moderator of several clubs, and having felt the thrill of having many of my former students graduate college, I woke up to find myself in a surreal environment. ATRs are sent to different schools on a weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, (or any old way) to sub. We don't know the staff, students, building, neighborhood or any of the things most teachers take for granted. There is no set routine, everything is in flux - from daily schedules to lunch. We are often treated with an undisguised level of distain by many we come into contact with. We are asked to do things that a regularly appointed teacher would never be asked. This ranges from lunch duty, deaning, hall duty, punching in and out- to being traded to schools within a building. If we complain we are told we must do it or face insubordination charges. We are told we can always grieve it at another time. No one has our backs. The Chapter Leaders rarely, if ever introduce themselves, and will tell you straight up they don't want to get involved with ATR issues. Even Mulgrew, the president of our union, put a diminished due process clause in the recent contract. Most of us have found that being a "sub" (in every context) in the ATR pool is completely demoralizing. Yet, here we remain, day after day, week after week, year after year. Who were we replaced with? "Newbies" (from organizations like TFA), who are overwhelmingly young, from rural America and totally unprepared for the reality of inner-city teaching. These teachers have been failing miserably and like the last flowers of autumn stay only a short time.

So why don't the schools hire us, if we are experienced and effective? Cost. The ATR situation was solidified by the city via individual school budgets. As each school gets a separate budget, there is an artificially placed economic disincentive to hiring anyone but the most inexperienced. Huh?! That's right. This is the worst possible thing you can do to students. The money all comes out of the same place. Why punish every constituency? Some of us have been languishing for a decade waiting for an end to this scheme. There was a recent (UFT) resolution from Ms. Hinds to go back to unit funding for schools. We now have a new mayor and chancellor. I believe they both want what's best for NYC's students. It is my hope that they change the funding process to ensure fairness for all.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

What's Next?

    I was talking today with my mother and daughter concerning the state of affairs in the world. We all agreed that it seems very frightening. Three hurricanes, an earthquake that could create a tsunami, a nuclear test that created an earthquake, and increased instability in so many parts of the world. Couple all this with the overwhelming sense of selfish materialism that has been exhibited by so many of our leaders and we have some strong signs that something terrible is going to happen. I certainly don't want that. I love my children, my country and innocence in all it's forms.  

     Nature seems to be fighting back and perhaps some of us should as well. That certainly doesn't mean violence, but it means letting your voice be heard, when you don't agree with the injustice that you may be seeing or experiencing. This can be a very hard thing to do. Everyone seems to be waiting for the next person to speak up. The problem is no one seems to care. I think it's fear. There's no shame in fear, if you fight it. There are so many people in our society who are living lives of quiet desperation. Many of them happen to be teachers, and that's a disgrace. I believe teachers should be a moral and social voice for those that don't have one. Children that came into our country as infants (and don't even know their parents language) should not be kicked out. People are fleeing from situations that we can't even imagine . Who's to say that may not be us in the future? If our country became a waste land because of war or the environment and we started a mass exodus to Canada or a de-thawed Antarctic, would you want to be turned back? I think we as a people have to be better and have to offer help to those less fortunate. Speak out against the injustices you see.  We are Americans and that still means something to most of us. Write, speak, vote, protest and be brave.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Great Advice - Romans 12:9-12

    I did this reading in church yesterday and thought it could help many, even some of my agnostic and atheistic friends.

Romans 12:9-21

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection, outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be arrogant, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is at all possible, so far as it is depends on you, live peaceably with others. Beloved never avenge yourself, but leave room for the wrath of God. For it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay it, says the Lord." No, if your enemies are hungry feed them, if they are thirsty give them something to drink. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful year. Never despair.