Monday, June 29, 2015

All Doors are Locked! (Including, of course, the restroom.)

   

They must be ATRs! Lock the doors!
   Many (25 plus) of my fellow ATRs have applied to positions (one to 15 different schools) on the Open Market. None (!) have gotten an interview. I called a friend, who works in a particular school, to ask about a postion that was advertised. He said don't bother, a teacher has already been hired. I asked who it was and was told it was a 24 year old with no experience. I asked why are these imaginary positions being posted. I was told "they have to interview a certain number, even if the job has been filled". So, I replied, if I got the interview, with my 24 years of experience, two masters degrees and numerous awards, I wouldn't get the position? "That's right, it's been filled. Even if it wasn't, no one is going to hire an ATR permanently. If you're hired provisionally (temporarially) the school doesn't pay your salary." (So it makes no sense to hire an ATR, except provisionally. These are the positions that wouldn't  be filled by any sane person and will be forced upon ATRs in the Fall.)  But if we are hired provisionally, we will be subject to Danielson and and the voodoo rating system- all without the same rights as the permanently hired teachers. These diminished due rights were added to our last contract. (Let's all remember that next spring.)

    So who is being hired permanently? The Untenured, Inexperienced, and Inexpensive, or UIIs as I like to refer to them. I don't begrudge them their jobs-( they are the same age as some of my children, and heaven knows those just starting out need a chance), but don't play us for fools telling us there are positions and we need to apply for them. Then there's the union - ATRs don't need a chapter because they are a temporarially displaced group! Weingarten's AFT agrees with these lies, as you can read about in the current ICEUFT blog. Exactly how and when will we stop being temporarily displaced, if no one will hire us permanently?  I urge all ATRs to join Solidarity and vote next spring.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Solidarity, With Portelos, is Running in the 2016 UFT Elections

 

 On a very positive note, Solidarity is running in the upcoming 2016 elections http://www.uftsolidarity.org/uft2016/ . For at least ten years we have had a union full of sycophants with a generally defeatist policy built on appeasement. If our union won't respect us as teachers and individuals, who will? From the 2005 contract, which led to school closings and the creation of the ATR pool, to the current sub-par contract - we have all been played for fools. No more oaths of allegiance; taunting our sanity with cries of victory after every dismal defeat or celebratory fireworks for an increase in teacher's choice. It's time for a real leader, like Portelos, to take back our union and bring respect to our profession in NYC again. All teachers need to take an active role and vote.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Scene From 52 Broadway



Mike: I'm hearing alot of saber rattling from the peasant ATRs. What's this all about Amy?


Amy: I have no idea. Let me ask. Mike! Where are you?


Mike S. : Yes, your highness. How may I be of assistance?

Amy: What's going on with the ATRs?

Mike S.: I don't know, let me plug my phone in for about 30 seconds and I'll let you know. (Mike then plugs in his phone and answers a call.)

ATR (on the phone): I've just been U rated for the second year in row. I yawned while the supervisor was threatening me and now I've been brought up on insubordination charges. Please help me!

Mike S. : (Doesn't respond, hangs up phone and runs to Amy.) Amy, the ATRs are being U rated.

Amy: Thanks. ( Goes back to Mike's office)

Mike: Well, what's going on?

Amy: The ATRs are being U rated.

Mike: Oh, thank goodness. I thought it was something serious.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Fond Farewell

 
   On my odyssey around the Bronx I often come across teachers, paras, APs and even principals that I worked with, for well over a decade, at a school that is now closing it doors for the final time. This was a vocational school that really got kids into college or onto a career. If the kid had no interest or was a displinary problem he/she was sent to their zoned school. Then after the No Child Left Behind Act students were being sent to our school who had never chosen it. They were put into vocational classes in which they had no interest and the school started going down fast. Zoned, neighborhood  schools were closed. Therefor these students remained. Then high need students were sent specifically to this school. Of course, the stats plummeted, the school was slated for closure and most became ATRs. (Now the few remaining teachers will also become ATRs.)

     This is the month the school lets out its last breath. In doing so it leaves at its wake much success and happy memories. My best teaching days were spent there and to be honest I couldn't stand to go to the reunion. I'm too sentimental. Those times are past. Schools are now tantamount to fast food restaurants and mangled (or is it managed?) as such. I hope one day that schools become schools again in NYC.

     In closing, I want to wish all a wonderful summer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What Does a NYC 3 Billion Dollar Surplus Say to Teachers?

   
 Last spring, listening to "doom and gloom" Mulgrew on how the city really couldn't afford to give us much, I shook my head. I thought to myself is anyone going to buy into this? I figured there was no way the contract would pass- after all, teachers are the most educated and thrifty (don't deny it) group around. There was also the undeniably abject provisions in the contract against ATRs.
While the UFT was marching for justice, they were discriminating against their most veteran members. The contract passed by 77%! Another great victory for the UFT, teachers and Mike Mulgrew.

     Years ago when Oprah's show was hitting the stratosphere, she had to renegotiate her contract with the network. At the time she had her agent go into the negotiations. He came back to her with what seemed a reasonable increase and she was going to sign the contract. What changed her mind? Well the network executives came out, told her that her agent was a great guy and slapped him on the back. It dawned on her that if someone is supposed to be negotiating the best deal for you, they are not going to have that kind of reaction with an adversary. She fired her agent. (She started her own company and started making serious money.) Will teachers ever have this epiphany?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Bloomberg and Murdoch - Modern Day Gilded Age Tycoons

 I just read a deeply disturbing article that can have long lasting and devasting effects on the middle class and immigration. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/04/us/last-task-after-layoff-at-disney-train-foreign-replacements.html The CEO, Mr. Iger, of Disney brought in hundreds of Indian immigrants, tricked their employees into training them and then fired the American workers. Employers are using the H-1B visas to do this domestic version of outsourcing. The H-1B visas are supposed to be used for positions in the sciences in which there aren't enough American candidates. Iger used it to bring down labor costs at Disney. Guess who is partnering with Murdoch to push for an overhaul of immigration laws and an increase in H-1B visas? That right, Mr. Bloomberg. They call their organization "A Partnership for a New American Economy" http://youtu.be/a7M9xqsvvh4 . It has the potential to further decimate the middle-class, cost tax payers billions in unemployment, create intense hatred of immigrants, and make billions for the 1% club. Every large industry, including education, will be looking to bring in cheap labor to replace the American worker. This has the potential to be a disaster for our economy. I don't usually write about economic topics, but I feel everyone should know about this.



Friday, June 5, 2015

Do You Know of Any ATRs that were Permanently Hired?

 
     Interesting question? I know about 100 ATRs. About 25 of them have been provisionally placed, but only 1 has been permanently hired - and that was last year. I know of no one who was permanently hired this year.

     Many teachers, who aren't ATRs , don't understand the distinction between permanently hired and provisionally placed. Is this intentional? It certainly makes the ATR numbers look considerably lower to the uninformed and unquestioning. The vast majority of ATRs (who are out of the rotation pool) are provisionally placed and are thus given "subpar" status as opposed to the permanently hired teacher. "Subpar", in that it is temporary, forced, and the recipient of this gift is subject to diminished due process rights - not that the ATR is subpar (which is what many would have you believe). Would any ATR want to be provisionally placed? I know of many who did, believing their hard work and professionalism would win them a permanent position. Needless to say that didn't happen for any of them.

    Many ATRs are currently on the Open Market looking for a permanent position. It seems incredibly unfair that the permanent positions are being given to the inexperienced and untenured over the better candidates, while the unwanted provisional positions are forced onto ATRs.
    UPDATE 6/7: Several ATRs contacted me this weekend to tell me that they received their excess letters last Friday. Despite their best efforts they are back in the ATR pool.