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.

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