Friday, May 16, 2008
The Principal, The Budget, The "Rubber Room", The ATRs, and the 2005 Contract
There seems to be some misunderstanding on what a Principal can do, or not do to a teacher. Let me explain it as simply as possible. A Principal can remove a teacher simply by using "false or frivolous accusations" or "phony observation reports" to have a teacher removed from the school. These "false or frivolous accusations" or "phony observation reports" are the most common procedures on how Principals send teachers they don't like to the "rubber room". Let's see how the DOE has caused the vast increase in ATRs and "rubber room" teachers.
School Budget: The "fair student funding program" puts pressure on the Principals to hire lower-paid teachers at the expense of the highly-paid veteran teacher. Many a Principal, especially the Leadership Academy Principals, would rather hire two $43.362 teachers than a $100,049 teacher. Who can blame them? With money tight and more school budget cuts on the way, it is mighty tempting to get two for the price of one and still have $13,325 to spend for other school activities.
Teacher Removal Process: It used to be that when a Principal received permission to remove a teacher, it was for some serious misconduct and that teacher stayed on the school's payroll for a full year. Now, because of the Chancellor's regulations and the anti-teacher crusades at Tweed, the Principal can remove teachers for the most minor of infractions, or for nothing at all. To make it even easier on the principal, the teacher's salary is taken off the school's payroll after only sixty days! That means, that a Principal can get rid of a senior teacher in April and know that the teacher's salary will be off the school's payroll in September. Is it any wonder the "rubber rooms" are bursting at the seems?
The ATRs: The explosion of ATRs in the last couple of years can be laid at the doorstep of the DOE and their policy of encouraging Principals to hire lower-paid and inexperience teachers at the expense of the veteran teacher. The DOE policy of closing schools and excessing these teachers added to the ATR crisis. In fact, the DOE has a new teacher job fair before an ATR job fair is scheduled. The ATR problem has resulted in the UFT to file an age discrimination lawsuit since many of the ATRs are 50 years old or older.
The 2005 Contract: We all know how terrible the 2005 contract was. However, lets go over it's contribution to the ATR crises. The 2005 contract allowed the DOE to eliminate the "Seniority Transfer System" and replace it with the "Open Market System". The UFT spin mister "Leo Casey" told us in Edwize that all jobs will now be advertised and not hidden by the Principals. What he didn't say is that the UFT knew very well that the elimination of the "Seniority Transfer System" would result in the ATR crises, as Principals would look for younger teachers at the expense of the older veterans.
Thee UFT should stop negotiating with the Kleinberg administration and prepare strategies with the next administration for eliminating the "rubber room" and ATR issues. In addition, the reinstatement of the "Seniority Transfer System" and adjusting the "fair student funding" formula should be a top prority. Finally, I would prepare a hard-hitting media blitz on how the Kleinberg administration has put children last based upon class size , teacher turnover, overcrowded schools, and flat test scores and call it the DOE'S "Children Last Program".