Thursday, August 06, 2009
The Legacy Of Randi Weingarten- Our Union Rolled Over And Played Dead To The DOE And Now We Have An ATR Crises And Overcrowded "Rubber Rooms"
Before Randi Weingarten became President of the UFT, there were few, if any ATRs and the "rubber rooms" were populated by between 80 and 100 teachers annually. However, as Randi Weingarten leaves the UFT we have both an ATR crises with 2,340 ATRs and overcrowded "rubber rooms" that have over 700 teachers in them. Both of these problems can be traced back to the infamous 2005 contract that allowed the DOE to hire "newbie teachers" rather than fill the position with an excessed teacher. The result was that when Principals had a vacancy they no longer had to fill it with an excessed teacher and could hire whomever the Principal wanted. This resulted in not only the creation of the ATR ranks but senior teachers found themselves reassigned out of the classroom as Principals saw an opportunity to remove them based on frivolous charges, knowing that they can then hire a "newbie teacher" for less money.
Furthermore, Randi Weingarten allowed Tweed to bring in the "fair student funding" program that penalized schools who hired senior teachers which further added to the ATR ranks. Finally, the union failed to object when the DOE allowed schools to take a teacher off their budget after only 60 days when they sent the teacher to the "rubber room". This has become a salary dump for many Principals who want to cut their budget.
Time and again Randi Weingarten signed unenforceable agreements with Joel Klein (ATR agreement, "rubber room" agreement ) and was "shocked" when Tweed reneged and ignored the agreements. Moreover, under Randi's watch teachers have lost control of their classrooms, experienced a loss of "due process" in the disciplinary hearings, and most importantly, has allowed the DOE to impose whatever "flavor of the day" program they were sold by consultants which resulted in more charges of incompetence as Principals blame the teachers when "high needs students" could not do the work even when the program was not suited for them.
While I hold little hope that Mike Mulgrew will lead the union into a pro-active organization, I do wish that our appointed President goes on the offensive and holds the DOE's feet to the fire by getting some takebacks in the next contract. I can dream, can't I?