Friday, March 21, 2014
The Union Needs To Take A Stand Against The Unfair ATR Field Supervisor Observations.
Previously, I wrote an article claiming that the DOE took an ATR field supervision pilot program in Brooklyn and extended it throughout the City which has resulted in many unfair "U observations" to ATRs. When I first wrote the article I was only hearing rumors of some ATRs getting "U observations" and likely "U ratings". Now I have been hearing numerous complaints about how the ATR field supervisors are observing teachers not in their content specialty or in classes that the ATR meets for the first time. How unfair is that!. Worse yet, some ATRs are being given "letters to their file" by these very same field supervisors. How can an ATR, who has no ownership of the students be observed? Furthermore, how do you develop an improvement plan when the ATR is constantly rotating?
This week I was in a school that is considered to have poor academic issues and behavioral problems. The other ATR I was with told me that his field supervisor, a retired Principal, was coming to observe him. I told him that I didn't think it was a good idea for him to be observed in this school considering what we experienced there. He assured me that the field supervisor was fair and would make sure he had one of the better classes to observe him in. Yeah right, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
The day of the observation came and the field supervisor selected the 8th period class full of "out of control" 9th graders. To make matters even worse, the ATR field supervisor told the classroom teacher to leave telling the classroom teacher, "I want to see how he handles the class without you there". That's right the teacher was dumped into a class that the teacher never had before and was supposed to control a bunch of rowdy 9th graders as if he was their classroom teacher.
The result was that students walked around the room, walked out the door without permission, and took their cellphones out to text message or listen to music. No matter what the ATR did, the students wouldn't listen to him. After, the class was over, the field supervisor curtly told the ATR "you will be hearing from me next week". He expects he will receive a "U observation" and a likely "U rating". Interestingly. the next day the classroom teacher heard about the class behavior and told them how disappointed she was in them. She told the students that the ATR was being observed and you probably hurt his chances to teach again. The students were very remorseful and even the "knuckleheads" were sorry they acted badly. However, the damage was done and now this ATR, who was set up by the field supervisor, will have to fight hard not to get a "U rating".
Why doesn't our union file a PERB complaint and expedited grievance to put a stop to this transitivity? Is this the union's attempt to encourage ATR's to retire? James Eterno in the ICEblog explained how useless the union was when he wanted to take a "U observation" case further. President Michael Mulgrew claims he sees a change in tone at the DOE. Really? I must be tone deaf since to me its the same old "gotcha game" practiced by the very same people who were in power during the vindictive Bloomberg/Klein/Walcott administration.