Wednesday, October 14, 2015
The Failure Of Our Union To Make Life Better For Our Members. Part IV, The ATRs.
One of the most damaging sellouts that Randi Weingarten and Michael Mulgrew engineered was the creation of the ATR crisis and the reduction in due process rights that has resulted in the ATR becoming a second class citizen in the union.
Before the terrible 2005 contract, all excessed teachers were offered their choice of vacancies, by seniority order, in their district. Principals were able to hide half of these vacancies until the school year started hoping to hire a "newbie" teacher if all the excessed teachers were all placed in their content specialty. However, all the excessed teachers were eventually placed, if not always in the school they would have freely chose. While this procedure was not without faults, most everybody was properly placed in the subject they taught in. Since teacher salaries were based upon units and not actual salary, most principals were happy to have experienced teachers instructing their students.
However, for some unexplained reason Randi Weingarten decided that the time tested hiring system could be replaced by a system that eliminated seniority transfer and bumping of non tenured teachers. If that was not bad enough, she also allowed Chancellor Joel Klein to impose the "fair student funding" on the schools that replaced the DOE paid teaching units with actual salary charged to the school. The result was an explosion of excessed teachers, many from the 163 closing schools under Mayor Bloomberg and far too many were highly paid veteran teachers. The excessed teacher pool, known as the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) increased from tens of teachers to over 1,400 teachers! The number of ATRs swelled during the summer as the many provisional ATRs and leave replacements were sent back to the ATR pool and probably ranged fom 2,000 to 2,600 at its peak. Few principals were willing to hire these highly experienced veteran teachers due to budget considerations and age discrimination, especially the newly minted "Leadership Academy Principals",
As the ATR crisis exploded, he UFT formed an ATR committee with the DOE to discuss ATR issues. However, the committee was secretive and did not include ATRs or seek their opinion that affected them. Lead by Michael Mandel and Leo Casey they arrogantly made decisions that flew in the face of what many ATRs were asking for, In fact, it was Michael Mandel's lamebrain ides to propose to the DOE the ridiculous weekly rotation system which the DOE eagerly agreed to in the hopes that many ATRs would feel useless and resign or retire in frustration. While the new lead UFT people Amy Arundell and Michael Sill are more transparent and eagerly solicit ATR comments, the damage has already been done,
When Michael Mulgrew became President of the UFT things only became worse for the ATRs as the union allowed the field supervisors (known as field assassins) to unfairly rate ATRs on classes outside their content specialty and with students they don't know. Already, some ATRs have been charged wunder 3020-a with incompetence after getting two consecutive :U: ratings from these field supervisors, despite the fact no Principal charged the teacher! How unfair is that?
The latest contract, agreed to by Micaael Mukgrew, further reduces ATR "due process" rights by making them second class citizens and an expedited 3020-a hearing for the still undefined "problematic behavior". Moreover, he refuses to give the 1,400 ATRs their own Chapter and claims that the school Chapter Leaders can represent them. Yeah right, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. No other municipal union has allowed the City to impose different rights for a group of members like the UFT did to the ATRs and that is the real issue.