Sunday, November 11, 2018

UFT Leadership's Animal Farm

Back in 1945 George Orwell published a book called "Animal Farm" that was based upon the 1917 Russian Revolution.  The book showed how some animals were more equal then other animals.  The same can be said about the UFT leadership.  In today's New York Post a prime example of this is President Michael Mulgrew getting free tickets for the U.S. Open year after year from the legal group that gets millions of dollars from the UFT.  Read Susan Edelman's New York Post article on it Here.

By contrast teachers cannot receive any gift greater than $50 dollars and are never offered "freebies".  This is the very same union leadership that agreed to Charlotte Danielson for teacher evaluation, without member input.  Moreover, the very same union leadership that allowed the ATR pool to occur, without educator input, and agreed to the useless rotation without member discussion.   Finally, it's the very same union leadership that agreed to inferior raises and significant "givebacks" that made teaching in the NYC classroom a minefield.

Both the DOE and the UFT have a pecking order that treat different groups differently.  President Michael Mukgrew and his cronies are the "pigs" in Animal Farm while the rest of us are simply farm animals.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Breaking News - ATRs Are To Stay In Place For The Semester.

I have been informed that the DOE will leave ATRs in place, at the school they started in for the rest of the semester.  I had heard this rumor last month and it seems that is what has happened, with some exceptions.

Will ATRs be rotated at all?  I do believe they will be rotated for the second semester.  Let's see if that actually happens.

Just to remind ATRs, the useless rotation was proposed by the UFT leadership back in 2012 and adopted by the DOE.  So blame our union leadership for the rotation that make ATRs a stranger in a strange land.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Consequences Of Mayor Bill de Blasio Keeping Bloomberg Holdovers At Tweed

When Bill de Blasio became Mayor of New York City, many hoped that the Bloomberg era policymakers at Tweed would have been forced to resign as he would "clean house".  Unfortunately. the Mayor appointed Carmen Farina as Chancellor and she retained 80% of the Bloomberg policymakers.  The result was the conflict between the DOE and teachers continued as teachers looked at the DOE as the enemy.

DOE policies like school-based "Fair Student Funding" which incentivizes principals to hire "the cheapest and not the best teachers" for their school.  Tight school budgets that was only funded at 90% of their appropriate funding.  The 1,000+ ATR pool that wastes $150 million dollars a year.   Finally, the continued hiring of incompetent and vindictive "Leadership Academy Principals" that , rather than collaborate with staff did the opposite and dictated to their staff.

However, the worst offense by the Bloomberg policymakers at the DOE was violating student privacy laws by giving student names and addresses to charter schools in violation of State and Federal privacy laws.  By giving the charter schools public school student names and addresses, the charter schools,  armed with this knowledge they were able to pick off students that were not English Language Learners and did not need Special Education services, by sending them glossy flyers about their charter school.

Susan Edelman of the New York Post published an article that shows why the DOE may have violated student privacy rights and both the State and Federal government have initiated an investigation.  On the nyc public school parent blog more information is also available.

The DOE's apparent violation of student privacy rights should result in many resignations at Tweed if the Mayor and Chancellor do their "due diligence".

Monday, November 05, 2018

If ATRs Had Their Own Bargaining Unit, They Would Have Voted Overwelmingly No!

The UFT contract easily passed with only school nurses voting against it.  However, if ATRs had their own negotiating unit, they would have overwhelmingly voted no!

Why did ATRs vote no?  Let me count the ways.

  • ATRsa re treated as second class citizens.
  • ATRs are forced placed.
  • ATRs cannot refuse an assignment.
  • ATRs are rotated without consent.
  • ATRs have few opportunities to take per session jobs.
  • ATRs are observed in strange classrooms.
  • ATRs are observed by field supervisors.
  • ATRs have no input in student grades.
  • ATRs are discriminated by the DOE's school-based fair student funding policy.
Now you know why ATRs voted no on the contract.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Maximum TDA Limit Raised To $19,000 For 2019.

Starting  January 2019 the maximum annual limit will increase by $500, from $18,500 to $19,000.   If the educator is 50 years of age or older, the TDA allows a "catch up" contribution of $6,000, which is unchanged from 2018.  Therefore, the total maximum limit for educators 50 years of age or older is $25,000.

The more you contribute to the TDA, the less you pay in taxes that year since your TDA contribution is tax deferred..  Moreover, the TDA is exempt from State and City taxes in New York State.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Rotatuon Or No Rotation? That Is The Question.

Rumors are flying around that ATRs will stay in one school the entire school year,  However, according to the DOE ATR rotation is still in force for this school year.  When will ATRs be rotated is anybody's guess.?

Originally, ATRs were to be rotated this month and that may still be the case.  However, I have also heard that ATRs will stay in one school for the semester   It is possible that the ATRs will not be rotated at all.  Of course nobody at the DOE or UFT will confirm or dispute the rumors.

Even principals have no clue on how long they can depend on having the ATR in their school.  Therefore, they cannot assign ATRs to a class since they cannot depend on the ATR being in his or her school a month from now.

You would think that for stability sake the DOE and UFT would have come to an agreement on how long an ATR is assigned to a school.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween Special - Horror Stories From The ATR Pool.

Back in 2014 I wrote a post on the horror stories told to me from ATRs.  I have decided to repost the article.  Please enjoy.

Today is Halloween and  its time to reprint my Halloween special from last year on the various horror figures in the form of administrators, fellow educators, and of course those lovely students who make life miserable for the ATRs as they rotate from school to school. Added to the list is one more from this school year, Here is the reprint of my post from last year, with additions.  Hope you enjoy reading it.

Horror Stories From The ATR Pool.

With Halloween here, its time to recount some of the horror stories told to me by the ATRs in the last couple of years.

Freddy Kruger:
This nightmare started when an ATR, trying to go the extra yard in entertaining the class he was covering, by asking them to solve a math question, using a baseball analogy.  In describing the problem he used statistics commonly used in baseball.  However, one female student didn't understand the concept and he patiently explained the math problem to her.  When she still didn't get it, the teacher explained that since she really didn't understand baseball he could see her confusion in solving the Math problem.  The girl felt insulted and reported the ATR to the Principal who charged the ATR with gender discrimination and verbal abuse. The ATR ended up with a Letter To The File (LIF) and a "u rating" for the year.

An ATR covering a leave replacement was teaching a Science lesson when three girls decided to play "UNO" instead.  The teacher asked the girls to put the cards away three times.  However, the girls refused the teacher's request.  The Teacher went over to three girls and took the UNO cards away.  One girl refused to give up her pile and the teacher grabbed them from her hand.  In doing so he touched her hand in taking the UNO cards away.  The three girls went to the Principal and the teacher ended up being charged with corporal punishment and OSI was contacted.  The result was a LIF for the teacher and no disciplinary consequences for the three students who failed to do their work or follow the rules.

Michael Myers:
A student was feeling ill and the ATR, who was provisionally assigned to the school, told the student to go to the school clinic to be checked out.  The teacher was trying to do what's right by having qualified medical personal observe her and to ensure the child's illness was not contagious to her classmates.  The student refused to go and an argument ensued until the student reluctantly went to the school clinic.  Two weeks later the Principal held a disciplinary hearing and charged the teacher with verbal abuse (yelling)  and embarrassing the student in front of her classmates.  The  teacher ended up with a LIF and a "U rating" for the year.

An untenured ATR provisionally assigned to the school saw a poor performing student's Regents paper being marked separately from others and in another room and quickly realized that the teacher was violating State rules.  She asked the teacher why he had the student's Regents paper and was told to mind her own business.  She reported it first to the Assistant Principal and then the Principal of the alleged Regents violation.  However, it appears the Assistant Principal and Principal wanted this student out of the school and were in on it.  The untenured ATR's satisfactory observations in the Fall semester became "Unsatisfactory observations" after she reported the Regents violation, in the Spring semester.  She was discontinued at the end of the school year.

A certified regular education Math ATR was dumped into a self-contained Special Education class all day without any technology or lesson plans left for the classes and was told by the Assistant Principal to keep them entertained when he complained about the lack of appropriate work for the students.  He tried his best but the students were out of control and when the Assistant Principal walked in saw that the teacher was having trouble keeping them focused.  The Assistant Principal gave the ATR a "U observation" for poor classroom management.

Villain: (new)

 Then there was the field supervisor assassin who "U" rated a poor Science teacher covering a Spanish class and stated that the coverage lesson, left by the teacher, was not rigorous enough and the ATR should have prepared her own lesson instead rather than you the coverage lesson left for the class.  Moreover, the ATR's lack of understanding Spanish or the fact that this was the first time she was exposed to these students was not an excuse and resulted in the ATR getting a "U" observation and was the basis of her "U" rating.  You can read the entire villainous story here.

Frankenstein: (new)
 This year, there is an ATR who was covering for a leave replacement in a severe shortage area where there are no other ATRs available who are certified in that Regents subject area,  The ATR was threatened to be shot by a student.  The result?  The Frankenstein Principal removed the ATR from the school while the 125 students did not have a certified teacher available to replace the ATR for their Regents course.    What happened to the student who threatened to kill the ATR?   Despite the many witnesses to the threat, the school didn't even punish the student for the monstrous action of threatening to kill the ATR.

Count Dracula: (New)
This ATR was sent to a school with one of the worst principals in the system.  She found that many of her Special Education  students (maternity leave replacement) had major behavioral issues and when she tried to discipline them, the Principal filed corporal punishment charges against the ATR.  Yet, she was kept in the classroom to continue to teach for the rest of the year.  At the end of the school year the ATR received her 3020-a charges.

These are just a few of the many horror stories from the ATR pool.  If you have some stories to share, please send them to the comment section and I will publish them.