Saturday, May 31, 2008
The Open Market System - Are All The Vacancies Being Posted?
One of the most contentious giveback of the terrible 2005 contract was the elimination of the "Seniority Transfer System" that allowed senior teachers to transfer to another school and possibly bumping a less experienced teacher. We all now know the consequences of the elimination of the "Seniority Transfer System" . The nearly thousand ATRs that now float from school to school and eat up the DOE budget. Of course the DOE and UFT knew this was going to happen and let it happen anyway. Shame on them. In it's place was the wonderful, or so Leo Casey claims, "Open Market Transfer System" where all the school vacancies must be posted, rather than half of them. No more hiding school vacancies, all vacancies must be posted! Yeah, tight and I am really the tooth fairy.
The "Open Market Transfer System" was touted by the UFT spin mister Leo Casey in Edwize last year showing how well it worked in the first year of operation. Of course it was quite obvious that even using Leo's suspect statistics you can see that senior teachers had more trouble transferring than new teachers. In fact, according to Leo Casey's statistics there were 1,202 teachers who transferred with less than five years of experience in 2005 (there were only 31 teachers who transferred in this experience group under the old system) compared to only 163 senior teachers with twenty or more years of experience. Note, this is for 2006, before the "fair student funding" program and the school budget cuts which will further limit senior teachers from changing schools. I would like to see the 2007 statistics Leo, where are they? Did you forget to post them like you did last May? What is even more worrisome is that the UFT knew that senior teachers would have a tough time finding a new school and agreed to it anyway.
As we progress into the 2008-09 school year there seems to be anecdotal evidence that many of the vacancies, especially in the new small schools and in schools that have Empowerment or Leadership Academy Principals are not being posted in the "Open Market Transfer System". Just to give an example in all of Queens, there are only six Math positions posted for the middle and high schools. The same is true for the Physical Sciences (Earth Science, Chemistry, & Physics) where only five positions are listed. These two subject areas are in great demand and subject to severe shortages. Why aren't these positions being posted? It could be the tight school budgets and the uncertainly it fosters. However, I believe it is much more than just the budget.
In the education blogosphere many teachers post that their schools have vacancies but they are not on the "Open Market Transfer System" why? One teacher blogger stated that the principal likes to hire the two year wonders from "Teach For America". These teachers sign a two year contract and usually leave the system shortly thereafter. Many other positions are saved for the "Teaching Fellows" and newbie teachers at the job fairs. It seems to me that despite the UFT spin mister Leo Casey's claim, all the vacancies are not listed on the "Open Market Transfer System". Is it any wonder that we have a serious ATR crises?
The UFT must ensure that no vacancies are left behind. In other words all vacancies must be posted or take the DOE to court on the violation of the contract. However, our union has shown to be all talk but very little action. Let's see what they dol this time.