Friday, December 17, 2010

"Dare To Be Remarkable" Part 2: The Saga Continues AsThe Union Gets Involved But The Teacher Is Excluded From The Meeting.

If you remember back in November I wrote an article about my friend the ATR who was required to teach out of license as a teacher who had the class and went out on a long-term illness. A parent didn't like the fact the teacher was not certified in the area of instruction and made his life a living hell as the "C rated Principal" failed to take the proper action, urged by everybody, to remove the student from the teacher's class. The result was the Principal decided to make the teacher a day-to-day-sub. However, the best laid plans often go astray, especially when it comes to the DOE. Therefore, my friend the ATR saga continues.

Josh came to school thinking he was finally rid of the student and the parent only to be told that the "C rated Principal" could not find an ATR in the certification area and she could not get another ATR since they are no longer free to the school. This concerned Josh since he knew that nothing good will come from his continued interaction with the student and the out of control parent. Just as Josh started to despair, he found out another teacher took a long-term medical leave in his certification area. "What luck"! Josh could teach in his certification area, get away from the student who is causing him trouble, and hopefully lead to a permanent position. Sounds logical right? Wrong! This is the DOE where up is down and right is left. Sure enough the "C rated Principal" gave the only other ATR in the building the schedule and she is not certified in the subject! Why would you not have Josh teach in his certification area (remember he was and is an excellent teacher)? However, this "C rated Principal" is known to make decisions that defy reason and this is just another example of her poor leadership.

Josh decided to make the best of the bad situation and tried to find common ground with the student and went out of his way to engage the student in conversation. Wrong move. You guessed it. The student told his parent about how Josh was paying interest in him which resulted in the paranoid parent calling the Superintendent's office and yes, even the police, by claiming Josh was harassing her child. The police dismissed the complaint after contacting the "C rated Principal" who assured the police that Josh was just trying to find common ground with the student and did nothing wrong and the parent is out of control. Thankfully, the "C rated Principal" finally did the right thing this time. She called Josh in and warned him not to engage the student in any conversation that does not concern the classroom. Unfortunately, for Josh, the nightmare with the child and the parent is not over. When he realized that the situation was untenable he finally reached out to the union leadership for help. He took it to the Borough Representative who bucked it down to the Special Representative, who dumped it on the District Representative. Josh was not pleased with the union's "buck passing". However, he figured maybe if the District Representative went in with him to meet with, the "C rated Principal", this could be resolved. The District Representative did show up to meet the "C rated Principal" but excluded both Josh and the Chapter Leader. Once the meeting was over, the District Representative left the building without talking to Josh or the Chapter leader about what was said and agreed upon at the meeting, To date Josh has not been told anything about the meeting and he is still teaching the very same schedule that could result in further harassment by the student and his parent.

Here is another case of our union's secrecy that only seems to have negative consequences when it comes to the teachers they are supposed to represent. I can only hope in this case I am wrong and my friend Josh's saga comes out with good results.


Useless DR said...

It is well-known that DR's are useless, and for the most part, do not want to push principals to follow the rules. They have been seen screaming at chapter leaders in full view of members. Sorry, Josh.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean ATR's are no longer free?

Anonymous said...

You can call me a Unity Hack, but it appears that the union was at least trying to do the right thing. Maybe, the right thing is to keep things quite. Maybe, the DOE and UFT need to keep things quite. Maybe not, but to assume that the UFT automatically is not going to help is wrong-very wrong. They help a lot of teachers-but of course, they cannot make everyone happy. Overall, are you better with them or without them? Overall, do you have better wages and benefits than you would have without them?
Yeah, I guess I am a Unity Hack and you can go ahead and delete postings you do not agree with.

Chaz said...

Anon 10:25

As of December 1, 2010 any school that picks up an ATR must pay their full salary. The exceptions are the existing ATRs that move from school to school every year.

"Unity Hack":

Of course the union is important and yes sometimes its in everybody's interest to keep things quiet. However, in this case to exclude the teacher from the meeting and to compound it by not getting back to the teacher of the results of the meeting about him is unacceptable.

We can disagree, as we do here, and still have an intelligent exchange of ideas.

NY_I said...

The union's meeting with the administration, but not meeting with the teacher (subject of the meeting) is hardly news.
When various kinds of union reps accompany teachers to interrogation sessions or other meetings with the DoE toughs (in alphabet soup sub-agencies agencies like the OSI) the union reps will take copious notes. Then, after the meeting, the the member will ask for a copy of the notes. The UFT rep or staffer will invariably say, "I can't do that. But it's OK, this happens with everybody."

...Weird. Even doctors and lawyers allow greater disclosure to their clients.
Chaz, you said it aptly: in the DoE world, down is up and right is left. Justice and fair treatment in the UFT is something similar sometimes.

As to comrade Josh, it is best to keep a literal distance from student X. Say nothing beyond incidentals of the lesson. This means no melting the ice. If the child is doing something egregious -re the lesson, physical to another student or the teacher, or in textbook harassment or defamation against the sex, sexual orientation, race, or religion, be vary careful. Say nothing other than "what you are doing is very bad" or "what you are doing is not nice."
This is the DoE. Anything you say or do or don't say or don't do can and will be held against you in the Bill-of-Rights-free Kafkaesque hell of the DoE.

A question for brother Chaz,
what do you mean by "pick up" [an ATR]? I thought that they were sent, assigned to schools.
"As of Dec. 1, 2010..." I didn't hear anything about this (newspapers, NY Teacher). Where is this info from? No disrespect, just trying to clarify.
New York City Eye

Chaz said...


Sorry, I guess I need to clarify. You are right, all ATRs have been assigned to schools. These ATRs are part of the ATR agreement that allows the schools to have an ATr for free (minus the money that would have been used for substitute teachers). However, now that almost all the "rubber room" teachers have settled or went through their 3020-a hearings, there are no longer a stream of new ATRs coming into the system until next school year.

Now, if a Principal wants an ATR to cover classes, she must apply to her CFN and take another school's ATR and having to pay the ATR's salary from her budget. If she is very lucky, she might get the few stragglers left who are coming out of their 3020-a hearings and pay the ATR the average salary of her teaching staff, with the rest picked up by Tweed.

With more school budget cuts in February, the Principals do not have the funds to pay for ATRs. While the union is trying to extend the agreement it looks like that is wishful thinking.

Under Assault may be able to shed more light on this issue as we go forward.

Anonymous said...

Should be "harass" not "harness," though it would probably amount to the same result for the poor teacher.