This week, starting today, in the Bronx, the UFT will be hosting a question and answer informational sessions with the almost 2,000 ATRs in the system. Realistically, the union set up these meetings to forestall any independent effort to bring the ATR travesty to the public's attention. Presently, the UFT inaction has embarrassed their members and alienated the ATRs that they are supposed to represent. While, I cannot tell you the union's actual agenda, you can bet they will say that the new ATR agreement was a win for the union and the ATRs since principals must place ATRs in vacant or long-term leave positions. Further, the union will proudly announce that no ATRs can be laid off. Finally, look for them to tell you how they saved the ATRs jobs by defeating Mayor Bloomberg's LIFO bill in Albany. Of course, the truth is very different. First, the ATR Agreement is an unenforceable farce and principals are still hiring "newbie teachers" to fill their vacancies and long term leave replacements. Even the New York City Comptroller's Office question the DOE about allowing principals to hire "newbie teachers" while more experienced ATRs were available. Second, under New York State Law, only the newest teachers with the least seniority ("newbies") could be laid off, not the ATRs. Finally, all New York State unions opposed Mayor Bloomberg's LIFO bill since it was an end around "collective bargaining" and would affect all unions down the road.
What should the ATRs be asking the union at these question and answer sessions? That is up to you but here is what I will be asking.
- Why didn't the union object publicly to the DOE's decision to lift the hiring freeze?
- Why not start an advertising campaign showing that the ATRs are "quality teachers" and that not hiring them hurts the students?
- Why not file an age discrimination lawsuit with the AARP on the apparent ageism that is being practiced by the DOE?
- Why didn't the union take the DOE to task about their ridiculous ATR "job fairs"?
- Why didn't the union demand a continuation he hiring incentive for ATRs?
ATRs are "quality teachers" and using them as day-to-day subs are just a waste of talent.