Friday, January 27, 2012

What Happens When A Restart/Transformation School Becomes A Turnaround School?

As everybody knows, the UFT and DOE failed to reach agreement on the "teacher evaluation system" based upon the appeals process. The UFT wants an independent Arbitrator to hear the "evidence" that the Principal rightly labeled the teacher "ineffective" While the DOE wants the appeals process to be decided by the Chancellor. Good luck to that. Caught in the middle is the 33 Restart/Transformation schools, many of them the large comprehensive high schools that the City has threatened to make "Turnaround Schools". This would allow the City to recoup $58 million dollars from the federal government that has been withheld by the State Education Department (SED). For the teachers in the 33 schools what will happen?

First, the 33 schools will no longer exist as is. Long Island City, Newtown, Bryant, Grover Cleveland, Richmond Hill, John Adams, Flushing, and August Martin High Schools in Queens will no longer exist. Instead all the schools will be renamed to reflect the themes that the Administration wants. Interestingly, unlike other "Turnaround Schools", the City schools will probably retain the old Administration and only get rid of the teachers.

Second, the schools will offer a maximum of 50% of the teachers at each school their jobs back. Yes, a maximum and some schools can offer only a minimum amount of teachers their old positions. The minimum number is as yet undecided by the DOE. You might think that this would open up opportunities for other teachers in the system to apply for the many openings. However, the DOE has decided to offer 40% of the open positions to teachers outside the school system or as you know them as the "newbies". Cheap and clueless in the classroom teachers who are in for a "culture shock" as the real world is very much different from the perception they are expecting. Unlike the new small schools who can limit or even exclude students with disabilities and English Language Learners, these 33 schools will keep the existing population and will not be able to exclude undesirable students as the small schools do.

Third, the teachers not selected will be excessed and become ATRs. It is expected that 1,750 additional teachers will be excessed and add an equal amount of ATRs as provisional appointments end and more budget cuts (6% for the 2012-2013 school year), it is very likely that there could be almost 4,000 ATRs in the New York City School System at a cost of $300 million dollars! That means for the measly $58 million dollars the State is withholding, it is going to cost $300 million dollars to keep all the teachers in the ATR pool. Unbelievable!

Finally, the DOE will use the ATR crises as a rallying point to try to defang the teachers' union and demand that the ATRs should be given a time limit. "No ATR time limit, no contract" will be the City's motto until the Bloomberg/Walcott Administration is removed from the scene. I hold UFT Michael Mulgrew to his promise not to give up the ATRs in any contract negotiations. Remember the DOE created the ATR crises, it is up to them to p,lace the ATRs in the vacancies throughout the school system.


Anonymous said...

Any one reading this for the first time or has been continually following this devasting and unfortunate story MUST spread the word to fellow teachers within their building. I am in the latter as are many of you. The idea that our fellow union members, through no fault of their own, may have their livelihoods turned up side down is something that I would have never imagined when I entered the system in 98. We need to continue to be informed and I thank Chaz and numerous other brave bloggers who post the truth when coward media outlets FAIL to. I am doing something small at my school and telling others who feel they are relatively safe from the criminal who runs NYC. I ask any other reader of this blog or other blogs to continue to spread the truth. Our union has done a horrible job in informing us of what is going on - horrible in the sense that it has failed to create any sense of unification with us to this unprecedented attack.

Invictus said...

Thanks for more enlightening info on the ATR stats Chaz. It is obvious that once again our inept UFT has given a hand to the possible disaster for all these teachers with their 'collaboration' in sort of agreeing to have new teacher evaluations all in the name of getting more $$$ for upper management.

While we can simply say that the Union was NEVER fully willing to give the new assessment for teachers a go, they have been turn upside down by an ever brutish and bullish DoE, the City and a group of DeFormers who have done this powerplay in order to corner the UFT.

It is to be understood that if the Union does not find a way of escaping an entrapment out of their own making, it might as well say goodbye to itself as a labor entity.

This should be a wake up call and a rebuttal to the same failed tactics that have brought the Union to its knees.

If the DeFormer's mission is partially accomplished with a evaluation framework that just favors the City while completely destroying the lives of all those who worked so hard to educate the youth in NYC, without arbitration or fair judgment, the Union might as well disband and redistribute the left over members its dues.

Rod said...

ATRs are the new migrant workers. Unfortunately you are correct that most regular teachers are running scared while the UFT has done little, except for pricey ads nobody has seen, to give us a voice. Bloomberg and Cuomo are talking Tier 5 right now for new hires with completely different benefits and pensions than the rest of us. Who will want to start a career that has a life of three years? Since Bloomberg said anyone can teach like anyone can be Chancellor the ATR pool will grow as older more senior teachers( those with two years experience!!!) are put out to pasture. The BIG message and soundbite is "Teachers and their unions are holding our schools back", all this other stuff is just process. Bloomberg and Cuomo control the power and media.

Anonymous said...

Yes, undoubtedly , the next step by the S.S. Scumberg is to create an absurdly high amount of ATRs, THEN lament in the press, probably next September, or over the summer, how the union is responsible for these hundreds of millions in waste caused by the ATR pool, leading to the dreaded time limit.

Hey, once again, the UFT will get paid the same by newbies as veterans, so they are not losing at all in the near future. I guess they will lose when a much larger amount of non union charters try to move in. Will they fight back then...?

Anonymous said...

However...if Scumberg gets what he wants with the assessment, all of this Restart stuff goes away.

Anonymous said...

Newtown High School has a long and storied career and is a landmark in Elmhurst.
The problems began when, instead of getting kids from the traditional zone, they were sent students from all over Queens. Students were sent who were completely unprepared for high school. Also gangs started to show there colors in the school. When academics declined, the Mayor's DOE blamed the teachers, many of whom had been successful teachers for many years. Now, some of these same veterans will be "algorithmed;"floating from school to school while neophytes with no understanding of the school's culture or problems will be tasked with the unpleasant job of turning the school around. Fat chance!
As for the UFT, it is clear that Mr. Mulgrew has an agenda different from those of the rank and file. I once met Albert Shanker, who was literally and figuratively a giant. He would have never tolerated the current system. As a retired teacher and member of the UFT for 45 years I am saddend and angry about the current system that makes a thousand or so qualified teachers second class citizens.

Invictus said...

To Anonymus 10:20 AM, it is vital that as a UFT retiree that you impinge upon those you know to block and vote against ANY limits that the UFT will attempt to put on the ATRs especially when you see that the Union has give more weight to your votes. There is no way that the middle segment of the membership can overcome the politics that are being played around within the upper echelons of the Union. All members need to protect the interests of all other members because, if they are able to divide the ranks between those who WON and those who LOSE, in the end, all will be losers, no if and but about it.

I still remember older members who survived reductions in the schools, to declare that they "had made" when they saw younger members excessed...and yet, within 1-2 years, they were the ones eliminated through shenanigans by their principals.

The fortitude of the UFT lies within solidarity within the ranks.

Anonymous said...

Invictus -Retirees stay paying dues basically to receive eyeglass and dental benefits. Retirees only get to vote on UFT officers. we don't vote on contracts or modifications to the contract. The Retirees Chapter is busy with Social Security, benefits, colas and other items geared to seniors. Short of getting one of the retiree representatives to speak at a DA there is little that retirees can really do.
It seems to me that the ATR's need their own functional chapter with an ATR elected as their representative. The UFT mantra is that they are working and getting paid - don't bother us.

Anonymous said...

We've got to fight back against this disaster. These issues, and how the UFT should respond to these attacks on public education and the teaching profession will be discussed at the "State of the Union" conference (a coalition effort), next Saturday, February 4, at the Graduate Center for Worker Education, 25 Broadway, 7th Floor,
For more information and registration info, visit the event's page,
On Facebook:

Manhattan70 said...

Unlike you Chaz I have no confidence whatsoever that Mulgrew will keep his promise regarding the ATRs. Of course the city won't agree to a new contract without an ATR provision and who is Mulgrew going to stand up for, the 4,000 in the ATR pool or the 200,000 who would get a raise in exchange for the ATRs?

veteran teacher said...

he will stand up for the ATRs. if the union gives way of the atrs, then to get rid of older more expensive teachers, all they will have to do is prove a school is 'failing' and excess half the teachers who will be older and make more money, then those people will be out of work.

say what you want about mulgrew, but he is not a total idiot.

i'm amazed at what some people write on this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Well by then with all the school closings and excessing the 200,000 may see that they are not safe either and won't vote to sell the ATRs down the river thinking that title may be in their future at some point!

Anonymous said...

Manhattan, you make an interesting point. As I am going into the spring term of my first year of being an ATR, I get a bit nervous thinking will I be working at the GAP in the fall???

veteran teacher said...

the union's job is to protect our jobs. we pay dues to have our jobs protected. these politicians get paid by the unions. do you really see them selling us out? don't you think the union would get sued by every atr if they sold us out? there is a no layoff clause unless a fiscal emergency, then it goes by reverse seniority. the more people they hire, they more they have to let go before they can think of touching us.

please use common sense before falling for scare tactics

Invictus said...

Veteran Teacher, the issue with becoming an ATR and believing in all the scare tactics that the City uses on the membership is that the UFT has not given its membership much credence in how they will go about counteracting the lies and psychological assault they carry on teachers in NYC. That being said, it is likely that whatever moves they are doing are secret, because it is the best effect way of stopping the damage being made. Nevertheless, there is another aspect to your logic that some people have said about the interests of the union...that is that it matters not whether the ATRs or veteran teachers become sacrificial lambs in order to save the greater membership, the fact is that asides from teachers many that the UFT represents are no longer just teachers. Moreover the member dues that they get from a rookie newbie teacher vs lets say a 15 year veteran, are they different or the same? I have not bother to calculate it. If they are weighted the same, then the UFT will have no incentive to save the old timers from the onslaught.

BUT, all that I am saying is more speculation rather than fact, so I would take it with a grain of salt.

What the UFT should have done and have not done effectively is to dispel the myths that are being created about the ATRs,
1-"there is a time limit"-Flat out lie.
2-"they will sell us down the river"-No evidence of that because it has not been negotiated and no executive board person would say anything about it.


The sad part about being an ATR is that some instead of reading up about it and what the Union is doing to fight it, they simply because what is being floated around and it is sad.

I really doubt that the membership regardless of how young they are will vote to sell down the ATRs and take a raise....because where is the money going to come from?

A good aspect of the bad economy is that the city does not have 'blood money' that can be used to bribe people to sell others.

That being said, I am still wondering how the UFT will negotiate the fate of the teachers in the 33 schools and coming out with a choice that will maintain our strength in public and be acceptable to the membership at large.

veteran teacher said...

Very good post, Invictus!

I like and totally agree about how the members of the UFT believe what is being floated around and do not read up about how it will effect them.

The time limit thing is a big myth. I'm not sure about you, but how disturbing is it to be asked constantly,'well, what happens if you don't find a job? are you fired?' i answer that by saying, first, i have a job and second, there is no time limit.

my main problem with the uft is that the district rep in my district always gives wrong information more times than not. she claims the city does not send the atr to schools in its district.

Anonymous said...

Let's face the facts-the UFT has done LITTLE in communicating with teachers, in person, school by school. We've been abandoned. There is no schedule of meetings to inform members of what's going all. And this contributes to the paranoia...