Friday, April 04, 2014
The ATR Advisory Committee Discusses The Issues But Many Of Them Remain Unresolved.
Last week the ATR advisory committee met with the UFT's Michael Sill on our first formal meeting to discuss the issues dealing with the ATR pool. Mr. Sill started the meeting by handing out the agenda and all the agenda items were discussed. The first item on the agenda was scanning and signing in. Mr. Sills told the committee that no ATR should be put through scanning if the teachers in the school don't need to and the ATR should only sign in on the first day at the school. The discussion expanded into ATR rights in the school and Mr. Sill made it clear that ATRs should only do one circular six assignment daily and only if the teachers in the school do it such as cafeteria duty, or hall patrol. ATRs should do only what the teachers in the school do, if its part of the contract. If a school is not following the rules then we should contact the Chapter Leader and call Michael Sill immediately and he will attempt to get the problem resolved.
The next item on the agenda was the status of contract negotiations. Michael Sill informed us that "Amy Arundell" is on the UFT negotiating team and has been assured that an ATR time limit is not a negotiable item. UFT President Michael Mulgrew has stated that time and again and according to Mr Sill, the UFT's position is that the ATRs should be back into the classroom and that the "fair student funding" should be eliminated with teacher salaries coming from DOE Central not the schools.
The third item was the the contentious issue of the ATR field supervisors. Mr Sill reported that there are 24 ATR field supervisors in the City and so far only 6 of them came to his attention as being unfair to the ATRs. Mr Sill told us that he and Amy have spoken to their DOE counterparts (unnamed) and complained to them about how some of the field supervisors are playing "gotcha" (my word) and "U" observing ATRs. According to Mr. Sill the DOE was receptive to the complaint and has instructed the people in charge to speak to the field supervisors about giving a fair observation. Nobody on the committee appeared satisfied that things will change and I stated that the process itself was unfair since we have no ownership or familiarity with the students and that "time and attendance" should be the only rating criteria for ATRs. Also many field supervisors are demanding "rigor" and higher level critical thinking instruction which we all believe is next to impossible to do without a detailed knowledge of the students.
The final item on the agenda was "other matters" and that dealt with the continuation of the weekly ATR rotation system for the next school year. All the committee members believed the weekly rotation was humiliating and should be discontinued. I ask for a show of hands and 9 of the 10 member committee voted to end the weekly rotation system if they could. The lone dissenting member didn't care either way.