Saturday, June 20, 2015
ATR Field Assassins Deliver The Bad News Last Week.
All over the City, ATRs who rotate were handed their "unsatisfactory" ratings by the ATR field supervisor, otherwise known as the field assassin. Many of these "U" ratings are undeserved and are based upon "flyby" observations that have little relevance to a real observation.
Too many times do I hear that ATRs are being observed and rated in classrooms that they have no knowledge of the students or their academic abilities. Moreover, quite a few ATRs are being rated and observed outside their subject area. Finally, the field assassin's "plan of assistance" is a farce and offers no real support to the ATR. In fact, its used as a weapon to terminate the ATR.
The field assassin claims they are there to assist the ATR in landing a permanent position and to support their pedagogy. However, the truth is very much different. Many of the field assassins impose impossible standards on the ATR, like requiring Danielson and Common Core requirements and demanding differentiation in the lesson plan when the ATR has no clue what the academic abilities of the students are. Further, they demand "rigor" but if the lesson is too difficult for the students, the field assassin "U" rates the lesson. Of course, if the lesson lacks "rigor", the lesson is "U" rated for not being rigorous enough. A no-win situation.
To back up the field assassin's "U" ratings is their fraudulent "plan of assistance" that talks about differentiation, classroom management. and effective teaching but offers no real support to the ATR. The "plan of assistance" is used as a tool to not only "U" rate but terminate the teacher under section 3020-a. While both the DOE and UFT agree that "Teaching for the 21st Century" should be used to determine if the ATR is "satisfactory" or not, neither organization appears unwilling or unable to tell the field assassins that and they go about their business to unfairly "U" rate the ATRs using almost impossible standards for them to meet.
How in the world can an ATR be expected to control student learning or behaviors if they don't know the students names or have any ownership over their grade? Moreover, many field assassins actually ask the classroom teacher to leave the room which in many troubled schools is a signal for the students to act up and refuse to do the assignment. Finally, its very obvious that some field assassins are harassing the ATRs with multiple observations, just hoping and waiting for the ATR to slip up so they can start the "plan of assistance" tool for supporting termination in the 3020-a hearings down the road.
The UFT leadership must demand that the field assassins be eliminated and that ATRs be placed in schools where vacancies exist. However, I'm not holding my breath waiting for our disconnected leadership to do what's right for it's members. That would be too much to ask.