Saturday, May 14, 2016
The DOE, Thanks To The Union, Is Achieving Their Goal To Terminate ATRs.
When Carmen Farina became Chancellor of the New York City Schools one of her priorities were to drain the ATR pool and eliminate the over $100 million dollar annual drain on the DOE budget. She said all the right things like getting the ATRs back into the classroom and encourage incompetent teachers to voluntarily leave the profession. To achieve this goal she authorized an ATR buyout in 2014 where all of 91 teachers (most were retiring anyway) took the inadequate buyout offer. Failing that, the Chancellor changed her tune about ATRs and she not only retained the worst aspects of the Bloomberg/Klein policies but made them more punitive when it came to the ATR pool.
First, despite promises that there would be a new tone at the DOE, Chancellor Caren Farina retained 80% of the DOE policymakers and failed to change the school based "fair student funding" formula. The one major change that needed to be made to encourage schools to hire the experienced teachers they require for better student academic achievement. Instead, this destructive formula penalizes schools who hire highly experienced teachers and improves a school's budget when they hire clueless "newbie teachers". In other words student academic achievement is less important than the school's budget.
Second, under Carmen Farina, all ATRs now have field supervisors whose job is to thin the heard and thanks to our union, they now can recommend termination to the Superintendent which will result in 3020-a charges. More of this later.
Finally, under the new contract the Chancellor and the union negotiated ATRs are now second class citizens with reduced "due process" rights, mandatory interviews, and expedited 3020-a hearings. A complete list of what ATR reduced "due process" rights are can be found Here.
Now, thanks to our union, the DOE has proceeded with 3020-a termination hearings on ATRs who were given unsatisfactory observations by field supervisors and unfortunately. two consecutive unsatisfactory ratings by field supervisors are resulting in ATRs being terminated. Yes, despite being in a strange classroom where the teacher does not know the students or have ownership of their grade, the ATRs are being "U rated" and losing their livelihood.
While the blame lies squarely with the DOE and Chancellor Carmen Farina, the union is complicit with this travesty that has befallen the ATRS and the union leadership should be voted out of office for their failure to protect their most vulnerable members, the ATRs. When you vote remember what the Unity caucus has done to make the life of the ATR a miserable experience. You can read it Here.