Archives For ATR

Please come to this special MORE Caucus event on Sunday afternoon, February 28 12-3 pm at P.S. 58, 330 Smith Street, Brooklyn. ATR issues will be among the issues on the agenda. Other agenda issues include Family leave, Opt-out, a Member-driven union.

The MORE Caucus-UFT platform pledges to reintegrate ATRs into the schools, assigning ATRs into schools of their choice in the district. Co-location with charter schools and other new schools has driven the excessing crisis. Perhaps the biggest factor currently impacting principals’ reluctance to hire ATRs, is “Fair Student Funding.” Additionally, “leadership academy” principals want to hire “teaching fellows” that are absent of institutional memory.

The MORE platform pledges to end the UFT involvement in UFT charter schools except as representation of union members.The MORE platform calls for the union to be member-driven. It calls for union positions to be subject to election and recall. And it calls for dues increases to be voted on at the Delegate’s Assembly.


The Absent Teacher Reserve: An Injury to One is an Injury to All
By: Jia Lee
MORE Presidential Candidate

Imagine you’re standing alongside a rapid flowing river. You see someone being carried along mercilessly. You jump in, holding onto a rope and pull this person out. As soon as you emerge, you see another, so you jump in again. Each time you emerge, you turn to see more people. Perhaps, others join in solidarity. We become so enrapt in trying to save people, we never venture to find the root source of the problem.

The Current Situation
According to a recent Chalkbeat article, City Data Shows Number in Absent Teacher Reserve Remains Steady*, there are currently 1,083 teachers in the ATR pool, down from 1,102 in January 2015. The city reports 500 new teachers hired full time in 2014 and 2015, and since January of 2014, 450 teachers have exited the system. The article does not specify who was hired full time and who left the system. There is no breakdown. We know new teachers are being hired into the system while hearing horror stories by our mid-career colleagues in the ATR. The numbers don’t adequately tell the stories and experiences of the teachers who have been displaced, made certain through negotiations by union leadership.

Further, there is no mention of the unfair and arbitrary treatment of teachers in rotation or those placed into provisional placements. In a system that is under one of the most top down and oppressive conditions ever, being in the ATR has seeped negative connotations and stigma. Internalized oppression has manifested into traumatic disorders and affected the quality of life of so many of our colleagues. It’s unconscionable. Yet, our union leadership fails to understand that an injury to one is an injury to all.

Despite the provisions in the newest contract that is supposed to make it easier for members in the ATR pool to go on interviews, there is an unspoken and subversive feeling that something is not right. Has anyone outside of the ATR asked how teachers in this situation are evaluated? Most, so entrenched in their own survival, don’t realize that those in the ATR are under an observation and evaluation system that is not written anywhere in our contract. Ask anyone who is in this situation at your school.

The Source
The framing of the stories continue to be controlled by the same folks who have spent untold billions to privatize public education. We have yet to read or hear about schools as places where people form relationships to foster nurturing places for teaching and learning- that once dismantled, the human nature of that work is destroyed. Teachers are not interchangeable widgets. At the core of of a school is the community of people within it. Forcing teachers to go from school to school, as if they are interchangeable, ignores and worse, does not care to support the teachers, hence the students in the school. We must understand that all UFT members are subject to arbitrary school closures based on invalid metrics, so we must stand in solidarity with teachers who are placed in our schools and welcome them.

In the Chalkbeat article, there’s an acknowledgement that the number of teachers in the ATR have remained steady due to the stall in school closures that were so aggressive before DeBlasio took office. Even with the stall, there was an agreement made before the change of mayoral and chancellorship power. Only one side remains constant, and that is the Unity leadership who helped to create the ATR. It is frustrating beyond comprehension as to why, given the precarious conditions of moving and having to adapt from school to school, our union leadership shot down a resolution by a very well known teacher in the ATR, to have, in the least, its own chapter with elected representation. One would think that the union leadership has something to gain from preventing such empowerment. As a chapter leader of seven years who’s attended nearly every delegate assembly, I started to take note of all the times our current president proudly stated that they helped us avoid layoffs. However, what the leadership does not seem to remind folks of is how they conceded to school closures and the displacement of teachers, an egregious act that would put them in the same boat as ed deformers.

Returning to the analogy I started with, through collaborative research and work with others within and beyond MORE, we have made our way to the source of the attack on our profession, students and schools. Many already know that the UFT is the single largest teachers union local. We stand in the way of a greater objective by the corporate elite who are vying for control. Years ago, our leadership cowered to the false rhetoric being put out by the Koch brothers and Broads that the source of an “achievement gap” was the teachers. So, despite the mountains of evidence that standardized tests could not be used to evaluate schools and teachers, our leadership welcomed it. They welcomed mayoral control, the Common Core with its high stakes tests, Danielson rubrics, charters (the UFT started 2) and scripted curriculum, while doing nothing to combat the managerial and lean production model used by administrators coming out of the leadership academy.

The state then used a norm-referenced bell curve designed to ensure a bottom percentage of schools that could then be labeled as failing. Many of those schools were targeted for charter co-locations. As schools closed, teachers, students and entire communities were displaced. This played right into the false narrative by ed deformers. The leadership of our union fails to acknowledge that their strategies of “having a seat at the table” are dangerous and damaging. What they helped to create is a breakdown in membership-wide solidarity. Our first defense is us; it has not been and will not be the leadership.

The MORE caucus, is not, in and of itself, a top-down structure. We have bylaws that ensure term limits and democratic decision making. If you have ever attended a MORE general meeting, you know that we painstakingly work to make ensure that anyone who wants to speak on an issue, raise proposals and have an opinion that differs from others is heard. We work to have distributive leadership within our structure, creating, in practice, the kind of union we want to see.

Our MORE 2016 Platform** states:

  • MORE seeks to dismantle the notion of an absent teacher reserve and provide for all teachers to find a school community that is the right fit.
  • MORE believes in a strong ATR chapter with elected representatives

*http://ny.chalkbeat.org/2016/02/19/atr-number-remains-steady-city-says/#.VsofV4wrIy4

**https://morecaucusnyc.org/2016/01/02/our-2016-platform/

ATR Petition to Print Out for Distribution

ATRs have been prime staff casualties of school closures, which are driven largely by high-stakes test scores; the Bloomberg-era Fair Funding Formula continues to be a disincentive against principals’ hiring ATRs; the position state in itself is illegitimate and unacceptable: the ATR status is created simply to break tenure and seniority; as ATRs are overwhelmingly over the age of 45, the placing of teachers in this position is age discrimination;

Absent Teacher Reserve teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, and other excessed NYC DOE employees are denied the right to representatives from within their own ranks; they can only vote for chapter representatives if they happen to be working in a school with an election during their rotation assignment; Denying ATRs their own representatives violates the principle of no dues without representation.

Whereas, the ATR position has now been embedded in the UFT contract in Section 16 of the 2014 DOE-UFT contract, therefore be it Resolved, that the UFT will immediately create a Functional Chapter to represent the interests of ATRs, Leave Replacement Teachers and Provisional Teachers, with borough-level proportionality.

We UFT members ask president Mulgrew for his pledge to create these chapters.

ENDORSED BY: Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE)

Please mail petitions by June 8, 2015 to: P.O. Box 150150, Kew Gardens, NY 11415

 

by James Eterno

Former Chapter Leader

Jamaica High School

One of the agenda items at the UFT Executive Board meeting for Monday, March 23 is a resolution to adopt a guide and bylaws for Chapter Elections (see below).  Chapter Leader and Delegate elections are scheduled this spring for the United Federation of Teachers.

In putting out its election guide, the UFT has once again given the cold shoulder to Absent Teacher Reserves and Leave Replacement Teachers, a huge group that includes way over a thousand teachers who belong to no UFT Chapter.  As a Leave Replacement Teacher, I am one of these teachers without a permanent home. We are being disenfranchised in reality, if not on paper, as the new procedures will allow ATR’s to vote and run for office in the school they are assigned to in the first week of May (see below).  This is patently absurd.  We might not even be in that school when it holds its Chapter Election in May or June.

Last month I filed a complaint with the Federal Department of Labor that the UFT is violating federal labor law by not allowing us a reasonable opportunity to serve in the highest policy making body of the union: the Delegate Assembly.  Part of the DOL complaint says the following:

The Landrum Griffin federal regulations say this concerning eligibility to be candidates for union office:  “Every member in good standing is eligible to be a candidate and to hold office subject to reasonable qualifications in the union’s constitution and bylaws that area uniformly imposed.”  Why should being an ATR cause us to lose any chance of being elected to the UFT’s highest policy making body: The Delegate Assembly?  Teachers who are filling in as Leave Replacements or those covering vacancies provisionally also belong to no Chapter and cannot run for Chapter Leader or Delegate.  This is unconscionable.

The union’s response is to say that we can run for office in the school we are assigned to in the first week of May.  It would be as if a person took a business trip to Hawaii for a week, a month or a few months and was told she/he could vote in Hawaii’s election and could run for Governor of Hawaii.

Continue Reading…

RESOLUTION  FOR  THE  UFT  TO  ENDORSE  HOWIE  HAWKINS  FOR  GOVERNOR     &  BRIAN  JONES  FOR  LIEUTENANT  GOVERNOR  -­  Please  raise  for  THIS  MONTH’S  AGENDA  

 

Whereas,  both  New  York  State  gubernatorial  candidates  Andrew  Cuomo  and  Rob  Astorino  vocally   support  the  privatization  of  education  through  the  expansion  of  charter  schools,  and  the  Green  Party   ticket  of  Howie  Hawkins  and  Brian  Jones  oppose  charter  schools,  and

Whereas,  Andrew  Cuomo  has  pushed  through  an  expansion  of  testing  statewide  and  the  punitive  linking   of  test  scores  to  teacher  evaluations,  while  the  Hawkins/Jones  ticket  opposes  an  emphasis  on   testing,  and

Whereas,  Andrew  Cuomo  implemented  a  destructive  tax  cap  that  has  forced  massive  layoffs  of  teachers   in  upstate  districts,  and

Whereas,  the  New  York  State  AFL-­CIO  and  the  New  York  State  United  Teachers  have  declined  to  endorse   Cuomo  because  of  his  anti-­education  policies,  and

Whereas  the  Buffalo  Teachers  Federation,  Port  Jefferson  Station  Teachers  Association,  East  Williston   Teachers  Association,  Lakeland  Federation  of  Teachers,  Diane  Ravitch,  the  Coalition  for  Public  Education,   the  Independent  Commission  on  Public  Education  and  three  local  NYC  Democratic  clubs  have  all   endorsed  the  Hawkins/Jones  ticket,  and

Whereas,  the  Hawkins/Jones  platform  of  a  Green  New  Deal  calls  for  equitable  funding  for  all  of  our   schools,  reduced  class  sizes  across  the  state,  support  for  programs  that  promote  desegregation  in   our  schools,  an  end  to  zero-­tolerance  discipline  policies  driving  the  school-­to-­prison  pipeline,   and  allowing  schools  to  develop  methods  of  assessment  organic  to  the  learning  process,  and

Whereas,  Astorino  and  Cuomo  are  both  millionaires  while  Hawkins  and  Jones  are  both  union  activists,   Hawkins  in  Teamsters,  Jones  in  the  UFT  and  PSC,  therefore  be  it,

Resolved,  the  United  Federation  of  Teachers  endorses  Howie  Hawkins  for  Governor  of  New  York  State   and  Brian  Jones  for  Lieutenant  Governor.  Be  it  further

Resolved,  the  UFT,  through  COPE,  inform  its  members  of  this  endorsement,  the  contrasts  between  the   candidates  on  key  education  issues,  and  mobilize  its  members  to  support  the  Hawkins/Jones  campaign.

Resolution  for  Full  Union  Representation  for  ATRs   Please  raise  for  NEXT  MONTH’S  AGENDA  

 Whereas,  the  Delegate  Assembly  is  the  highest  policy  making  body  in  the  United  Federation  of   Teachers,  and

  Whereas,  federal  labor  law  requires  that  policy  making  bodies  within  a  union  be  democratically   elected  with  each  member  entitled  to  a  vote,  and

 
Whereas,  Absent  Teacher  Reserves  (ATRs)  are  not  entitled  to  vote  in  Chapter  Elections  unless  they   happen  to  be  working  in  a  school  that  has  a  Chapter  Election  during  a  particular  week  that  the  ATR  is   working  in  a  school,  and

 
Whereas,  unions  can  set  up  reasonable  rules  as  to  who  can  run  for  office,  but  it  is  not  reasonable  that   ATRs  including  Leave  Replacement  Teachers  and  Provisional  Teachers  cannot  run  or  serve  as   Delegates  or  Chapter  Leaders  simply  because  they  belong  to  no  Chapter,  and

Whereas,  the  ATR  position  has  now  been  embedded  in  the  UFT  contract  in  Section  16  of  the  2014   Memorandum  of  Agreement,  therefore  be  it

Resolved,  that  the  UFT  will  immediately  create  a  Functional  Chapter  to  represent  the  interests  of   ATRs,  Leave  Replacement  Teachers  and  Provisional  Teachers.

We are ALL ATRs

May 13, 2014 — 1 Comment

"we are ALL ATRs Don't let UNITY throw our brothers and sisters under the bus. vote NO on the UFT contract"