September 13, 2008

Davids and Goliaths

It's starting to take on biblical proportions, this Bloom/Klein thuggery.

This is the second year Veteran Teacher X has been passed over for a teacher fellow.

X is super-qualified for the job: with more than 10 years experience, she’s bilingual and has two permanent licenses for what she’s trained to teach. It seems the newbie might not even hold the right license for the job that should have been X’s. When the announcement was made at a faculty conference that X was going to get a full program this year instead of the day-to-day subbing she was doing last year, everyone broke out into spontaneous applause; some came over to hug her. X had to tell them that she’ll only be filling in for someone on sabbatical this year. She’s still in excess and still an ATR.

Obviously, X is a beloved member of the staff, and obviously, admin's counting the change in his pocket. It wasn't so long ago when an administrator’s job involved continuity, stability, and a nurturing environment for staff and kids. Bet you don't find those concepts in Leadership Academy crash courses.

This just in from Veteran Teacher Z, also an ATR:
"I thought you might want to be made aware, if you aren't already, that the union is no longer grieving against new schools/principals who don't hire the 50% of teachers in the closing schools as is required by the contract."
Much lauded as an English teacher of long standing with not a single letter in her file except for praise, Z took student teachers in under her wings, mentored for years, and prepared (and ran) professional development. The UFT even offered her a job in its Peer Intervention program. Apart from all those credentials, she’s enjoyed a whole other career involving the very theme of a new school they’re creating in her building — and in which she was, astoundingly, not installed.
"And now I find that no one wants me."
Those are the saddest words I’ve heard since I’ve joined the fight for teachers who’ve been thrown into ATR limbo.
"And now I find that no one wants me."

Hers is like so many other ones in the saga of Goliath’s chancellorship. Z’s school is going to close next year, if not sooner. In the past two years, only two of the excessed teachers were able to get jobs in the small schools upstairs, and those were only because of connections.

Not having been called in for a single interview at any of those new ones, Z complained to the union. It arranged for an interview, but too late, of course. Two teaching fellows with no classroom experience or even much familiarity with the school’s theme got the jobs. Z grieved it, and the thing eventually went to arbitration. She says it was a test case, and the UFT lost it. It will now no longer be taking grievances for teachers being excessed out of old schools who apply to new schools in their buildings.
"Most of us are now ATRs, sitting in a room waiting to be sent as a sub to some school or other while the teachers upstairs, all fellows with no experience, are being made to work long hours (with no per session). And I have heard that the halls are insane. There are now eight other schools [here, and save for two people] NONE of them have hired any of us!

"Perhaps you can make others aware of this, how our union is further destroying our contractual rights."
If anyone knows differently about the way things are done in Arbitration World, please tell us. We want to know how far this debacle is reaching, and just how much the union is NOT willing to act on our behalf.
"Something is very, very, very wrong here, and someone needs to tell the story.”

That says it all, and the Davids out here are really trying.

Please send your stories. I’ll post them, and I’ll send them to all Jennifer Medinas and Elizabeth Greens I can find.


  1. This is the type of story that DOE does not want widely read. This saga should be sent to all the newspapers.

  2. I already sent it to the two mentioned.

    There are more I'm going to get around to today, but if you know of any names in particular, it's an easy press SEND away. Send them to me.

  3. I am good friends with two of the ATRs in my building and have been trying to get their stories out.

    One was a mentor. She got anE rating before she left my school to become a mentor. Now, she interviewed, along with a teen bopper and the principal told her the teen bopper did a better job during the model lesson.

  4. Please have those ATRs write me with their stories. I'm intent on getting this stuff out. Thanks, PO.

  5. Woodlass you chose just the right title for this article. I noticed that in District 20, ATRs and teachers of color do not have a chance of getting a position because of the NEPOTISM that exists in the public schools. Everything in this district is who you know. I would like to know how many ATRs in the city are teachers of color. Does anyone know? Maybe Randy knows.

  6. I'm posting a comment that someone left me on another website relating to this issue. I don't have any answers, but will post them when or if I do.

    "Thanks for your post on the ATRs. We've been very active in D79 on this issue, after loosing initially more than 200 teachers after the district was "restructured"--corporate word meaning ripped up, shredded as an excuse to ATR senior teachers. After a year of "impact bargaining" and a lot of our insistence, a number of teachers have now received permanent placements in D79. But by no means all.

    "I was particularly interested and wanted more information on two points you noted:

    "1) that the UFT is no longer grieving the 50% re-hire of teachers in closing schools

    "2) that that the union will no longer take grievances from teachers excessed out of old schools who apply to new schools in the building.

    "The second point was an issue in D79, and the UFT reps danced around that issue, muttered about "looking into it" and did nothing. But I'd like to know the specifics on these cases.

    "D79 teachers have several dozen cases coming up for arbitration about the excessing in June 2007. The UFT has been totally slow on this, letting the cases crawl through the process; not mobilizing in defense of these teachers. There should be publicity about their cases, mobilizations, demonstrations, mass meetings, --whatever it takes to win these positons back.

    "Also, I think we need to advocate for regular UFT meetings to report on the ATR issue (the last one was in April, after we clamored and demanded a meeting), and also I think for an ATR functional chapter. The UFT doesn't want to grant either--they just want the issue, (as well as the ATR teachers to go away).

    "An important issue-I've been told that TAGNY has a lawsuit pending on ATR issues. Can anyone clarify this? There is nothing on the Under Assault website about this. But the problem is, I understand the union was named by them as a defendant. I totally disagree with this. There's a class line here. The union is a workers' organization, and we won't go to the bosses court to address our problems. Whenever the government comes into the labor movement, the workers get screwed. The key is to build a mass movement in the uinon and oust the pro-company labor bureaucracy in a struggle for new leadership."

  7. Here's Norm's response to this on that other site:
    "It is not TAGNY that named the union but Teachers4 Action. See Jeff's post on ICE blog.

  8. An answer from someone on the questions posted at 8:05 p.m:

    The union rep told the CL that the union "weren't going any further than school level with the grievances for new school/old school hirings." That's because of the arbitration decision. "Whether that is just the situation in our superintendency or City-wide, I don't know. Apparently since the definition of 'qualified' is the contract sticking point, the union is allowing the principals to define qualified and, as was the case in my Arbitration. Qualified means whether or not the principal likes you."

    This is obnoxious. If anyone can contact their DRs and find out more about this from another one, it would be great.

  9. The UFT is not dragging their feet or anything of the sort. They are participating in the removal of real teachers from NYC public school classrooms.

    This is despite the fact that the UFT contract ON (not "for") teachers does not allow a tenured teacher to be placed in a position other than as a regular teacher who is teaching fulltime in her/his license area.

    Why hundreds upon hundreds of teachers are not in the courts over this, both individually, in groups, in class action lawsuits is beyond me.

    Except for the fact that teachers are usually too tired and too terrorized to fight for their own survival.

    I believe that these thousands of court actions are necessary while I also agree with Marjorie in that fighting the master with the master's tools in the master's house is usually futile. Nevertheless, fighting back hard and EN MASSE just might do all of us some good.