May 6, 2010

Getting our ducks in a row . . .
or not

I don't have tell anyone that when Bloomberg threatens to lay off 4,419 teachers, we all want to know what our longevity looks like in print.

Unfortunately, that's not going to happen, and it's not because the DoE isn't publishing seniority lists this year, because they are. They've put out two since last spring. Garbage, both times.

When the whacked up list came out in the fall term, word had it that the DoE was "working on it." Software was being changed, and data was coming out gobbledygook.

Looking at the document we had at our school, I thought some of the stats seemed to be okay. But the order was all wrong, and a ton of vets were inexplicably listed as having just six years' service under their belts.

So we waited all winter for the new version, which the principal made available last week. Again it was one big mess.

I was angry enough back in the fall when this arrogant, corrupt, spendthrift and non-accountable Department of Education couldn't spit out a proper list that would allow us to check our longevity stats. In this of all years, every one of us working members needs to be able to check that the DoE's calculation of our seniority and years-in match our own idea of our career service.

I brought up the problem of the junk lists with UFT managers more than once this year, and their apathetic response made me distinctly uncomfortable. But, I figured we had time and the new spring lists would clear the picture up.

So now it's May, and the principals are already telling staff where they're intending to cut positions. The union I'm sorry to say still has its head in the clouds, in the sand, and who knows where else. If anyone can show me any discussion of the problematical lists on the UFT website, I'll revise this post in a nanosecond.

You'll find things over there like this April 10th post explaining excessing and tenure —
Excessing follows reverse systemwide seniority order. . . . If you have any questions, ask your chapter leader to check the School Excessing Seniority List or call your UFT borough office.
The person who wrote that invitation is obviously uninformed. No such list exists at the present time.

One of the two UFT high-ups I wrote to about the problem this week expressed frustration and anger tantamount to my own. The other didn't bother to answer my email.

The difference between me and them is I guess this. I believe there is much more to this than software and programming issues.

I believe the Department of Education is putting the whole system into chaos so people can't navigate it or figure out where they stand. They've done it with massive re-organizations, and they've done it with pupil attendance lists. They've manipulated data, test scores, and graduation rates like there's no tomorrow. Absolutely nothing in the system is reliable, accurate, or sound.

The DoE is playing one big joke on us all, and the union is keeping up its part in whatever bargains they're making with the city by just looking the other way.


  1. I hope it is just their usual incompetence. To think that they are playing with the layoff list while the union fiddles is very scary.

  2. Is so scary that I don't know if I'm in the Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits or the Twilight Limits! With Klein constantly reorganizing the school system so many times, and fudging the data, and changing the cut scores on the progress report, wouldn't you think they're up to something with the seniority list?

  3. It's unreal scary for sure! I have my hard copy of almost every paystub I've received for 24 years because the 'old-timers' years ago advised us to. They just might come in handy to prove seniority.

  4. I have every single pay stub that I've ever received for each of my jobs, including summer jobs while I was still a college student.

    I hate throwing things out!!!

  5. To both of you who've kept those things, they may come in real handy.
    Actually I'm not afraid of any of us proving our seniority when it comes down to it. What I'm afraid of us the way they will try to move people around in the name of some fake list they're going by and put people in the position of having to defend their seniority. That will ruin the normal advancement of careers in a consistent environment. You'll have to go where they tell you, no matter who's right. The sorting out process will come later, when it's way too late.