ATR's in Bloomberg Purgatory

    The breaking Bloomberg wanting-to reopen-the contract ATR story reached us here in Tokyo. I'll link to Elizabeth Green's story when I get back. The gist from the people who published the vicious attack on ATR's by calling for them to be put on unpaid leave after 12 months until they get a job is what we all expected to happen. That the character in charge said he has confidence that Randi will agree in the long run is actually funny - if you're not an ATR. The UFT always gets mad he said. Or acts mad before signing on to whatever.

    Yeah! The UFT response even 7000 plus miles away will make me go all gooey inside.

    Ok, Bloomberg, here's the deal. Let's reopen the contract - Teachers get all seniority rules back and your - is it $60 million- ATR problem goes away. The UFT doesn't need no stinkin' press conferences with ATR's pleading their cases. Time to say we don't give a crap how much the public or the press or anyone slams us. Time to act like a union. Draw a freak'n line in the sand and say a loud SCREW YOU ALL. THE CONTRACT IS THE CONTRACT EVEN IF IT SUCKS.

    Oh, but what does that do the image of the next president of the AFT? Won't Rod Paige and Eduwonk withdraw their praise?

    And gee, I just have been reading about a certain union that went on 3 strikes for almost 3 months 40 years ago over 19 teachers who were transferred. Where's Shanker guru Richard Kahlenberg on the current ATR outrage with his defense of Shanker's actions then? (I heard he got some nice space in the NY Teacher 'splainin what Shanker REALLY meant on his charter school idea.)

    This email was sent to ICE-mail asking us to spread around this letter some teachers wrote to the NY Times, soon to be owned by Bloomberg. Think anyone there has the balls to publish it?

    Hi colleagues,

    Here is a "Letter to the Editor" of the New York Times, which two GED Plus teachers, Roz Panepento and myself, sent off today. It was in response to the Times Metro page article on ATRs. The Times, the Post, Channel 7, the Daily News all ran varieties of the same story, which disgustingly blamed the ATRs for being in sub pools, and not in the classroom. The story was clearly generated by the Chancellor's office. The UFT is asking ATRd teachers who have tried, but not been successful on the open market, to contact the union and be willing to speak to the media to counter this latest onslaught from the NYCDOE.

    To the Editor:
    New York Times

    April 29, 2008

    Your story about the Absent Teacher Reserve pool today can only be seen as part of a coordinated campaign by the mayor and chancellor to be able to layoff senior teachers, with years of critical experience.

    Your article states that many teachers in the reserve pool are “undesirable.” This is pure slander. In District 79, last June we faced a chaotic “restructuring” which led to the loss of hundreds, if not thousands of students (the DOE is not keeping records), and the loss of over 250 teacher positions. Some of our ATR’d colleagues have Ph.D’s in education; others are college professors who have returned to the classroom; still others are highly-skilled math, science and literacy teachers. Some were not permitted to interview for new positions, others had phone interviews; others faced interviewers who were utterly unqualified and clueless about specialties such as ESL or Special Education. Most had years of “S” ratings, and had never received an unsatisfactory in their lives.

    Behind the fiasco of the ATRs was the end of seniority transfers in the 2005 UFT contract. That system assured that with school closings, teachers could find new positions in an orderly way. Bloomberg and Klein vowed to get rid of tenure, seniority transfers and bring in merit pay—all of these are disasters for the students and the teachers.

    The article blames teachers for the NCDOE’s own policies: closing schools, “excessing” teachers, forcing them into pools, and replacing them with new (cheaper, younger) teachers. Looking at the “bottom line” might work in business, but it sure hurts students. It takes years to develop knowledgeable, experienced, effective, caring teachers.

    You blame teachers for supposedly not taking advantage of the open market. We suggest you ask the teachers who tried it --many applied for numerous positions, and never got a call back (many positions are filled before even being listed). We strongly suggest that, rather than the blame game, you give the ATRs a voice, to get a real view of what’s really going on in the schools.

    Roz Panepento, former Chapter Leader during the ATR reorganization of District 79
    Marjorie Stamberg, ESL specialist, teacher GED-Plus, District 79

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