Randi, Joel, in PR Joust of ATR's

    You won't find many of these in the UFT proposals but you will find lots of rhetoric

    see Elizabeth Green in today's NY Sun - I posted it on Norms Notes.

    Comment from an ATR:

    With all the anti-teacher and anti-ATR press out there this week, why is the UFT so silent????????????? Why no letters to the editors, no op-ed rebuttals? I am hearing from my fellow ATR's who were sent far and away this week and there are some real horror stories out there. And I have no idea what my rights are. Can I be made to sit in an office one period a day to do their bidding? Is this just something ATR's do since I don't see regular teachers doing it? Where is my file? If I am observed as a day-to-day sub, what can they critique me on? etc etc etc.

    The silence from the union is deafening.

    The silence has ended with the interchange of letters below between Randi and Joel and a UFT press conference that echoes the one held years ago on age discrimination. Sort of. (More aboutthe press conference later.) Both letters and a Tweed fact sheet (definitely read the "facts" on ATR's) are posted at Norms Notes. Also read the full ICE take on these "facts" Excerpt:

    In no surprise to anyone, the DOE "Fact Sheet" on excessed teachers distorts the picture. They claim that most teachers in excess are finding jobs. However, a closer look at their numbers shows that their open market hiring system isn't working for most excessed teachers. By looking at the DOE's own data which we show below, we can clearly see that well under 50% of excessed teachers are being hired at new schools through the open market.... Their own facts don't lie. We need stronger contractual protections, not weaker ones.

    My response it the usual. The UFT is more concerned with perception than reality. Prime: how the public perceives them. PR is king. Thus, being out in front with a rigorous defense of ATR's leads to the conclusion they created the system in the first place by giving away seniority rights.

    How to defend ATR's? Unity suits say "You're still getting paid." They have no concept of what being a teacher is when they so blithely accept that you can be in the system for 20 years and be demoted to a day to day sub on a dime.

    Some of our Unity brethren are crying in comments on the Norms Notes blog: Why blame us? Klein changed the funding. Boo, hoo. Poor dears. Got caught with their pants down.

    Talk is cheap. To get anywhere the UFT would have to take a very hard stand on issues Klein wants badly and refuse all cooperative modes with the Klein. Target a cherished Tweed program and go after it full speed ahead by mobilizing teachers as refusniks. Without teeth, it's all about PR hot air.

    Unity Caucus' Rick Mangone, chapter leader of the soon to be closed Lafayette HS in Brooklyn , has been commenting here and on norm's notes about the wonderful upcoming (it came) UFT press conference and how great it would be for ATR's. Again, later on that.

    As you read the Randi/Joel interchange below, keep in mind that it is easy for Randi to propose anything. And just as easy for Klein to reject it. Now what? Do Unity people think that these words of Randi's will be enough to soothe the boo boo of the 2005 contract, which by the way Rick Mangone avidly supported? Teeth, man, teeth.

    Right after Klein rejects Randi's proposals, what do her words mean? Does the UFT leadership believe ATR's will bow down and say, "Thank you, Randi. We knew you were with us. And when I am covering subjects I never imagined I would be teaching, I often think of how your words help me go on." Teeth, man, teeth.

    I think just a few ATR's might be looking for some incisers to back up Randi's words.

    Here's the letter Randi sent Klein on Sept. 24 calling for:
    1. An immediate hiring freeze at the central Department of Education, and at the school and district level for any license areas where there are people in excess and available for placement.

    2. A redeployment of teachers and other excessed personnel in the Absent Teacher
    Reserve (ATR) into vacancies as they arise.

    3. Develop a program to recertify excessed personnel in additional license areas, so they are available to fill vacancies as they arise.

    Note in Klein's response how he threw her words back at her (emphasis mine):
    I want to reiterate that we will not alter our policy on forced placement of teachers. It makes sense to try to limit the significant and growing cost of unselected excessed teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve, but doing so by forcing these teachers into schools is not the answer. A return to this discredited practice, which harmed our schools for decades, would, once more, require schools to accept teachers regardless of whether principals and faculty believe they are the best candidates or good fits for positions.

    At our announcement of the School-wide Performance Bonus awards last week, you and I both emphasized the critical need for teacher quality and effective collaboration among teachers and supervisors. You said, “We know, and I think there has become a real consensus in this City, that teacher quality and collaboration are real keys – pivotal keys – to turning around student achievement in schools.” Forced placement contradicts both of those goals. It would be far better to give excessed teachers a reasonable period of time to find a position before they are placed on unpaid leave. Such a policy would mitigate the cost while maintaining fairness and obviating the need for forced placement and all the negative repercussions a return to that system would bring.

    Read both letters in full at Norm's Notes.

    Of course Leo Casey chimed in with this analyis on Edwize:
    First, as a result of the NYC Department of Education’s policy of school closings, there has been the massive displacement of hundreds of educators through no fault of their own. Second, as a consequence of the DoE’s changes to the school budget process, there has been the introduction of budgetary disincentives for the hiring and placement of experienced, senior teachers, a category into which many ATRs fall. And third, there has been the DoE’s gross mismanagement of its educational human resources, which has gone from bad to worse this last year. An intellectually honest account of the swelling ranks of the ATRs would address in a forthright manner each of these three developments.
    Gee, Leo. Ya think? School closings? Ooooh! The UFT just spent the last umpteenth years cooperating with school closings. Exhibit #1: Randi Weingarten saying Lafayette HS SHOULD HAVE BEEN CLOSED. See any ATR's over there Leo?

    And they changed the budget process on you? Oh, my! You just missed those issues when you'all pushed the 2005 contract down everyone's throats? As to Leo's use of the words "intellectually honest," his picture is in the dictionary – next to the antonym.

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