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Friday, October 26, 2012

UFT Borough Rep Howie Schoor Thwarted in Attempt to Swipe Nobile ATR Email List

The noble Philip Nobile writes Howie a love letter in response to Schoor's actions at the Brooklyn ATR meeting and former NY Teacher ace reporter Jim Callaghan chimes in with his own Howie Schoor story. But one would expect Howie to try to keep ATRs from organizing since the UFT pays him 200 grand to do that.

[Note: Joseph Moses, the founder of this blog who has done a wonderful job for over a year despite no longer being an ATR, has decided to relinquish the blog and asked the gematr listserve administrators to handle it until a replacement is found. If interested send emails to Hopefully you are an ATR and have some basic blogging skills.]

I have criticized the UFT for its anti-democratic tendencies and contempt for free speech. Shameful examples: the censorship of NEW YORK TEACHER and EDWIZE, the strangulation of the Executive Committee's open mike,
the Bolshevik regulation of the Delegates Assembly, and the refusal to grant ATRs the same level of representation as rubber roomers of yesteryear.

But at your ATR meeting last night you and the union reached a new low when you and your representatives tried to sabotage my attempt to organize ATRs. Since you have refused to share the sign-up list with us, I started one of our own. I passed around a pad to gain signatures and contact information. While I was focused on Amy's spirited presentation from the front row, one of the ATRs in the rear, probably thinking that the list belonged to the UFT, handed it to Ellen Driesen who was walking the microphone around the room during the Q & A. Driesen knew purpose and the provenance of the list since she saw me bring it to the back rows.

A teacher named Vincent DeSiano kept his eye on the Dreisen. He told me that she delivered the pad to you while you were was standing off to the side at the front of the room flanked by some reps including John Capuano, a new special rep but apparently apprenticed in the union's dark arts. Capuano retired from the conference room and proceeded to trash the list out of sight in the corridor. He ripped off and crumpled the the top sheet. Before he could swallow the evidence, DeSiano intervened, retrieved the sheet and the pad, and brought it to me.

I immediately confronted Capuano in the corridor. He declined to state his last name or position, which I learned later from another rep. Not yet apprised of your hand-off to Capuano, I complained to you. You said you would look into the situation, but I sensed no indignation. When I learned of your role, I confronted you. "I know nothing about it," you said, none too convincingly.

I demand a written apology and full explanation from you, Dreisen, and Capuano regarding your dirty trick, a squalid attempt to prevent ATRs from organizing. Bad enough that the UFT denies good standing ATRs the same level of representation once afforded to bad standing rubber roomers of the past.

  Jim Callaghan:
Ask Howie about a bigger dirty trick:
When I was investigating shakedowns by Allied Barton guards at the Staten Island rubber room- including demanding-in writing--- $20 for a holiday party from the detainees, Howie told me to lay off. (I have the photos of the sign put up by Allied Barton).
Howie then sent my emails to him and his emails to me to the D.O.E. official in charge of the Staten Island rubber room.
The "official" catering menu had 20 mis-spellings and used the rubber room phone number as its "business phone.
There wasn't enough food at the party and members felt ripped off.
Ellie Engler and LeRoy Barr then had me transferred out of the Staten Island room- 2 train stops from my house and sent Ron Issac from Queens to Staten Island. (Issac has been putting on a great act for five years of complaining about not getting any work to do on the three days he shows up at the office and leaves at 2:00 every day. So why did Randi hire him at $80k, plus a five year pension which is vested this year?). Ask the ICE caucus.

As punishment, I was re-assigned to the Manhattan and Brooklyn rubber rooms, where all I was allowed to do was listen to members vent- with good reason.
I was not allowed to help them, write about them in the NY Teacher or improve their conditions. (Park Place in Brooklyn at one point had 24 people in a 500 square foot room).

I have copies of Schoor's quisling letters to the DOE officials. -He was trying to show them how he had "ordered" me off the corruption story. The D.O.E. official had a legal responsibility to report the corruption to Condon. We will see what happened as my case winds it way through the courts and we get to depositions and discovery. (Mulgrew has spent over $100,000 fighting my case using Randi's old firm).
FYI: Allied is owned by a close pal of the mayor-Ron Pereleman. (not that Randi or Mulgrew would protect the company for that reason).
Feel free to re-post or circulate.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Brooklyn ATR Meeting: A Preview of Lowlights and Highlights

by Philip Nobile

My District Rep. Tom Bennett called me “a piece of shit,” and said I could quote him.
Rookie Special Rep. John Capuano tried to rip up my list of ATR emails on a manila pad passed around the room until intercepted by District Rep. Ellen Driesen who handed it off to Borough Rep. Howie Schoor, and thence to sleazoid Capuano whose dirty trick was squelched by a quick acting teacher named Vincent C. DeSiano.
But don’t get the wrong impression. Despite the appalling sideshows, the two-hour-plus meeting was a triumph thanks to the UFT’s ATR honcho Amy Arundell. Her rousing words of solidarity and credible account of inside battles with the DOE on our behalf won over the crowd. I once compared her to Marie Antoinette. After Thursday’s performance, she’s more like La Pasionaria.  (to be continued)
Keep these reports coming -- leave a comment.

ATR Update


ATRs Around the blogs

Accountable Talk blog

Now that the agreement between the city and the UFT to fill vacancies with ATRs is kicking in, many schools are seeing an influx of ATRs. My school got at least three today that I know of. My school, like many others, had basically refused to use ATRs to this point, preferring to fill vacancies with newbies, so I really haven't had much opportunity to talk to any real live ATRs. Until today.

I went out of my way to talk to the ATR on my floor. I don't know what I was expecting, but I suppose some of the propaganda from the Klein era had seeped into my brain. This person would be sharing some of the kids I teach, and I half feared I would encounter someone who no one else would hire--someone, in short, who might be unsuited to the job.

I could not have been more wrong.

My Apology to ATRs Everywhere



There is some confusion on what the ATR rights and responsibilities are when doing their weekly assignments at a school.  Too many times I  am hearing that ATRs are being used in duties that no teacher in the school are doing.  Why the union has not printed an easy to read "ATR Bill of Rights" is troubling.  It's as if the union rather not let ATRs know what they are required to do and what are not appropriate duties.  While, for the present, I am in a Provisional position in an excellent school for the school year and don't have to travel to schools weekly, I do understand the frustration of not knowing what an ATR responsibility is.and hope to clarify this somewhat in this post.

MORE at:

Another Nail In The Coffin Of Mayor Bloomberg's Education Policy.


NYC Educator

Sick Days? ATRs Don't Need No Stinking Sick Days!

by Suddenly ATR

For the past couple of weeks I've been feeling sick. Not 'can't get out of bed' sick, but I have a runny nose and cough that never seems to go away, for a few days I had a nasty intestinal virus that made me weak and nauseous, and the constant changes of schedule have made me tired and sluggish.

Had I been in a normal teaching situation, I probably would have called in sick one of those days to recuperate. I often found that taking one day off just to sleep and relax often did a world of good for me, both physically and mentally.

But as an ATR, I can't do that. I'm told that wherever I go, I have to make a good impression.

MORE at: 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ATR Reports on Bronx UFT Meeting

About 100 attendees. Meeting well run by Amy ( only speaker from UFT ). about 15 were guidance/social workers. 65 % female; 50 % non white. 1/3 first time ATRS. 1800 ATR # confirmed. UFT seems to be pushing ATR rights a little more; supposedly DOE is clamping down on Principal ATR abuses; UFT wants ATRs to notify them promptly of any perceived problems. NO ATR chapter will be formed. Crowd was fairly passive but had many questions but little new info. UFT meets with DOE regularly; one person asked if ATRs could serve as mentors or teacher assists in CR; say they brought this up to DOE but was rejected. Amy emphasized that ATRs must be treated just like other teachers in the school.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Message from An ATR

Here is the list of UFT borough meetings 

Weds, Oct. 24, Bronx Borough Office
Thurs. Oct. 25, Bklyn Borough Off - teachers only
Mon. Oct. 29, Bklyn BO - guid and social workers only
Thurs. Nov. 1, Man BO - everyone
Mon Nov. 5 - Queens BO - everyone

Important information for city-wide ATR's (ALL TITLES)
This week on Wednesday, October 24, there is a meeting for all ATR's at the UFT Bronx Office.  Not surprisingly this meeting is buried on the UFT calendar:

ATR's of all titles are invited to attend this informational Q & A session on ATR-related issues and to meet the representatives of the Bronx Borough Office.

It has been suggested by an ATR who has assumed a leadership role, that ALL ATR's, including those on the GEM listserve attend the Bronx meeting in order to speed up the rapidly moving organization of ATR's.

Should the meeting turn out to be a performance by Amy Arundell whining, "you're lucky to have a job," then all attendees at the meeting can quickly retreat to the parking area to exchange contact information which will further strengthen the ATR movement.

It has been reported that a list of city-wide ATR's has recently surfaced. Hopefully, this list can be used to urge attendance at the ATR meetings. 

See Ed Notes: Enter the Demilitarized Zone: ATR Borough Meetings This Week/Wine and Cheese Videos Reprise Sellout

Saturday, September 29, 2012


NYC ATRs, Stand up together!

Learn about the DOE's myths about the ATRs and the realities about the ATRs. Share ideas on surviving the process.
Discuss bridging the gap between the status quo
and what action we can take together to change our situation.

Come to the GEM/ATR Committee's general meeting: Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 5:00 p.m.
at the Skylight Diner (meet in the back)
402 W. 34th Street and 9th Avenue.
Please RSVP to

Monday, September 24, 2012

What's worse: the Rubber Room or the ATR?

Our resident gadfly, Philip Nobile, sent the following email to Amy Arundel, who is the UFT's liason to the teachers of the ATR.  To the best of our knowledge, Ms. Arundel has not yet replied.  

Tom Bennett, my Brooklyn District Representative, told me that ATRs must perform any duties that regular teachers perform. Since C-6 assignments vary from school to school, it’s hard to know whether some ATR orders violate the contract. 

Chaz’s current blog post on ATRs had this comment from an ATR:
If a principal tells me to answer phone -file - copy or do cafeteria duty, I politely say NO and that I will grieve immediately. Then I go back to the teacher's room and take out my book. It has worked every time because it is the LAW! Atrs are letting themselves be abused even more than we are!! Don't let them abuse you - just say no.
Do you agree? 

An admirable chapter leader further commented on how he/she protects ATRs: 

I'm a chapter leader in a small school in the Bronx. One thing that I make sure is to inform the members, even the ATRs, of their rights. I check the ATRs' program to ensure that none of their rights are violated. When the rotation of ATRs begin in October, I speak to the ATR(s) and tell them about their prep, lunch and professional periods. If I see something wrong, I immediately go to administration to have it corrected. It is the responsibility of the chapter leader to protect the members. I don't know how chapter leaders do it in a large comprehensive school, but in a small school there should be no excuse from the chapter leader.
Bill Kalogeras at Automotive is the only CL who treated me similarly in my travels last year throughout Brooklyn/S.I. Why hasn’t the UFT drawn up an advisory to CLs on how to handle ATRs? Or have I missed it?

In the good old days of rubber rooms, we not only had elected reps (liaisons) and monthly meetings at 52 Broadway, but Randi produced a brochure on our rights. 

Can you explain why ATRs in good standing get less respect than accused members in the past?


Sunday, September 23, 2012

ATR Predictions

Here are two important predictions about the future of the Absent Teacher Reserve:

1. NY 1 predicts that there will not be a buyout agreement between the DOE and the UFT for ATR teachers.  Read about it here.

2. Chaz, the intrepid publisher of the Chaz's School Daze blog, predicts that the ATR will not be going away any time soon. Click here to read this and other predictions from Chaz's crystal ball . 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Invisible ATR

Here is the latest in the on-going tale of one of our most popular contributors, Dumped ATR. 

Here it is again. I should call myself "Formerly Dumped, now Invisible ATR."

When I was about seven, one of my favorite songs was the goofy, "Monster Mash." Between that song and daily doses of "The Count" on Sesame Street, I perfected a cheesy Dracula voice that I used at birthday parties and recess. Who knew that some fifty years later, I'd become a true denizen of the after-life--a veritable ghost.

At the school to which I have been assigned, there was a vacancy in my very own subject area. There are two of us ATR's at the school, in fact, who are in this license. The schedule which the "Vacancy" would fill included a very raucous last period class. Since visitations by different persons each day would have opened the doors for these students to be difficult for a whole new unsuspecting person each day, my supervisor decided that one person should cover that class consistently until a teacher was hired. This was said to me--or perhaps across me--as I find it hard to imagine that a person was really looking at me and discussing a job I was qualified for and was soon going to cover, without offering me, at least, a courtesy interview. Since I am a ghost with a license who tends to take visible form as directed, the class was summarily printed on my schedule. 

Actually, they are a bright bunch of kids. Upon advice from a colleague, I decided to take the class as if it were mine. I put the kids in assigned seats, taught my lessons, assigned homework and handed back graded classwork. By day three, we were in a kind of rhythm. I told the supervisor on the second day that I enjoyed the class and explained what my holiday assignment would be. I also mentioned that I would grade it and hoped it would be taken into account in their final grade. At that point, I was informed that a candidate had been selected. When we returned from the four day holiday, a brand new teacher had, in fact, been hired. 

The students in the class are not happy. They don't understand why I'm not their teacher. The new teacher can't handle them. (They are very bright and they can challenge your every move. You just need to be very structured.) Some of them gave their assignment to the new teacher and some to me. I'm trying to find the teacher so we can talk about if it will be considered for their first cycle grades. 

At no point did my supervisors come see me teach. It would have been an easy way to see if I could handle the job--especially as I had to create my own structure. I wouldn't have the benefit of teaching a "demo lesson" in which students might be more courteous because they had been asked to be good hosts to the visiting teacher.

Claude Raines in a scene from a 1933 movie
adaptation of H.G. Wells's novel, The Invisible
It's one thing to say that we are using "fair market" tactics to select teachers, but when you practically treat a person as invisible, there is nothing equitable going on. In the end, the consistency that was necessary until a teacher was hired was abandoned once they brought the new person in--a few days were more important than the semester. The students' interests were as invisible, I think, as I was.

Tables and chairs attend latest ATR job fair

The Washington Heights 
Armory.  Add a few tables and
chairs and it will look just as it
did for the job fair on Sept. 19. 
On September 19th, the DOE threw one of its little shindigs in celebration of the ATR fiasco.  This latest job fair featured tables, chairs, a water fountain, restrooms, and not much else. Thomas Forbes, a veteran NYCATR correspondent, sent in the following:

    Anyone who had a chance to attend the job fair this afternoon saw it was a joke. I would guess only 5 schools showed up.   I even saw one pair from a school get up and leave shortly after 4:30 when they saw what a waste of time it was. I thought I would see people I knew, but I only saw one; not a lot of teachers there, maybe a couple hundred.   
Most everyone I spoke with were new ATR's and were really in the dark. I told all to check ednotesonline and become a member of the GEM/ATR group. I ended up talking with and answering questions from a small group of ATR's. 
As I left, I stopped by the UFT table and spoke with four of our representatives who were sitting there speaking to no one but themselves. As I drilled them softly about Union politics and issues, I was told not be sarcastic by one of them as the conversation progressed. I then ended the conversation and told them I was doing more to inform our members than they were.