This afternoon, October 11, the UFT held a meeting for Manhattan-based members of the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR). The following report was filed by Marjorie Stamberg, a veteran union activist, and now a veteran contributor to NYCATR.
There was one new item: principals who keep an ATR the whole year have an option to offer a written agreement for the teacher to sign indicating the teacher will be included in the school budget. Even so, it will only be provisional. Has anyone been offered this or know of anyone who was offered this?
It seems the leadership was mainly anxious to head off the hot issue of an ATR chapter. They made sure every district rep in Manhattan was there and kept repeating that they would be responsive to all phone calls. While it is important for the district reps to be aware of ATR issues, in no way is this the same thing as ATRs having full voting rights and elected representation in the union and at delegate assemblies--especially for teachers who are moving from school to school each week.
Several people spoke powerfully about this issue. As to the view that being in a different school offers opportunities to meet and interview principals, another teacher made the point that by the end of the year's weekly trek, this could impact negatively. For example, a principal could say that they've been in school after school and still had no offers.
Despite the many schemes to keep principals from gaming the system, there can be no solution until teacher salaries are again paid by central (avoiding the "two for the price of one" syndrome) and a return to seniority transfer, which the union gave up in 2005.
Again tonight, there was no real discussion of the deep issues facing ATRs. In addition, only ATRs were allowed to speak despite the requests of many who have been advocating on this issue in the union.
I was appalled at the lack of respect for Roz Panepento who was told she couldn't speak. Roz is the author of "The Reckless Reorganization of District 79" and was the chapter leader when hundreds were excessed in our GED programs as well as the School for Pregnant and Parenting Teens.
D79 was the poster child for mass school closings and teacher ATRing. The former district superintendent, Teach for America star Cami Anderson is now running the Newark school system with Mark Zuckerberg's money.
Photo credit: http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/manhattan/midtown/timessquare/night/0512-15-07.jpg