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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No Bright Lights at Manhattan UFT-ATR Meeting

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.

In terms of the information presented by Amy Arundel, today's meeting was basically a repeat of the earlier borough meetings last week.

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:


  1. I think Amy needs an attitude adjustment! LOL I wish she could one week in an ATRs shoes!

  2. To Anonymous:
    Chief Roaming Rabbit says: Never judge an ATR until you've walked in his mocassins while searching for the men's room in a new school.

  3. The UFT should assign each staffer to a different borough office every week just to give them a flavor, albeit a light one.

  4. On the thought of impacting us negatively, I dis-agree. We go from school to school week to week. Odds are, a principal has no clue who we are etc etc. My friend showed up at his school Tuesday and the AP had no clue what an ATR was. This is the stuff the union must bring up. With regards to being offered nothing, which will happen FYI, the union needs to present this and say,'Why is this? Is it b/c the teacher is not 22, makes a higher salary, are there racial reasons or other favoritism going on?' but as we all know, people are too politically correct and the union will go the status quo way of letting the city say how bad we are and how lucky we are of keeping our jobs.

    Also, why hasn't the union come out publicly and asked the city why are ATRs being placed in schools they are not licensed in? to me, that's a farce. of course you won't get an offer in a k-6 school when your license is 7-12

  5. THis was a comment on ICE-Mail:


    Before I piggyback on Marjorie's missive I have to ask - WHERE HELL WERE THE ATRs FROM MANHATTAN ON TUESDAY EVENING?!?!?

    I would guessamate that there were less than 60 of us there! This is shameful! There are almost 2,500 of us citywide, and the other two meetings in the Bronx and Brooklyn were very well attended. This is our lives and livelihood on the line here, how can you not be interested or concerned, especially since I am certain by years' end many of you with "positions" will enter the fold!?

    I also feel that the meetings should be open to all because others who are not in the ranks of ATRs may have concerns, questions and ideas that could be helpful. We also need EVERYONE to lobby on the behalf of ATRs receiving their own chapter, because even if they union heads were sincere last night, if they were to get 100 issues just from us, they would be swamped, because don't forget there are other non-ATR members that they represent as well!

    One member in attendance described being told that although she was a wonderful educator and the principal liked her and her work, they were looking for someone who was at the beginning of their career - not near the end of it! Yet the union DROPPED the age discrimination suit!

    It was stated at the meeting the the ATR designation WAS NOT GOING AWAY!!! It appears that this is a form of second class citizenry that the powers that be intend to keep as part of the educational landscape! The only thing is at this writing, at years end if you have not been offered a position, on either a permanent or provision basis, you cannot be terminated - YET! (I am certain that the administration is working on a way to get around that!)

    Also it was stated that if you are assigned to a school and there ARE absent personnel that day you cannot be given a hodgepodge of different coverages, the ATR must be given one of the absent staff's teaching schedule for the day. If you are treated otherwise, contact the union ASAP! Conversely, if there are no absences you can be given "push in" assignments to assist other teaching staff, and this does not mean 3 periods of lunch/yard/bathroom duty!

    Please keep in mind that at the end of this school year all of these so-called "opportunities" that are being afforded to ATRs (bogus job fairs, weekly assignments to different schools), it may get used against us, pointing out that with all of this the majority have yet to be offered a position, ergo they must be "bad" teachers!

    Don't go to sleep on this and don't get complacent this is serious business and it affects us all!
    Besides if this was really about money the city should offer to buyout all of those who have 3 years or less before retirement, thereby once they made the initial payout, they would no longer have to worry about paying those salaries!


  6. Because the union doesn't care! We really should go to the media. Everyone makes us out to be useless meanwhile they are making us useless! I want to teach not babysit or file!