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Saturday, November 26, 2011

The UFT keeps its promises by publishing them

I would like to believe in the UFT.  I would really love to feel in my heart that they stand behind me and all other New York City teachers with all their strength.   Alas, I find myself feeling like Winston Smith in Orwell's 1984--I desperately want to believe that a man holding up four fingers is really holding up five, but I can't deny the reality in front of my eyes.  

On November 9, the UFT posted on its website a resolution regarding the teachers of the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR).  It included the following:
RESOLVED that the New York Teacher will run an article on teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve, including how teachers became part of the ATR.
Has the UFT kept its promise?  Only in the measliest sense of the word.  Yes, an article was published, on page 3 of the November 24th edition of the New York Teacher.  It consisted of a very brief summary of the resolution mentioned above, including the promise to publish an article about the ATR in the New York Teacher.  In other words, the UFT is keeping its promise to publish an article about the ATR by publishing its promise to publish an article about the ATR.  Does that sound like Orwellian doublespeak?  You bet it does.

I'll bet I know the answer to a few other questions, too:
* Why was this article on page 3, and not on page 1 or 2?
* Why did this little four-inch report on the ATR have to share space with news about four other UFT resolutions, none of which relate to the ATR issue?
* Why did this article get the headline "ATR measure breezes through," as if the ATR is not a contentious issue that has inspired hundreds of teachers to attend raucous meetings and has inspired one UFT official to deliver a  "demagogic rant" in opposition to a resolution that was proposed on behalf of ATR teachers? 
* And, finally, why didn't this article contain--as promised previously by the UFT--any information on "how teachers became part of the ATR"?
Could it be that the UFT wants this little ATR nuisance to quietly fade away?  Could it be that the UFT has nothing meaningful to say to a group of over 1,000 teachers who were sold like a mess of pottage so that King Bloomberg wouldn't lay off any teachers?  Could it really be that the UFT leadership believes that their job begins and ends with saving jobs, but the quality of those jobs is none of their business? 

What do you say, dear readers?

Picture credits:


  1. I say they are ashamed that that have put us in this position and are doing NOTHING in listening to our commuting complaints and how schools are not filling vacancies with ATRS. I met a friend of mine yesterday who is dismayed because her son has a different teacher everyweek in his graphic arts class (the teacher is on a maternity leave) I know the class was covered by an ATR for the first 6 weeks or so because I was also at the school. A nice middle class school. I guess the parents aren't complaining -yet - because it isn't a Regents class but when their little darlings have no grade come next month then we will see what happens! Anway, back to the union...they are trying to sugar coat what we are going through and hide how they are useless to us....! I still can't understand how the UFT promised us that every vacancy would be filled by an ATR and when we call them on this they keep directing us to call this one or that is sickening

  2. This is the way the union treated those in the rubber rooms. No difference at all. They will do nothing and do not care about the members that they have sacrificed.
    This clarifies the role the union has had in the constructive discharge and the creation of a hostile and toxic work environbment. "As long as you have your job", they will say.

    Angry Nog

  3. I think pretty much everyone wants the ATR issue to fade away. Nonetheless, the methods of making this happen vary wildly, from Bloomberg's preferred method of firing all the ATRs, making all other teachers ATRs, then firing them as well, to my preferred method of halting all new hires until ATR teachers are placed.

    There's really not a whole lot of wiggle room here. It's unconscionable that someone could face termination simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  4. We live in uncertain times. The economy has made it easier to force out higher paid, more experienced and effective teachers. Why would the DoE and The UFT agree to this illogical plan? In Bloomberg's effort to make schools little business's and profit centers as defined by student scores, it was determined that teachers are a commodity e.g.....all teachers are the same and will produce the same student outcomes with scripted lessons provided by consultants like Teachers College et al. Instead of thinking creatively the UFT dumbly agrees to put in limbo all excessed teachers regardless of effectiveness....throwing out the baby with the bath water.
    Would it not have been wiser to use seasoned teachers as experts in classroom practice and curriculum instead of highly paid consultants? Why not share the pain with CSE and principals who could have U rated ineffective staff and instead took the easy way out of forced movement within the transfer system and now Open Market. Class warfare has infected the teaching ranks pitting older and experienced teachers against younger and unemployed teachers. Meanwhile we call each other names and blame our union and the establishment in a time when there is little support for labor unions. We cannot wait for new leadership. We are teachers and have the expertise to bring change by supporting new efforts like GEM and this blog to get the word out and make some noise. I would like to see some ideas on that.

  5. This is my first year as an ATR and I honestly don't see how this problem is ever going to be resolved. How and when will I be hired? I feel like I could be an ATR forever because no one has figured out how to get us placed. And the biggest problem is that the ATR pool is only going to grow. As Bloomberg and Walcott and the other turkeys at the DOE close more high schools and then start raiding the middle schools - the problem seem like it is going to get worse. And the union is totally complicit in all of this garbage - I thought its' job was to protect its members from gross negligence - not just to add members and money to its' coffers. It is not only about saving jobs at all - it is about saving meaningful jobs for people who have made their careers helping the kids. Apparently, the word career is now a curse - the newbies are all in and put in under 5 years so they will get no pension and cost little to the city. The only ones who pay the cost are the kids for having to deal with inexperienced and unknowledgeable 20 somethings who consider teaching for a couple of years equivalent to feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving day. I could go on forever about how I hate what they have to us and how the turkeys at the DOE should all be fired. Are we going to be in this position for months - years - or for some of is decades?

  6. Good to become browsing your weblog once more, it has been months for me. Well this article that i've been waited for so lengthy. I need this post to total my assignment inside the university, and it has exact same subject together with your post. Thanks, excellent share.

  7. I see the Union salivating at the thought of all the union dues provided by the newbie teachers AND the ATRs, and all the other staff memebers they are stealing from.

  8. I noticed that there were two job postings on the open market for teachers and the subject area was absence coverage. One in Brooklyn and the other in Staten Island. Is the DOE trying to recruit more ATRs?

  9. I agree with an anonymous post. I am clueless how this is going to be resolved. ATRs want to be placed. The union only cares about us being on the payroll. The principals don't want us(they just want a free,warm body that will babysit a class for a day, then be on their way Friday), the city wishes we would all go away and the typical rank and file teacher has no clue as to what an ATR is, how it happens, what it entails etc etc.

    One thing I know for sure is there will be zero resolution to this before Bloomberg is out. The next two years, I anticipate the ATR population going up exponentially

  10. I also saw the postings for ATRs! What is that??? LMAO...DOE makes no sense! I'll take the one in SI!

  11. The only hope is to overthrow the UFT- ala Chicago.

  12. One way to overthrow the union, or severely get their attention is the creation of a sizable fund to sue the UFT for gross negligence whenever possible. That will get their fannies all in a huff over at 52 Broadway- in a hurry.

  13. I know an ATR who is in the process of interviewing lawyers...I will keep you posted!

  14. I've spoken to attorneys. They will tell you that as long as you have a job, the union has done its job. if the union throws us to the wolves, then we have a case