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Thursday, December 29, 2011

How important is the ATR issue?

You really gotta hand it to the UFT's "newspaper," the New York Teacher.  


True, they've never published the article that they promised about "teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve, including how teachers became part of the ATR." Still, they published some great articles in the latest edition (December 22, 2011).  For example:

*(p. 1) a headline stating, "Parents get information and resources from the union" (but not ATR teachers);
*(p. 8) a full-page article about the UFT's participation in the fight for  voting rights (which ATR teachers, who do not belong to any local chapter, do not have);
*(p. 13) a half-page editorial by our President, Michael Mulgrew, who writes that "2011 has turned out to be the year that people said 'enough'" (you're right, Mike--ATR teachers have taken enough abuse);
*(pp. 24-25) a two-page spread about the UFT's "Annual Parent Conference" (which means they meet with parents about as frequently as they meet with the ATR teachers);
*(p. 33) a notice about the New York Teacher obituary policy (where someday you might read about a teacher who served 23 years in the ATR).

The piece de resistance, however, came on page 38 of this venerable 48-page publication:
 *approximately 1/16 of a page dedicated to a summary of a resolution in support of the ATR that was passed at the December 7 meeting of the UFT's Delegate Assembly.  

My writing teachers always taught me to write a conclusion, and I teach the same to my students.  In this case, however, I leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions about whether the UFT thinks the ATR issue is particularly urgent or important.  
     
  


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gypsy Teacher plays bathroom monitor

The report below was submitted to NYCATR by our popular contributor, Gypsy Teacher, on December 17. We apologize to Gypsy, and her numerous fans, for the delay in posting her words of wisdom. 



I spent my week at McCown H.S., which shares the same building as the school I was assigned to last night. Night and day experiences. 



Toilet paper distribution in a  restroom 
 at Coney Island (see the article in
the New York Post
).
I was used, as all the other ATRs assigned here, as the bathroom monitor. I had to sit in the hall all day (at least I had the bathroom key!).  It was an extremely easy, yet humiliating job. 

The school was filled, again, with young teachers. Maybe one or two were over the age of 30. One of the teachers was a former student of mine. He just told me today that his girlfriend who has never taught a day in her life just landed a job at Port Richmond High School as a Special Ed/English teacher. How is that? I thought there was a hiring freeze???? 

Anyway, back to my misadventures. I made the mistake of spending time in the teachers’ lounge on Monday.  I thought I had walked into the students’ cafeteria.  All I can remember is the sound of their shrill voices. Almost every teacher had a loud shrill voice. I don’t know why. That mistake was never repeated. I spent my free periods in my car charging my phone and reading. (Oh yes, as bathroom monitor I also got quite a lot of reading and writing done.)

This was the only school where I was required to attend the professional development/staff meeting. I nearly split my sides laughing when the entire group of teachers began the meeting in the hall with something called, I believe, Circle Up! They all stood in a circle (I don’t know if they were holding hands because I didn’t take part in the Circle Up!) and began the session with “sharing time.” I kid you not. I thought I was in a kindergarten class with tall students! Then after “sharing” time they had Shout Outs! praising one another. Laughing, yet? Or perhaps, vomiting? They even had snacks. Not sure if it was cookies and milk because I made by escape as soon as I could! 

I basically was paid my 17 year salary to do an aide’s job. At my old school we had someone we called Bathroom Bob; I was Bathroom Susan! What I don’t understand: the school used day-to- day subs to cover classes but every ATR is the bathroom monitor. Truthfully, when I saw how some of the classes behaved with the subs, I was happy to be the bathroom monitor! 

My stint sitting in the hall allowed me to observe the school and its dynamics. The students weren’t as well behaved as at CSI but they weren’t “gangsta” either. One of the aides told me that the school was basically filled with students who should have been in special ed but their parents didn’t want to sign the papers so they looked for a small school environment thinking it would help. 

I met the Chapter Leader who seemed like a decent man. I also met the principal who for the first couple of days I was there walked the halls with an Ipad going in and out of classrooms. 

Basically, it was an easy stint but I felt demeaned and degraded being used to sign kids in and out of a bathroom. Glad the week is over! Oh, and why are we assigned to our next school for 2 weeks? Party time at HR Connect next week??

Picture credit: http://www.whitegadget.com/attachments/pc-wallpapers/66555d1313132400-friendship-friendship-circle.jpg

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Who really runs the NYC public schools?

CB, a veteran NYCATR contributor, has raised a disturbing question: 
Who really runs the New York City public schools?

Here is some information I recently learned from a school secretary at one of the many schools where I’ve been placed. I would appreciate feedback from anyone who can confirm or refute the veracity of this information, or who can answer any of the questions listed at the end of this entry. 

A few years ago, Learning Support Organizations, or Networks, were engaged or created to “integrate operational and instructional support for schools,” or, rather, to take over some of the functions of the districts. Despite the fact that the DOE School Support web page refers to Networks in the plural, the only one listed on that page is Children First Network. (It seems to me that there originally were others; what happened to them?) 

This secretary told me that for its first four years, CFN staff consisted of former district staff personnel, people who were knowledgeable about school operations and therefore helpful to school administrators and teachers. This staff was originally to have been kept for only three years, but they were kept on for another year. By the fifth year, CFN had all new people on its staff, and, according to this secretary, these folks had difficulty carrying out their functions because of lack of experience with the school system. The year after that, things became “so bad” that CFN staff members would not even answer their telephones. Now, in the seventh year, they still “don’t know what they are doing.” 


The bottom line, in my opinion, is that the Networks are really part of the mayor’s not-so-secret plan to privatize the schools. The school secretary theorizes that Mr. Bloomberg’s model for the city school system is the University of Phoenix, whose only campus is a virtual one. 

Most or all of us remember when Regions were installed to oversee (or replace?) the Districts, then scrapped in three years’ time. I don’t think the CFN is going to go away so quickly. 

Here are some questions I’d like to see answered: 

*Is there information about CFN on any of the alternative teacher blogs? 

*What is the relationship between the DOE administration and the CFN? 

*Who hires CFN staff? What are their supposed qualifications? 

*What powers does CFN hold? 

*What is its relationship to the school districts? 

*What is its relationship to school principals? 

*How much does CFN cost the DOE, and what costs were eliminated with its creation? 

*Are there any other Learning Support Organizations? 

*What else should we know?

Picture credits:
     
          http://childrenfirstnetwork.com/images/team.png
          
          http://www.localcollegeexplorer.com/Online_Degree/images/University_of_Phoenix.jpg
          

Saturday, December 17, 2011

First Visit from a Field Supervisor

An ATR teacher named CB sent us this report about her first visit from  a Field Supervisor.  For those who haven't been consistent in their reading of NYCATR, Field Supervisors are a new-fangled breed of DOE administrators who will be evaluating the work of ATR teachers in selected areas of Brooklyn.  

An NFL field supervisor
I had the first (unannounced) visit on December 8th from my new Field Supervisor (I'm in District 13 at the elementary school level). I asked her whether she was a teacher. She said she had been a teacher, coach, and principal, and held one or two other job titles within DOE. She had left a principal's post to take a position at Tweed. When that position was eliminated, there were no principal positions open, due to school closings. The DOE offered her this Field Supervisor thing, so she took it. She mentioned, I think, three districts that she is assigned to. Lots of traveling around.


So, as you can see, these folks are in a similar boat to ours, though they are more highly paid. By the view, this was not an evaluation, just an observation. 

Interestingly, both in person and in an e-mail, the supervisor told me that her purpose is to support me and help me find a permanent placement (and of course to do the same for the others to whom she is assigned).

While the field supervisor was in the classroom, a broken closet door, which I'd reported to a custodian, fell and hit a child in the head. Also in that room was a broken SmartBoard (and no working one), a broken drawer in the teacher's desk, and windows that would not open (except for one). Teachers and students have such wonderful working environments. Aren't we glad we're following former Chancellor Klein's suggestion that the schools be run like a business?

Photo credit: http://www.mysanantonio.com/mediaManager/?controllerName=image&action=get&id=1156289&width=628&height=471

ATR invited to interview at Bronx Predatory


NYCATR has uncovered a new contributor, whom we have dubbed "ATR Prep."   He claims to aim for "comic relief," but--as we all know--in the world of the DOE, reality, comedy, and tragedy are all inextricably bound together.

Here is ATR Prep's appetizer:


I've so far been assigned to Collegiate Prep in the Erasmus Hall building, Brooklyn College Prep in Brownsville, and now Brooklyn Preparatory HS in Williamsburg. Based on some of my experiences in these schools I was saying to a fellow ATR if I see another school with "Brooklyn" and "Prep" in the title my blood will run cold.

And now for the main course:

Mr. Al Gator, Dean of Students at Bronxwood
Predatory Academy
I've got a mandatory interview for Friday (way out of district) at the "Bronxwood Predatory Academy." I kid you not.  Here is the email:


From: Martinez Yissel
Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 3:36 PM
To: Mr. _________ _____________
Subject: Mandated Excess Interview Letter

Dear Mr. ______________,

You are asked to attend an interview for a ESL teaching position at 11X514. The interview is scheduled as follows:




DATE: 12/16/2011

TIME: 10:00 AM

LOCATION: Bronxwood Predatory Academy 921 E. 228th Street Bronx, NY 10466.

ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS – Interview with Principal, Janet Gallardo

For more information regarding this school, go to http://schools.nyc.gov and enter the name or number of the school in the Find a School section. On the school page you will find a link to a map showing the school location, travel directions, and a link to statistics and other information about the school.

As an excessed teacher, you are required to attend this interview. The principal at your ATR assignment school has been informed about this requirement and asked to give you release time to attend the interview. Time permitting, allowing for the time for the interview and travel, you should report to your ATR assignment at the start and/or end of the day. Although the school where you are assigned has been informed of the above, it is recommended that you confirm your required attendance at this event with your principal, and discuss whether it will be feasible for you to report to your ATR assignment for part of the day.

Please bring several copies of your resume with you to the interview. If you have any need of assistance with your resume or guidance on interviewing please visit the Teacher Hiring Support Center website at www.thscnyc.org.

Sincerely,

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Thank you,


Yissel Martinez, Human Resources Director
Division of School Support and Instructions
Cluster 6 Network 603
1230 Zerega Avenue
Bronx, NY 10462

Photo credit:  http://www.ryanphotographic.com/images/JPEGS/Gator%20showing%20teeth.jpg

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ATR teacher has never been used in his content area


    An ATR teacher known as Every ATR has some interesting thoughts about the DOE's new plan for evaluating him and his colleagues in Brooklyn.

    A substitute teacher dodges paper airplanes.
    I am a HS ESL teacher. So far none of my ATR assignments have used me in my content area. I am troubled by the DOE's position that ATRs who are not covering classes in their content area will be judged on their classroom management. skills. When students in high school see a substitute (and that's what we are to the school's administration and to the students) the students see party time. Students won't sit still for a lesson. If absentee work is left students may or may not bother to do it. The UFT's advice to "teach what we know" just doesn't fly with high school students. These students, teenagers, will complain that what the sub tries to teach is not what the class is supposed to be. 

    I understand from Amy Arundel, that the UFT has sent to the DOE a protocol for how principals should be utilizing ATRs.  It seems to me that until a protocol is in place for how ATRs are to be used, no one should be observing any ATR, particularly if they are being used out of their license area. By the way, aren't observations only supposed to be done when a teacher is actually teaching a class in his or her content area? 

    By the way, as I've moved from high school to high school in Brooklyn, I've noticed that these new mini-schools have pretty much the same level of student as the school I was phased out of--low academics and high behavior problems. The only difference I can see is that these mini-schools have far fewer students and far, far more technological resources. I've also noticed that they are following administrative and pedagogical models that seem strange and useless. Exactly what is "ADVISORY" ??? 
    Keep the faith.
Photo credit:
      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RBtoMqrRsGY/TgzH3xp6QAI/AAAAAAAAAzw/LBB9381zQzQ/s400/substitute+teacher.jpg

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gypsy Teacher finds a teacher being paid a para's salary

NYCATR's beloved Gypsy Teacher had a good week in Staten Island, but she also uncovered a disturbing little secret.  

This past week I found myself at CSI High School for International Studies. It is a small school in the heart of Staten Island. It shares a building with two other schools. It was basically an easy week. The first day I was given an assignment as a hall monitor but the rest of the week I was given classes to cover. The students were well behaved and the teachers left real work. 

I saw the Principal once, at an assembly. He is very young as are most of the teachers in the school. Surprise! I also spoke to a young girl who is teaching 5 classes but is being paid as a para. How is this allowed?? Principals seem to be doing pretty much anything they want. I overheard that a teacher is retiring at the end of the term. You know that an ATR won't be hired!


Anyway, parking was fine if you got there before 7:15; otherwise you had to look for some place to park. The bathroom key was hung in the main office. That was the only key for the second floor. Some teachers didn't have a bathroom key. There was a lounge on the 4th floor with some Macs and a bathroom, no key needed!

All, in all a very good school.

Photo credit: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/837D443C-3D36-40AE-8C31-4F2709ABD048/113317/inttrip.jpg

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mendel mollifies; ATRs react

A teacher (?) in perm
An ATR teacher who goes by the name "ATR in Perm" forwarded to us a letter that UFT Secretary Michael Mendel sent to ATR teachers in Brooklyn Districts 13-23, 32, and 73 (the Brooklyn high school superintendency). 


Below is Mendel's letter (with a few key points highlighted by NYCATR). Following the letter is ATR in Perm's response; he who forwards the message gets first dibs at trashing it. 
Dear colleague,
The UFT has been informed that the DOE will implement a new supervisory system for ATRs in Brooklyn community school districts (Districts 13-23 and 32) and Brooklyn high school superintendency (District 73). They have labeled it a pilot, though they did not indicate how or when the pilot would be evaluated; nor have they indicated if or when they would extend this system to other ATRs. We were informed about this plan, but had no input into it. I am writing to assure you that the union will continue to make sure that your rights as a UFT member are not violated and your professionalism as a teacher is respected
The DOE has created a new position, that of field supervisor, with the intent that field supervisors will provide some measure of evaluative continuity to the members whom they observe and to whom they provide professional feedback. They have done this because state law requires that all teachers must be evaluated and rated. 
As always, the UFT will monitor the implementation of this new system carefully to make sure that it is implemented appropriately (e.g., that members are observed on things like classroom management, and not on things like content when they are teaching out of license — in other words, things that make sense). We will address concerns that come up with the DOE immediately. Above all, we will continue to hold the DOE’s feet to the fire on the main tenet of the June ATR agreement, which is to fill all long-term absences and leaves with ATRS and to help members in the Absent Teacher Reserve find permanent positions. 
We know that you play a valuable role in virtually every city school, under often challenging circumstances, and that your contributions are often unrecognized. We are committed to ensuring that ATRs are treated like professionals and are working to make sure this new supervisory system does that. 
If you have questions or concerns, please contact your district representative or Amy Arundell at aarundell@uft.org.


ATR in Perm: The UFT's Michael Mendell issued a letter on the UFT's position on the ATR teacher evaluations. Shockingly, the area that visiting teachers routinely have the most trouble with, classroom management, is an area that Mendell thinks is fair game for evaluating teachers.



"We are committed to ensuring that ATRs are treated like professionals . . ." Yeah? Well, why are you letting us get evaluated on handling kids who we've just met minutes ago? School tone, set by administration, as to whether they discipline students in a timely fashion or whether they coddle them, is the greatest factor (aside from home upbringing) in how kids will react to even the sternest and most confident Classroom-Management-minded teacher.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ATR Resolution to be introduced at next UFT Delegate Assembly

Norm Scott, the dynamo who founded the GEM-ATR Committee, sent us a resolution that he says will be introduced at the next meeting of the UFT's Delegate Assembly.  Norm is presently traveling in the South Pacific, so it's a bit difficult to communicate with him about his sources, but he has never failed us before.  Norm also wrote that he has good reason to believe that this resolution will pass, unlike a previous ATR resolution that was shot down by top UFT officials.

Resolution on Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) placements


WHEREAS the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) crisis is a clear and direct result of New York City Department of Education (DOE) policies and mismanagement; and

WHEREAS even though efforts to resolve the crisis have been partially successful, the DOE still has not kept its promises nor met its moral and professional obligations to ATRs and has thereby wasted valuable human and economic resources; and

WHEREAS maintaining fairness and increasing productivity in the city’s teaching force require that the talents of all educators be utilized in service to students, parents and school communities; and

WHEREAS solutions to the ATR crisis need to be proposed and implemented without delay in order to maximize productivity, teaching and learning in New York City public schools; therefore be it

RESOLVED that the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) call upon the DOE to create a recertification program for ATRs for designated shortage areas and allow participating ATRs to take the requisite course work at the City University of New York (CUNY) free of charge or be reimbursed for the related costs of attending a private college or university at the CUNY rate per credit; and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT urge the DOE to require that all ATRs be given an opportunity for permanent placement in vacancies in their license areas in their district or high school superintendency before the DOE approves any new hire in a license area where an ATR has not been given an opportunity for permanent placement; and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT urge the DOE to place all ATRs into vacancies in their district or high school superintendency after September 15 of any given year on a provisional basis; and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT urge the DOE to allow principals and ATRs at the end of the school year to either mutually agree to have ATRs as permanent staff members or allow them to return to the ATR pool.

DOE will begin evaluating ATR teachers

The following email was sent to a select group of ATR teachers; the number of teachers who received the message is not known. NYCATR has taken the liberty of highlighting some key passages.  

Dear Teacher,

The Department of Education is piloting a new model for supervision of teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR). This pilot will be implemented for most ATRs assigned to community school districts in Brooklyn as well as the Brooklyn High School superintendency, District 73; you are receiving this email because you will likely be included in the pilot. Under this initiative, you will be supervised by a licensed administrator, called a Field Supervisor, who will periodically observe your practice and provide you with feedback to support your professional development. The Field Supervisors are aware that as an ATR you do not have a regular program and that you rotate school assignments and they will take this context into account in their work with you. 

At some point in the next two months, you should expect your Field Supervisor to visit your assignment site to meet with you in person. At this initial meeting, the Field Supervisor will work with you to develop a plan to support your professional growth and job search process. The Field Supervisor will make an effort to contact you via your DOE email in advance of the initial meeting to give you a sense of when you can expect him or her; however, he or she may not always be able to provide advance notification.

Sincerely,

NYC Department of Education
Atrassignment@schools.nyc.gov

Monday, December 5, 2011

On Hidden Vacancies and Post-It Notes


It's been quite some time since we've had an article from our star contributor, Life in Limbo.  The following article makes all the waiting worthwhile. 

It all seems so simple and straightforward: there are two vacancies in my building that I KNOW of: an Art and a Reading AIS (Academic Intervention Services). In addition, the AIS teacher on my floor will be leaving on a long-term medical leave in a few weeks. She plans on being out for the rest of the year, and retiring in June, so this is a long-term sub position which will eventually become a clear vacancy. In any other situation, the response to these issues would be to hire teachers to fill the positions. But we are not in any other situation--we are in Bloomberg’s DOE, which makes a trip down Alice’s rabbit hole seem like just another day at the office. 

No one is interviewing anyone for these positions. How can this be when there are classes programmed to have Art and AIS? This is where it gets interesting. I have to give NYC administrators points for “thinking creatively” on this one, because I never would have thought of this on my own. How are they doing this, you ask? 

Professional duty periods. 

Yes, my friends. The C-6 assignment is being used to cover up at least two vacancies in my building. And here’s how: 

Any teacher without a homeroom has been given a C-6 assignment listed as “small group instruction” and assigned to either one of the Art or AIS periods in the designated classrooms for AIS and Art. Both these rooms are vacant, since there is no teacher, and there are no supplies, materials, or books in the room. There are even too few desks since the rooms have been pilfered for furniture and materials by other teachers scrounging for limited supplies. The computers in these rooms have been literally torn apart by the students, as have many of the books in the classroom library. In this situation, up to three non-homeroom teachers are assigned “small group” instruction during a single period. By assigning teachers three at a time to this class, the student-teacher ratio becomes 10:1 or less, and *voila*--“Art” and “AIS” are provided, at least on paper, without the expense of hiring an actual teacher!! Genius, isn’t it? 

Let’s just forget that the students are, at this point, so used to not having anything to do this period that the chance of getting them to do any “AIS” or “Art” work now, even with three teachers in the room, is slim to none. It’s even worse when a Science teacher, Tech teacher, and Math teacher are all assigned to cover an Art period with no art supplies, pacing calendar, or responsibility for actual lesson planning and execution. The result has been chaos in the classrooms and groups of students roaming the halls and wandering into other classrooms to cause disruptions because there’s “nothin’ to do in my bull****” class because we ain’t got no d*** teacher.” And the teachers who are stuck with this “small group instruction” period are just thrilled to have their prep time taken away for such a meaningful activity. 

I can’t wait to see the creative ways they manage to cover the upcoming AIS vacancy. The teacher is scheduled to leave in a few weeks, so stay tuned for more on that. 

So, with all of this going on–chaos, vacancies, “Art” classes that are not, “AIS” services that only exist on paper, the fact that only ten of my thirty students had a parent come up to receive his/her child’s report card, and many other dysfunctions in our school environment, what do you think the administration chose to focus on in this week’s faculty memo? 

Sticky Notes. Yes, the urgent issue of the day was sticky notes. Oh, I’m sorry–the 3x3 sticky notes many of us use to comment on student work is not a mere sticky note. It is a “FEEDBACK POST-IT” and is SO important to student success that there is now a SPECIFIC FORMAT to use when writing on a “FEEDBACK POST-IT.” This issue was SO URGENT that we were directed to immediately REMOVE ALL FEEDBACK POST-ITs which are not in the REQUIRED format and replace them, properly formatted, by the CLOSE OF BUSINESS TODAY. We were informed over the PA system that there would be walk-throughs that afternoon checking to make sure all FEEDBACK POST-ITS are in compliance with the required FEEDBACK POST-IT format. 

So my co-teacher and I furiously rushed around the room rewriting all of our information from the sticky notes onto new, officially formatted “FEEDBACK POST-ITs,” sure that these newly- formatted “FEEDBACK POST-ITs are the key to exponentially increasing our students’ test scores (even the ones who only come to school once a week)! We even reworded the feedback into the “language of the rubric,” as specified on the format. And a good thing too, because I think “sentences vary in length and structure to add variety and interest to the writing while enhancing the style” is SOOO much clearer than “Let’s work on making your sentences more engaging.” Hats off to you, oh wise administrators and network leaders. 

So we finish this exercise during our prep period, which was a much better use of time than, say, planning lessons and preparing materials for said lessons, I am sure. We high-five each other for being “in compliance” and prepare to show off our perfectly formatted “FEEDBACK POST-ITs to anyone who stops by. We thought we were done and then…the student walked in. 

The student was carrying a stack of notes, for which we had to sign. The note contained a new REVISED format for the “FEEDBACK POST-IT,” and said that THIS was the magic format that would exponentially increase student achievement and even throw in a load of laundry for you! (O.k., I exaggerated about the laundry.) My co-teacher and I looked at it and realized that this “new” format was EXACTLY THE SAME as the format we used on the original “FEEDBACK POST-ITs–the ones we just tossed in the trash ten minutes ago! So we once again scramble to remove the FEEDBACK POST-ITs we had just posted, to replace them yet again, with what was essentially identical to what we had taken down. 

But then the bell rang. 

How’s that for productivity?

Picture credits: 
          http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTPz5HOJyL6nAgCfXGfU4Wat786BSiX5-y8D8u6SQ6BpyPxlcvZ-cc8K4TLrQ
          
          http://farm1.static.flickr.com/100/297849811_123fc757ec.jpg

Saturday, December 3, 2011

NYCATR gadfly stings horses and lipsticked pigs


Philip Nobile, our resident gadfly, has been corresponding with UFT officials again. NYCATR is proud to present Nobile's stinging messages to the UFT, and not so proud to present some of the UFT's responses.

MESSAGE #1:
December 2, 2011

From: Philip Nobile

To:  Thomas Bennett, Basis HS representative; Amy Arundell, Special Representative; Howard Schoor, Brookly Borough Representative; Cc: Michael Mulgrew, President; Michael Mendel, Secretary



Dear colleagues :


You have not responded to my email query of November 12 quoted below:



"According to Tom [Bennett], the UFT is talking to DOE about insane ATR commutes. I urge all deliberate speed. I just got my 3rd S.I. order in four weeks [Nobile lives in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn]. Please update. When did the UFT last speak to DOE on this matter and what was the conclusion?"



As you know, ATRs are discontented with their plight, especially considering that we are barred from the committee reviewing the agreement. This is typical of how Unity leadership operates. The top tells the bottom (ATRs) that they are unworthy of chapter representation or access to DA or chapter leader meetings. And topping off our disenfranchisement, you deprive us of basic information like the above.

Please answer my question. Thanks for your consideration.
Philip



MESSAGE #2:
From: Thomas Bennet
To: Philip Nobile

Dear Philip:

I said we are talking to them. By that I mean we had hoped that the DOE would see that a more sensible approach to the Tottenville-Bed-Stuy shuttle would be in everyone’s interest. I haven’t heard much from ATRs in the last few weeks, so I’m wondering if DOE has started keeping people closer to home? 

Your assertion that all ATRs are disconcerted with their plight, and their lack of equanimity arises from their ignorance of “secret” bargaining sessions, access to DA, and separate chapter representation is not borne out by my experience, and I speak with a lot of ATRs. 

Naturally, if I hear anything about a change of policy, I’ll let you know. And please keep me informed about any changes you experience in the field.

I’m still looking for you at Staten Island Tech. Perhaps we can team-teach my Global class one of these weeks.

T.B.


MESSAGE #3:
From: Philip Nobile
To: Thomas Bennett

Tom,

Apparently, we talk to different ATRs. I've never met a contented one.

Mulgrew's lipstick has worn off this pig. The ATR situation is akin to the rubber room fiasco, and the UFT's hands are all over it. How would you like to sub in a different school every week? Silly question.

Anyhow, why won't somebody tell me:
 (1) who from the UFT has talked to DOE about ATRs and when;
       (2) what was on the agenda and what was the DOE's reaction
       to commuter complaints, and the UFT's counter-reaction; and

       (3) why are no ATRs on the the UFT review committee?

These are basic questions. We need to know if you're fighting for us. In the name of transparency the UFT owes ATRs an explanation.

On the other hand, only co-teaching with you could carry me back to S.I. 

Philip
P.S. Howie promised future ATR meetings at the October fest. Do you have a date in mind?




Image credits:


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UFT Chapter Leaders leave Gypsy Teacher feeling lonely

NYCATR's Gypsy Teacher recently spent a week at Brooklyn Tech High School.  She enjoyed her work (yes, ATR teachers work) but she has a disturbing report about the treatment she has received from UFT Chapter Leaders.  



A lonely Gypsy
These past 8 days I have been at Brooklyn Tech High School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. This school is mega big! It covers 9 floors and one long city block. Since I do not take elevators, I called the school to voice my concerns. They assured me they would try to keep me on lower floors and for the most part they did. The students are wonderful and did ALL the work that the teachers left--and every teacher did leave a real assignment. Why is it that in the better schools assignments are left when in other schools you have to hunt for sub lessons? Is it because the teachers in the less than stellar schools know that the students won’t do the assignments anyway? I don’t know the answer. 


I was given my daily assignments by aides. One was a bit rude but I ignored her. I never saw an AP or the Principal. And I never saw the UFT Chapter Leader. Neither did the other ATRs. Isn’t that supposed to be part of the agreement, that the Chapter Leader of each school greets us? I have never been greeted by a chapter leader! Why can the UFT break their promises to the ATR teachers and get away with it? 

There were two other ATRs at the school with me and we spoke about our frustration and feelings of anger. One is actually interviewing attorneys for a class action suit. Anyway, I spent most of my time in the classroom I was assigned. 

One day I went out for lunch. There are many restaurants and delis around the area but since I had to pay for parking almost every day I brought my lunch. Yes, parking is ridiculous. I was lucky a couple of times to find people pulling out of a space but I had to spend $15 a day to park most of the time. This along with gas and tolls turned out to be a very costly assignment. 

It would be nice if ATRs could be issued DOE parking passes to park around the schools they are assigned to. But why would they make things easier? 

In conclusion, great school. Terrible parking.

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