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Monday, February 20, 2012

Why does the UFT ignore the ATR?

Why doesn't the UFT pay much attention to the hundreds of teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve? Why did the UFT promise to meet with them and fail to do so? Why did the UFT promise to print an article about the ATR but printed little more than a footnote?  Why has the UFT failed to do anything about the ATR teachers' lack of representation in the UFT Delegate Assembly?

Philip Nobile has an answer that most ATRs will find to be a good fit.

Why won’t the UFT meet with ATRs? It’s a no-brainer. Rubber- room teachers under suspicion had de-facto chapters with elected liaisons who had monthly rendezvous with top dogs like Michael Mendel and LeRoy Barr at 52 Broadway. They got respect. But not us, all in good standing. We are the union’s homeless, abandoned on the battlefield, disenfranchised by Mulgrew et al. 

A homeless family

Back in September, we had to twist arms to arrange borough meetings. Amy Arundel and Barr made the rounds in October, preening solidarity while denying our right to a chapter. Brooklyn Borough Rep Howie Schoor, not a bad fellow out of the foxhole, pledged a repeat meeting and guaranteed timely responses to our inquiries. 

Would that it were so. There has never been a second meeting and nobody at the UFT will say why. I reached out to the leadership four times this month without luck. On February 1, curious about the emergence of field supervisors, I wrote: 
The DOE's cockamamie plan to observe ATRs cannot be ignored. The UFT saw this coming, but as far as known, since ATRs are not in the loop, you guys have done nothing to protect us. The least you can do now is agree to ATR meeting in the boroughs--just like last October. Howie promised more meetings then. Can you give us a date?
On February 2, Amy Arundel, Our Lady of ATRs, responded in a terse email: “no teacher has been u-rated.” 

My same day reply: 
Good to hear from you. Yes, we know nobody has been U-rated...yet. But why wait and face a fait accompli? If I may say so, it's your job to get ahead of, not behind, the curve. 
The question on the table now is: What is the UFT doing about this development, if anything? You know that the DOE is up to no good with field supervisors. But you are keeping us ATRs out of the loop.  
The obvious next step is another ATR meeting in the boroughs during which you can consult us, your constituents, about our rising concerns. So tell us--will you arrange a meeting asap? 
Arundel went silent. 

On February 3, I emailed my Brooklyn District rep Tom Bennett, et al., about his nonchalant, party-line comments re field supes, and  I recast the idea for a meeting: 
The DOE did not consult the UFT on this arrangement. But that is no excuse for the union’s passivity. For example, Amy’s Antoinette-ish throwaway: “No one has been u rated.” 
Marie Antoinette offers a plate of cake.
You owe us solidarity. You can start with borough meetings, and fast. To the leadership: will you or won’t you call a second ATR meeting as Howie Schoor promised at the first one in Brooklyn? We deserve an answer. 

The leadership must disagree.  As for the courtesy of a reply, forget it.  Ever willing to extend a golden bridge of retreat, I gave Schoor another shot on February 8th:

Now your'e breaking two promises--not only your pledge to have another ATR meeting, but also to quickly answer ATR queries. 
I don't get it.  Why won't you say yes or no to a meeting?

What’s not to get? Mulgrew et al. regard ATRs as an inconvenient marker of their impotence. They surrendered on grievances, seniority transfers, linking evaluations to test scores, and first year incompetence appeals except for 13 percent. ATRs could be next. It’s easier to sell us out when they don’t look us in the face.

Photo credits:


  1. Maybe its time for a representation age discrination

  2. Why you ask? It's because America's social consciousness is basically on life support. As a 15 year veteran of the system, it angers me about what is happening to ATRs like yourself. But the truth is that I am in the minority. The Unity Caucus could care less about ATRs - the proof is in their real actions they have taken to address the issue. How utterly sad and devastating a union does not stand by their brothers and sisters. This goes to the rank and file that are not ATRs themselves. How embarrassed I am to be a part of a union that I would bet at least 25 percent don't even know what an ATR is or how they unfairly got into that position. I will as always attempt to do my best to educate family, friends and colleagues about the truth. I promise you that. Best of luck to you. May we meet in better times.

  3. Sadly, like the previous post said, most rank and file teachers have no clue and really do not care what an ATR is. Those are the ones who would sell us down the river. As an ATR this year, I've told numerous teachers the nuts and bolts of how I became an ATR, why I became an ATR and how it really could happen to anyone and most don't give you the time of day. The older ones really do not care and the neophytes are sheep to administration that they do not care.

    I know that our union darn well knows that we are not going anywhere. To keep what is left of the union, they cannot sell us down a river, but most rank and file teachers view us as blocking a new contract.

    Sad, but true. Why would anyone go into teaching today?

  4. I disagree about the teachers not understanding or caring. Most of the teachers I have met in my travels are unhappy both newbies and veterans. Some wish they were ATRs not under the thumb of a psycho principal while others, especially in struggling schools know they are a close to becoming ATRs themselves. And I don't trust Mulgrew not to make another deal behind our back. I don't trust the UFT at all.

  5. if the uft sells us down a river, get an attorney. sue the union. do you think mulgew wants that? the job of a union is to protect jobs. if they get rid of atrs, that is violating what a union is supposed to do. why pay dues then? plus, there have not been mention of layoffs and if there were layoffs, then the rookies go first and then us. seniority for atrs means something in the system. we cannot be let go.

    although some veterans understand the atr situation, depending on the school, i have seen varying understanding. a lot of times, it depends if the school is newer or if the principal is a bloomberg disciple.

    1. the union is a joke. They are pretending to show the ATRs support. They offered a pd last week for ATRs. Some if the topics were of interest but irrelevant to ATRs. They even invited the field supervisors. It all appears to be a cohesive unit but the support is just for show. Where is the uft when they really start to come after us with these so called observations. I am certain there will be no support then

  6. How long is this weekly deployment agreement good for? I am afraid next year they will have us change schools daily..or maybe even by period then give us a U when we are late to class!

    1. It would appear that giving a U to the ATR is the next big push to assure that Bloomberg gets rid of us. My field supervisor gave me a unsatisfactory rating on an observation and he has called me to a disciliplinary conference about my attendance. We are being bullied and where is Mulgrew now?

    2. Is this true? Really? Observations and disciplinary meetings? What can really be done?

  7. Show us one law suit against the UFT that was successful. They will argue that 91% voted for Mulgrew. You have your chance they will say to vote them out every 3 years. Go and explain how they have rigged the system so they can't lose.

    Forget about law suits. Organize people to stand up against Unity. A powerful opposition movement is the best way to prevent a total sellout --- look what happened in Chicago. Watch for the State of the Union.

  8. Lawsuit or no lawsuit, the historic sell-out of teachers last week shows that the UFT's leadership only thinks about looking good in front of cameras and hardly has the teachers in mind.
    As EdNotes says ATRs should organize together for their interests, because the union does not want to listen to the ATRs' concerns and represent them. Last week's sell-out shows that anyone that cares about ATRs or the future ATRs must join the efforts to transform the union with a new caucus.

  9. Simple...DON'T VOTE FOR OBAMA...abstain...and BE VOCAL ABOUT IT...If every teacher in the country sits this Pres. election out...OBAMA WILL LOSE...! Obama is the main impetus behind all of this, can't you see that? He's relying on your hatred for the GOP, and not sweating your vote. What he has just done to us is THE worst case scenario. The Repubs couldn't have done us any worse than this...this is teacher Armageddon.