Posts Tagged 'ATRs'

Where we agree, where we disagree

From New Action’s May 2016 Leaflet

Where We Agree

We agree that 200 lawyers at Tweed is about 200 too many. But we need leadership that tells this to Fariña, sits down, and gets something done.

We agree that the current funding formula for schools makes no sense, that principals are forced to discriminate against experienced teachers, that schools, kids, teachers all get hurt. But we need leadership that tells this to Fariña, sits down, and gets something done.

We agree that abusive and incompetent administrators are a problem. But we need leadership that restores and expands the Principals In Need of Improvement Program, resurrects the highly successful Organizing Committee, and targets principals who go after our members, leadership that brings the abusers to Fariña, sits down, and gets them out.

We agree that arbitrary extensions of probation are unfair. But we need a leadership that tells this to Fariña, sits down, and gets something done.

We agree that parents have a right to opt their children out of tests. But we need leadership that actively informs parents of this right.

Where We Disagree

We disagree with a leadership that insists that student test scores be part of our evaluation.

We disagree with a leadership that is in love with the Common Core. We disagree with one-size-fits all in math, and we can’t believe that teachers are being stopped from teaching whole books and are limited to chapters or excerpts.

We disagree with creating separate, unequal “rights” for members in excess.

And we disagree with jobs and promotions being given out based on obedience to a caucus instead of merit.

Vote MORE/New Action

Combat Abusive Administrators – Return to Fair Funding! – Get rid of the Lawyers! – Protect Probationers

Protect ATRs – Fight for Union Democracy – End “Drive By” and “Test Score” Teacher Evaluation

Support Jia Lee, Opt Out Leader, for UFT President

For Appropriate Supervision

New Action introduced the following resolution at the April 18, 2016 UFT Executive Board. It was tabled to allow details to be reviewed and corrected. We expect a revised resolution to be brought forward at the May 9 Executive Board.

For Appropriate Supervision

April 18, 2016

Whereas both the Danielson Framework and Teaching for the 21st Century envision consistent conversations between teachers and supervisors; and

Whereas these conversations are informed by the content of the class and associated standards, by the curriculum being followed, by the students assigned to the class, by the pedagogical orientation of the school, and by the culture of the school; and

Whereas some supervisors have more knowledge of all or some of the content, standards, curriculum, students, school pedagogy and school culture than other supervisors; and

Whereas teachers should go through observation cycles with the leader of the school or the most appropriate supervisor available; and

Whereas there exists a class of supervisors – ATR Field Supervisors – who are disconnected from students, from content, from school-specific pedagogy, from school-specific culture and who thereby are unable to engage in the rich conversations envisioned both in the Danielson Framework and Teaching for the 21st Century; and

Whereas ATR Field Supervisors perform a function that others could more appropriately perform, and could be assigned instead to productive roles;

Therefore be it resolved that the United Federation of Teachers will convey to the Department of Education our concern that some teachers are being observed by other than the most appropriate supervisor, and be it further

Resolved that the United Federation of Teachers will immediately open discussions with the Department of Education to reassign administrators who are currently ATR Field Supervisors to appropriate assignments, and be it further

Resolved that the United Federation of Teachers will feature a series of New York Teacher and website articles on the appropriate role and function of supervisors in our school system.

New Action 2015 – 2016 Priority Issues

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2015 UFT Citywide Chapter Leaders Meeting).
For a printable version click: Leaflet 2015 September

Abusive Administrators – Identify them, retrain them, work to remove them

Teacher Evaluation – mitigate the effects, seek to repeal the State law tying ratings to test scores

Probationers and ATRs – protect vulnerable members from arbitrary and vindictive administrators

School Budgets – Return to Unit Costing

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the March 2015 UFT Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: May 2015 Leaflet

Before Joel Klein, schools budgeted for a certain number of teachers (units).

The DoE under Bloomberg/Klein deducted actual teacher salaries would be deducted from school budgets, encouraging principals to actively discriminate against teachers with more experience.

This system is insane. It does not save the DoE one dime, and it discourages schools who need experienced educators from hiring them.

New Action introduced the unit costing resolution on tonight’s agenda. Please support it.

Resolution in support of Unit Costing for the NYC Department of Education

The following resolution was submitted to the April 27, 2015 UFT Executive Board. Jonathan Halabi (me) motivated, and began by excusing the technical nature of the details.

1. School Closures + 2. Unit Costing + 3. End of Seniority Transfers + 4. Fair Student Funding have led to a crazy system where principals avoid hiring experienced educators (to save money) but end up costing the city more (by hiring brand new hires). This is the combination that floods the ATR pool.

Schools that desperately need experienced educators are coerced into avoiding them. Schools, principals, teachers, and kids are the losers, and only Klein and Bloomberg and the reformers are winners.

And now that school closures seem to be stopping, Andrew Cuomo is going to start it up again, with receivership.

The easiest link in that quartet to attack is Unit Costing – especially since we can negotiate outside the contract, with Fariña who has every reason to agree with us, and it is either cost-saving or cost-neutral.

The reso was tabled to check if it is in conflict with previous resolutions. We expect to revisit it at the next UFT Exec Board, May 4.

Whereas under the Bloomberg and Klein regime, the number of educators seeking to transfer was forced to go up, while it became harder for educators with significant experience to transfer;

And whereas massive school closings led many experienced educators to seek transfers;

And whereas the end of seniority transfers took away the guarantee that most educators would be able to easily find new placement, and introduced “mutual consent” whereby an educator could be easily rejected;

And whereas the end of unit costing put an actual price next to each educator’s name in the school budget;

And whereas Fair Student Funding gave principals budgetary incentive to avoid hiring experienced (and expensive) educators;

And whereas this helped flood the ATR pool and keep it full;

And whereas this led to many administrators avoiding accepting experienced educators;

And whereas this result was caused by all four of the above changes taken in combination – massive school closings, the end of seniority transfers, the end of unit costing, and school based personnel budgeting – and that any three of them would not have been enough to cause this crisis;

And whereas this led to de facto budget cuts for schools that did not lose educators in any given year, due to contractual raises;

And whereas this led to the perverse practice of principals hiring brand new educators, inflating the DoE budget, which is real, in order to reduce the school’s budget, which is not;

And whereas the new de Blasio Administration and chancellor Fariña have not continued the practice of massive school closures, but Andrew Cuomo has forced “receivership” into law, which will force experienced educators to apply for new placements;

And whereas the United Federation of Teachers successfully bargained a clause in the new contract that removes the financial constraint on principals hiring ATRs, but 1) that provision does not apply to other experienced educators, who our schools desperately need, and 2) notwithstanding the clause in the new contract, many principals are reluctant to take ATRs because of a long history of paying a financial penalty for hiring experienced educators;

And whereas Klein’s DoE successfully argued that unit costing was not subject to collective baragaining;

And whereas the new de Blasio Administration and chancellor Fariña have been willing to engage in constructive conversation with the UFT, therefore

Be it resolved that the United Federation of Teachers will vigorously raise the issue of returning to unit costing (ie, charging each school the citywide average for each salary) with Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña for school year 2015-2016, and will negotiate a rapid implementation, without harming current school budgets;

And be it further resolved that these discussions and negotiations are understood to be separate and apart from any contract negotiations.

Some Urgent issues for today – Funding

(from an updated version of the New Action leaflet distributed at the September 2014 Chapter Leaders’ Meeting).
For a printable version click: Fall 2014 Leaflet Front and back

Which costs more: hiring a brand new teacher, or placing a teacher whose salary is already being paid? Clearly, it is cheaper for the City to place the teacher whose salary is already being paid.

Fair Student Funding (FSF), though, perversely “charges” the principal pretend money, and leads most to avoid placing the teacher who is already on payroll!

Fair Student Funding leads to discrimination against experienced teachers, and costs the City more money!

Excessed teachers in the ATR pool will not be part of this calculation – but principals have become used to avoiding them and will continue to discriminate.

This can be easily fixed: School budgets should be charged the Citywide average teacher salary for each teacher, not school average.

Report from UFT Executive Board September 8 2014

This was the first Exec Board of the year.

There was no speaker for the open mike.

After minutes were approved they moved to the Staff Director’s report, as Mulgrew had not arrived. LeRoy Barr mentioned the Labor Day parade and thanked those who turned out, mentioned the ATR meetings that are happening in the borough offices all this week, and spoke about the Citywide Chapter Leader Meeting this Wednesday, at 52 Broadway, at 4:15 PM. Secretary Emil Pietromonico announced vacancies for VP- Educational Issues (Catalina Fortino moving to NYSUT) and Asst Treasurer (Mona Romain). He spoke about two meetings for members who had been rated ineffective – seventy or eighty members came to each.

Question Period:

Kate Martin-Bridge (New Action) asked for the number of current teachers in the Absent Teachers Reserve (Excessed Teachers, often referred to as ATRs). Emil said the person who answers the question was currently meeting with ATRs, and he would get back to us.

Jonathan Halabi (me, New Action) asked, what someone like Robert Jackson, who has been a hero for public education in NYC, had to do to get the UFT’s support (NYSUT endorsed his opponent in the primary). Paul Egan responded that Jackson had challenged an incumbent, and that they had equally stellar legislative records, and that state endorsements are handled by NYSUT.

Michael Shulman (New Action) asked how many probationers were discontinued or had their probations extended last year. They will get back to us.

William Goldman (New Action) asked how many Ineffective and Developing ratings there were. Jackie Bennett was called on, but said the numbers won’t be finalized for a few weeks. Emil Pietromonico reported about 650 – 700 Ineffectives and about 4800 Developings.

Presidents report (Mulgrew arrived during the question period). #1 Issue for us is contract implementation. Surveys went out to chapter leaders. Very smooth opening to the school year. Glad de Blasio is getting kudos on the pre-k. It means our kindergarten teachers will get better-prepared kids next year. Primary election is tomorrow, please vote. A big issue with implementation will be PD. When we used to do PD we didn’t like it because it was not ours. Over 6000 new teachers this year. Extra people retired in June. Speaking about the reaction in Staten Island, he said that the shirts that we’ve seen (supporting NYPD) have been appropriate.

On evaluation, the DoE offered a fourth option:  for teachers rated E: four informal observations and nothing else.

At that point he ended the president’s report, and Emil moved the agenda to vote on approving this fourth option (actually a contract change). Ellen Driessen (DR, District 20, Brooklyn) asked if, while we are it, we could get the Highly Effective 3 + open your classroom reduced to just 3 informals (answer, we asked, this was all they were offering). Passed unanimously.

Reports from Districts – Shelvy Abrams, Anthony Harmon, Vince Gaglione, Michael Freedman, George Altomare

Legislative Repor – Paul Egan

Special Orders of Business

1. Peoples Climate March. Sterling Roberson motivated. Michael Shulman (New Action) asked if literature would be distributed at the Chapter Leaders meeting Wednesday (while acknowledging that there is a conflict with a Chapter Leaders weekend, so attendance might be lower). LeRoy Barr answered positively. The resolution was unanimously adopted.

2. Endorse Zephyr Teachout for governor. Regina Gori (New Action) motivated. LeRoy Barr rose to oppose. Paul Egan rose to oppose. Jonathan Halabi (New Action) rose in support. Sandra March rose to oppose.

We will edit this section to include some of the debate.

The vote was overwhelmingly against endorsing. Yet we do not believe that every Unity Exec Board member voted.

New Action Caucus has ten seats on the UFT Executive Board – the only ten seats that do not belong to Unity Caucus.

Ten is not enough to win anything – but it allows our voice to be heard, it allows us to put forward resolutions, and when there is agreement, to put forward resolutions the leadership signs onto. It allows us to offer amendments. It allows us to bring issues to the leadership.

At Exec after Exec, Unity members sit and listen. Some never speak. Most rarely speak. But New Action usually has questions, comments, resolutions, or amendments.

This year we will publish reports – sometimes on the entire Exec Board, sometimes just on New Action’s contribution.