I bet you been wondering what was taking me so long to share my two cents about there being no layoffs for the upcoming school year.
I never thought it was going to happen. Uncle Mike had too much to lose. However, I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard about the news Friday night. I was so excited I interupted myself from watching WWE Smackdown.
The first thing I did was contact a very good friend of mine who is a 3rd year teacher. This friend of mine, unlike the other 3rd year teachers we consistently hear whining, actually has a life. First, he is in teaching for the long haul, or at least until he hits Powerball or Mega Millions. Secondly, he has three wonderful sons, a loving wife, and bills to pay. At no time did he turn traitorous. Yes, he was anxious about the fact that he might be laid off. But like a patient visiting the proctologist, he would have taken being laid off like the man that he is. Not like some whiny, little elitist.
But what to make of the agreement? What did we give up? And what have we, as teachers (of course this discounts anyone associated with E4E), and a union learned?
The first thing we gave up is a suspension of sabbaticals for the 2012-2013 school year. When you look at it on the surface one can come to the conclusion that it is no big deal. And in and of itself it isn't. But, we did to remember, one of the things that has always made the air on Uncle Mike's neck stand erect, and also his apprentice Joel Klein, are sabbaticals.
Why am I somewhat cynical about this? I can just see at contract negotiations, or worse with PERB, or if we go to arbitration, that the attitude will be, "Hey you guys have already put sabbaticals on the table, it's no big deal, say goodbye to it." I hope I am wrong, but I think this will happen. However, suspending sabbaticals is a small price to pay, and something I am willing to sacrifice, to prevent 4,100 teachers from being laid off.
No about the plight of the ATR's. The agreement that was made will allow ATR's to be used as day to day subs (substitutes) in schools of their district. This of course will save the city $150 per day on using outside subs. Now, I read somewhere that these ATR's will not be assigned as day to days for longer than a week at a time. What has my curiosity up are several things. One, what if there are more ATR's in a district than openings for day to days? How will ATR's be assigned? How will the powers that be know at the beginning of the week where subs will be needed? What of ATR's that are in assigned to a school already, doing a great job, and now will they have to go into this day to day pool?
But one question has been on the tip of my brain. Now that ATR's will be doing the work of day to days, will this give the DOE the opening it needs to then allow, or condone, new hires, or to encourage principals to look outside the ATR pool to fill vacancies?
There are many questions that need to be answered. Right now all we can see is the rock. We need to lift up the rock and see what actually lies beneath. What I brought up should be addressed and asked of the UFT leadership. Don't get me wrong, I am delighted that we have saved teachers jobs. But, I want to know more. Everyone should want to know more.
And by more, I mean do we have to do this dance again a year from now?