The Crack Team got a phone call from an intrepid Mainstream Media reporter today inquiring if we knew of any ATR's that would like to comment on the mass email El Presidenté Mike Mulgrew blasted out to them Monday evening. We told our intrepid reporter that we do not, yet shared with him that our curiosity is now piqued and if he can share more with us. Being a New York newspaper reporter he did not have all the facts and sent us on our own to learn more.
A siren call was soon sent throughout the land of the ATR's for this magic memo. The Crack Team must have it's hands upon it. We needed to decipher it, to decode it, to touch it.
The call was soon filled by one of our earliest groupies who was more than eager to pull uncover the encasement of the UFT contract as it pertains to ATR's. To unmask and deflower Mulgrew and his web of prevarication, or as Mulgrew calls it, "myths."
Let it be known that The Crack Team as thoroughly run this muckety muck through the SBSB computers and have actually formulated reality from the fantasy to be published forthwith.
When the previous administration let it be known that it intended to summarily fire all members in the Absent Teacher Reserve, we as a union made a commitment to stand by our members. We held true to that commitment throughout our negotiations, and the results are in this new contract.
You stood up to Bloomberg, yet folded like a cheap off the rack suit that had been marked down 5 times at Moe Ginsburg's with this administration. What gives? Yes, you stood up for the ATR's throughout the negotiations but you weren't there when it mattered most, at the end of the negotiations.
The contract preserves your rights and improves your chances of permanent placement. And, of course, you will participate in the contractual raises and working-condition changes that we won for all members. The press coverage, however, has included some myths about how ATRs are treated under the new contract and misconceptions abound. We want to be sure you have the facts and know your rights.
So the new ATR deal in the contract improves ATR chances like if they buy two raffle tickets instead of 1? Yes, of course they will participate in contractual raises, that is if they still are employed in a year, or not dead by 2020.
But why complain about the press when the UFT could have headed the press off at the pass (I hate that cliché!) if Mike Mulgrew was forthright immediately, so please, blaming the press is quite specious.
Myth #1 (the biggest one!):
The city is going to fire the ATRs.
No UFT member, whether an ATR or otherwise, will ever be automatically fired. Any ATR may accept, at his or her sole discretion, a voluntary severance package based on years of service.
Actually The Crack Team has yet to hear that myth. Maybe Él Presidenté Mulgrew is projecting?
But that severance package seems neat! How much will each ATR receive? Will it be worth it for a teacher who is 3 years from retirement to take such a package?
Schools still won't hire ATRs because they are too expensive.
Under the new contract, schools that select ATRs for permanent placement will not have that ATR's salary included in the school's average teacher salary calculation, which means that principals no longer have a reason to pass over more senior educators in favor of newer hires with lower salaries.
Reality: Principals will not take a 20 year vet for the simple fact it is better to have a pliable ignorant 1st year teacher rather than a veteran, even if that veteran will accept zero salary.
The contract includes a new way to get rid of ATRs.
Not true. ATRs actually get improved access to job placements. Between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, 2014, the DOE must send ATRs on interviews for vacancies in their districts and boroughs, and ATRs must attend all of those interviews. After Oct. 15, ATRs are required to accept provisional assignments to schools with a vacancy in their license area within their district or borough. If there is no school with a vacancy in their district or borough, they will continue to be rotated within their district.
OK, the ATR goes on all interviews, then what? What if the ATR does not get a position, is that strike 1? What is to keep principals and administrators from conspiring to hire ATR's solely to set up ATR's up to fail to be rid of many of them or just one in particular? It's happened before, it'll happen again.
See the primer here on how not to get hired.
ATRs are going to lose their due process rights.
No ATR can be disciplined or fired unless a hearing officer decides that is appropriate in a 3020-a hearing. An ATR who has been placed in a vacancy and is removed by two successive principals for documented misconduct — not pedagogy — may be subject to discipline. The DOE must prove the charge of misconduct through an expedited 3020-a process.
No, ATR's do not lose their due process rights, they just have less due process rights than others. Kind of like Animal Farm, some teachers are more equal than others.
But again, what is misconduct? Is the definition the same as in hockey, or like when I was brought up on misconduct charges for carrying a cup of coffee in my hand? Anyway, this seems too open to interpretation and abuse.
The new contract agreement between the UFT and the DOE, which will go out for your ratification soon, is a strong contract for all our members, including all our ATRs.
Oh dear God, the entire Crack Team is on the floor laughing so hard they are wetting themselves, the Coca Cola they had been drinking is coming out through their nostrils and they are all choking on Doritos.
This is a horrible, horrible deal for the ATR's. I, and many of the people I know, will not sit idly by and watch as these people are the sacrificial lambs led to slaughter by the UFT. We are only as strong as our weakest link and we must be there for them when they need support the most.
This contract must not ever be ratified.