Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ad Hoc ATR Committee Update

Received from TAGNYC:

Teachers, Counselors:

We are all potential ATRs. TAGNYC maintains that the purpose of the Reassignment Centers is to enable the DOE to terminate teachers or to turn teachers into ATRs. TAGNYC maintains that the goal of the present Administration is to terminate ATRs. Therefore, the Reassignment Centers are the backdoor to the street.

What follows is a summary of the ATR meeting held on Friday, January 9, 2009. Attached is the survey to be downloaded and placed into every school possible. The Fight is ours.


Dear Colleagues and Friends:

I wanted to report on the January 9 meeting of the ATR support committee. It was well attended with a number of new people. There was a discussion on our successful November 24th rally, impending school closings, and where do we go from here.

Most importantly, we now have an ATR School Wide Survey. Please download it and get it around.

We want to circulate the survey to every school so we can see if the UFT-DOE "Side Agreement" on placing ATRs is working. This agreement only creates some incentives for placing ATRs, but at the principals' sole discretion. Meanwhile school closings are continually creating more ATRs. Nevertheless, we are determined to see that as many teachers as possible are placed under this inadequate agreement.

For this, we need to know if any ATRs are getting positions. We also need to know if there are open positions in the schools that ATRs could fill, and if there are oversized classes which could be reduced in size and thus open up positions for ATRs. Classes are more overcrowded than ever yet there are hundreds of qualified teachers available to teach them.

The UFT chapter at Jamaica HS has written a dynamite letter to the state documenting that there are 14 ATRs who could be placed in the classes they are presently teaching and another 14 positions could be opened by reducing class sizes to what is mandated by the state Contracts for Excellence. We need this kind of information for your school.

So please download the survey and work together with your colleagues to fill it out. Let us know what's going on in your school. We built our movement to support ATRs when hundreds of teachers signed petitions for the November 24 rally and made it an urgent issue. We have to get back to them to follow up. We're also concerned that with eight schools now slated to be closed in the near future, that means more ATRs being sent out into nowhere's land. We need to fight together with parents and students to keep the schools open.

It was decided to have a delegation bring specific problems to the UFT leadership concerning ATRs. We have several reports of schools where ATRs have been teaching classes since the beginning of the school year, yet their principals claim to know nothing about the side agreement. Also, teachers have noted the huge potential for age discrimination in the video resumes that the UFT is working on. And what ever happened to the UFT's age discrimination suit? There are questions about lack of information at the district level.

We need a district-wide listing of available positions that ATRed colleagues can consult. The DOE has this information, but it is not pulled together and available to teachers.

There is a ruling on the situation of the RTR teaching fellows, who were to be fired if they didn't find a permanent position by December 5. The UFT got a court injunction until the arbitrator ruled, which he did last week. While he held that the DOE could not terminate the fellows on December 5, he only gave them until the end of the term, which is February 2. A number of RTRs have gotten positions as a result of their strong protests and organizing and the union grievance/court suit, but there are still several score facing the axe. We need to help them get positions.

So ... please print out, circulate the surveys, and keep building networks of teachers in the schools.

Marjorie Stamberg
Ad Hoc Committee to Support ATRs

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