Friday, January 16, 2009


Defend ATR Seniority Rights To Jobs!

ATR/School Closing (ASC) committee of the Independent Community of
Educators (ICE*) consists of UFT members seeking justice and fairness
in regards to the ATR and school closing issues, which are negatively
affecting teachers, children and communities. Teachers, students and
communities should not be victimized when it is government that has
failed our schools. Our union must not sit on the sidelines in a
defensive posture. Or issue tepid responses of support for teachers.
Or surrender to a “fait accompli” attitude.

UFT must take the offensive in an aggressive manner by using all its
resources to reverse the decline of protections for teachers and
children that have been taking place in the era of Joel Klein and
Michael Bloomberg.

is to be done?

ATRs and RTRs,
the class of new teaching fellows threatened with losing their jobs
this past December if they didn’t find jobs, learned in recent
months that relying on UFT officials to carry the ball is not enough.
Through the Ad Hoc ATR committee, ATRs organized throughout the
school system with a petition campaign that reached into over 100
schools, presenting these signatures as part of a resolution calling
for a rally at Tweed. On the eve of the rally, the UFT responded with
a side agreement with the DOE that ostensibly provides some
protection for ATRs from being penalized for their higher salaries.
At the same time, the UFT went to court to stop the firing of RTRs
and won an injunction stopping the DOE. It should be pointed out that
in 2007, when there was no agitation, the UFT did nothing and
Teaching Fellows were fired in December. Thus, an important lesson
has been learned: Do not rely on the UFT officials to do the right
thing on their own. But they will respond when there’s
agitation from the members.

will have to monitor this agreement over the next year to gauge its
impact. In the meantime, with more new school closings announced, a
new class of ATRs will be thrown on the market to compete for jobs.
When you entered teaching did you ever think you would be in the
position of having to race around the city begging for a job,
especially if you have been teaching for years?

response has been: we’ll teach you how to interview, how to
write a resume, how to put on makeup to make yourself more appealing.
We reject these “solutions.” The UFT is not exactly "on
the sidelines."  Weingarten sits on the board of New
Visions and a UFT rep sits on the so-called core committee that signs
off on school reorganizations. The UFT uses the same language of the
DOE "reformers," referring to schools as "failing,"
while applauding yearly rises in test scores as a triumph.

It is clear
there will be no permanent resolution unless we reverse some of the
disastrous consequences of the 2005 and 2006 contracts, which
eviscerated so many seniority rights. The UFT/DOE touted open-market
hiring system has been a disaster for many teachers. But it goes
further than that. The closing of schools and its consequent movement
of teachers, the chaos of what is euphemistically called “parent
choice,” the creation of a dual school system of semi-private
charter schools, often existing within the same building, is
destroying the concept of a school community where teachers often
spend their careers getting to know generations of students and
parents. We think these communities are beneficial and their
destruction is a major loss for the children and parents as much as
for the teachers.

demands that the UFT:

  • Oppose
    school closings
    . These created the ATR quagmire and scapegoat
    educators unjustly. It is the City that has failed these “poorly
    functioning” schools; not the teachers, parents or students.
    We need contractually mandated smaller class sizes.

  • Restore
    our contractual right to Seniority Transfer.

  • Protect
    Tenure, Evaluation and Due Process procedures.
    Educators must
    not be subjected to severance or firings due to students’ test
    score results which are used to close schools and to create the
    ATR’d educator.

  • Promote
    a Hiring Freeze until all ATRs/RTRs get job placements.

  • Return to school budgets based on average
    teacher salary applied to each school to prevent age/vet

will be no change unless you get involved and help build pressure for
change in the UFT. Help
organize. Join us.

Feb. 4 - 5 PM @ The Skylight Diner on W 34th St, (9th Ave

Closing Committee of ICE-UFT (ASC-ICE-UFT)

P.O. Box 1143
Jamaica, NY 11421 Tel. 718.601.4901

Email: Blog:

* The
Independent Community of Educators (ICE) came together in the fall of
2003 to address the inadequate response of the UFT leadership to the
deteriorating working conditions for teachers and learning conditions
for their students. We believe in democratic unionism based on an
active and involved rank and file. ICE is committed to help form a
movement for progressive change within the UFT and in the NYC school
system by forging alliances with other rank and file movements in
other unions and with parent and community groups that share our

ICE Meeting: Fri, Jan. 16, ‘09 - 4:15PM @ Murray Bergtraum HS
(Pearl St. behind Police Plaza)

No comments: