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Monday, October 24, 2011

The ATR Situation And Rights Of UFT Members To Have Justice And Proper Representation By Their Union Reps And Arent Getting It

Teachers who are now "Absent Teacher Reservists" or ATRs are participating in a strange process that gives them only 5 days to get settled into a school culture, perhaps teach what they are professionally licensed to teach (but most often not), and pray for the best. Again we see the dumping of the good with the bad, one of the many serious problems with the "Rubber Rooms".
The UFT is saying that they cannot get a chapter leader for ATRs and must use the CLs of the school in which they are placed (for 5 days)  because....well, I'm not clear on why, except that they - the ATRs - are not in a place long enough to find the chapter leader (CL) at their weekly assignment, unless they are lucky and have an exceptional CL who finds time to welcome them to the school, or bumps into an ATR in the hallway..

No matter who the ATR is, whether experienced and excessed because of a closed school or found guilty of something at 3020-a but not terminated, this process serves to show the deadly lack of oversight and management of education policy during the reign of "Education Mayor" Mike Bloomberg. This, combined with the perception at the UFT that any member accused of any transgression is always onsidered guilty, led to the "hands off" attitude of all the borough Representatives. For this reason no Representative calls back when a member wants help. The Rep. cannot help, or he/she will be accused of interfering with an investigation, aiding in a crime, or some such claim. ATRs, you are on your own.

NYC Educator, one of my favorite blogs, has a fabulous article on the ATR nomads, a must read.
I also recommend Chaz' piece on ATR rights:
Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do You Know Know Your Rights As An ATR?

There seems to be some confusion on what the rights of the ATRs are. Most schools appear to be using the ATRs appropriately as teachers in a classroom or doing circular six duties that other teachers do. However, some schools are making ATRs do the work of school aides or doing clerical work which violates the teacher contract. A few schools are requiring the ATRs to do all day hall duty or Cafeteria duty which would also appear to violate the contract. Most Chapter Leader (CL) have failed to meet with the ATRs despite union assurances that the CLs were told to greet the ATR (In my first three schools I met only one, my first school) and despite union assurances, having CLs represent the weekly ATR does not appear to be working. My District Representative (DR) always seems to be on the run and it is difficult to contact him on a timely basis. That brings up the question what are the ATR's rights when showing up to a school for a weekly assignment? This post is an attempt to answer those questions.

First and foremost, ATRs are teachers and can only do duties assigned to teachers! They should not be doing the job of school aides or clerical work unless the school's appointed teachers are doing such duties, subject to the School Based Option (SBO). That is why the ATR must make immediate contact with the CL to ensure that the Administration does not abuse the ATR.

Second, the ATRs must be given a lunch and a prep period and, if possible, be given a bathroom key.

Third, the school the ATR is assigned to cannot loan the ATR out to other schools without written authorization from Central to the ATR.

Fourth, In mufti-session schools the ATR must be assigned to one session only!

Fifth, an ATR can refuse a "mandated interview" outside their district by simply emailing the reply to the person who sent the email or the Principal of the school. Do not let the words "mandated interview" or "as an ATR you must attend". These are just scare tactics and if it is outside the District you have the right to refuse to go. However, if it is in your District you are required to attend.

Sixth, if a Principal offers you a long-term or vacant position and you do not believe it is a "good fit" for whatever reason, you have the right to refuse the offer and proceed to the next weekly assignment. Remember, you are not required to accept a long term or vacant position in a school that you are uncomfortable in, just say no thank you.

Seventh, if you are asked to cover an additional class, you should make sure that the school pays you for the coverage. Do not let them claim that you are required to give them a "free coverage". Inform the school that you already did a "free coverage" at a previous school and you would only be too happy to cover an additional class as a paid coverage and "get it in writing"!

Eighth, yes, in theory you can be observed for classroom management issues even if you are not teaching in your subject area. However, it is highly unlikely that an Administrator will bother to observe you if you are there only a week. It would be too much trouble to observe the ATR, write up an observation, and meet with the ATR. Certainly the observation will not be a formal one where a pre-conference meeting is required. Furthermore, your file is probably in the last school you had an appointed position in so what does the Administrator do with the observation?

Ninth, you can go back to the school you were excessed from for a weekly assignment. Furthermore, due to DOE incompetence, even teachers who were charged and removed from schools can end up back in those schools for a weekly assignment.

Finally, the school must give the ATR a list of the school rules that students must abide by, be it a dress code, use of cellphones, or discipline codes. Lack of knowledge about school rules can put an ATR in a position that could lead to disciplinary action. Take it upon yourself to contact the CL about the school rules.

Remember ATRs are teachers and can only preform duties that are assigned to the appointed teachers in the school that the ATR is assigned to. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the school's administrators to provide meaningful lessons to the ATRs to give to the students. It is not the responsibility of the weekly ATRs to develop lessons for the class!

More information about the rights of the ATR can be found in the "ATR Agreement". By the way if I have missed any ATR rights please feel free to let me know in the comment section of this post. Knowledge is power and the more we know the more powerful we become.
Posted by Chaz at 8:46 AM

I suggest that readers look at a case that hit the news yesterday concerning the collusion of Local 237 President Greg Floyd with Mike Bloomberg when he was running for his third term. The lawsuit, filed by Jakwan Rivers, alleges that Greg Floyd sold out to Bloomberg and retaliated against Rivers when Rivers tried to get support within the membership of Local 237 for the mayoral campaign of Bill Thompson.

Jakwan Rivers
I posted the article about the lawsuit on my website

Jakwan Rivers: Local 237 President Greg Floyd Sold Members Out To Mayor Bloomberg To Win A Third Term, Then Retaliated Against Me For My Opposition

Jakwan: "It's truly important that we understand the power in unity and the power of knowledge.The current leaders of local 237 has let the members down and it's up to the members to take our union back. We are loosing members thru bogus claims and abuse of authority by management with no opposition by the union leaders whom are sworn to protect our contractual rights. "
Isnt the same thing happening with Mike Mulgrew and the UFT?

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