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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Excess'd-Teacher Without A Room: Evaluating ATRs

Evaluate this!


If you are following the ATR blogs and such you know about the recent suggestion that the evaluation of the ATR's be based on the field observer's assessment of how well you manage a classroom.  How, really, HOW can anyone who has any teaching experience think that an appropriate measure of an ATR value as a teacher, their profession,  is to be in the arena of substitute classroom management.  The reasons one can come up with against this ridiculous suggestion are too numerous to mention.  However, it would have taken some creativity and coordination to actually come up with a true overall evaluation system; one that includes how well the entire ATR system has been implemented; what good has it done any school, excessed teacher or over crowded classroom.  Until we do that I don't see why we don't just use the evaluation system I just put together.


Said member of ATR still desires to work as a teacher in the NYC system despite being disrespected, devalued and demeaned...............................................................................10 Points

Said member of ATR arrives every school day prepared to step into a classroom that they know
nothing about and do the best they can..........................................................10 Points

Said member of the ATR has adapted their gastro-intestinal clock to a daily schedule that may have lunch at 10:30am or 11:15 am or 12:00 pm............................................................... 10 points

Said member of ATR has managed to survive the assault on their career and continue to believe that they have made the right career choice when they decided to teach........ ..............10 points

Said member of the ATR has cultivated a Zen like stillness that comes in handy as one sits on a pointless chair in a pointless room staring, always staring...............................................20 points

Said member of the ATR has developed the dexterity, reflexes and increased peripheral vision to combat the daily assault of UFO's during lunchroom duty...........................................10 points

Said member of the ATR has remained real and vocal despite the growing efforts to make them ghostly apparitions that  have no substance................................................................10 points

Said member of the ATR  has decided not to tutor, teach at a charter, work as a tour guide, nor start a career as a stand-up comedian instead of being a member of the ATR............10 points

Said member of the ATR insists that the UFT stand up for their rights and that representation not be denied the dues paying members...............................................................................10 points

The ATR is a good thing in that we are not in Washington DC.  The ATR is also a public relations nightmare and the sooner the DOE and the UFT come to realize that they can benefit the schools and children of NYC by utilizing the teaching resources we already have and that are being paid for the better off everyone will be. This "evaluation" is a poor effort to justify an unjust system by making believe that it has a solid educational framework as its base when it is nothing but a scythe to cut down tenured teachers. We are, after all, educators are we not?

Hot Rumor From Chaz11: NYC DOE Tries To Get Rid of the Chapter 683 Program...To Save Money

Friday, March 15, 2013


Is The DOE Trying To Shortchange Special Education Students By Witholding Chapter 683 Money For The Summer?

It has come to my attention that many of the District 75 schools have informed their teachers that the DOE has not authorized the school's Administration to implement the Chapter 683 program.  The Chapter 683 program (Article Twelve, page 78 of the latest UFT/DOE contract) was originally implemented because the "best teachers" who worked with these needy children refused to work the summer (July and August) on per session pay.  Instead the Chapter 683 program was implemented to retain these teachers by increasing the teacher's salary by 17.5%, or double pay for the summer months.  Furthermore, the Chapter 683 program allowed the teacher to have more money taken out for their TDA which gives a guaranteed 8.25% annually.  While the guaranteed interest rate was reduced to 7% in December of 2009, it still is 5-6% more than you can get at a bank CD or money market fund.  Finally, it increased their annual pension by hundreds of dollars

The Chapter 683 program was a success as the"best teachers" who worked with their "high needs" students stayed with them during the summer.  This was a win-win for all parties.  The students kept their teacher who knew how to handle the child's unique problems throughout the summer and for a full, not part of a school day.  The teachers received "double pay" and could help fund their retirement. The school Administrator did not have to micromanage and worry about teachers who were unfamiliar with the students as they operated on a "trial and error" basis.  Oops, I forgot, there was one loser,Tweed, who had to hand out a couple of million dollars extra to fund the Chapter 683 program.

Over the years, under the Bloomberg Administration, the DOE tried to find ways to cut special education costs and while Chapter 683 money was relatively safe, there was one aborted attempt to change how Chapter 683 money could be spent.  Chancellor Joel Klein authorized Garth Harries to find cost savings and thankfully the opposition from parents, teachers, and school-based administrators were so fierce that he abandoned the idea and fled to Bridgeport Connecticut to become Chancellor.  Now it seems there is a rumor that Chapter 683 money may be in jeopardy and adding to the rumor is that the principals of District 75 have not been authorized to hire for the summer under Chapter 683.  Is this simply DOE incompetence or something more sinister?  Could the DOE be considering the elimination of the Chapter 683 program?  I certainly hope not.

If by some chance the DOE is considering the limiting or elimination of the Chapter 683 program, it would be their dumbest idea in quite a while.  These children are the most needy students in the NYC school system and taking away the Chapter 683 program is putting these helpless children at increased risk.  Let's hope I am wrong and the DOE's reluctance to post Chapter 683 positions for the 2013 summer school is simply a lack of competence on their part.and not part of their"children last" policy.

Results of SHSAT For Top High Schools Shows Racism

The problem with the Specialized Science HS test presents itself BEFORE the test is taken. Not only are minority students not adequately prepared, but guidance counselors do not always tell or allow students of color to take the test.

  When I was PTA President of Booker T. Washington MS 54 I did a small amount of research, by sending teams out to District 3 and District 5 middle schools and asking parents if their children were taking the SHSAT. Most said no, because the guidance counselors told their children "the test is not for you".

  Betsy Combier


Fewer black and Hispanic students admitted to top high schools

Screen shot 2013-03-15 at 3.45.38 PM
Students who took the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test and were offered seats in a specialized high school this school year, by race
During a year when the racial composition of the student bodies at the city’s most selective high schools came under harsh new scrutiny, the number of black and Hispanic students admitted to the schools fell sharply.
Of the 5,229 students accepted to the city’s eight specialized high schools this year, 618 were black or Hispanic, according to data the Department of Education released today, the day that eighth-graders learned their high school placement. Last year, the schools accepted 733 black and Hispanic students, more than in the recent past.
The sharpest declines came at the city’s most selective schools. Out of 963 students accepted to ultra-elite Stuyvesant High School, just nine are black and 24 are Hispanic. Last year, the school accepted 51 black and Hispanic students. At Brooklyn Technical High School, the largest of the specialized schools, the number of black and Hispanic students accepted fell by 22 percent.

The declines outpaced another sharp drop-off, in the number of black and Hispanic students who even took the admissions test that is the single determinant of whether students can attend the specialized schools. The number of white and Asian students who sat for the exam increased slightly, but 550 fewer black students and 384 fewer Hispanic students took the test.
Overall, black and Hispanic students received 12 percent of specialized high school offers, down from 14 percent last year but up slightly from 11 percent in 2011. They made up 45 percent of test-takers and make up about 71 percent of students citywide.
“It’s disappointing that the amount of students in Stuyvesant are not reflective of New York City public schools,” said Karim Camara, chairman of the state Assembly’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus. “Obviously, there needs to be serious efforts to increase enrollment of black and Latino students in these schools.”
Camara has proposed legislation that would require specialized schools to base admissions on multiple measurements, the central demand of a civil rights complaint filed last year by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The complaint, which the federal Office of Civil Rights is considering, says admission to the schools would be more fair if students’ grades, teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, and life experiences were considered.
“This year’s admission numbers represent the continuation of a trend of unfairness and acute racial disparities in admissions to New York’s eight specialized high schools that has been going on for years,” Damon Hewitt, LDF’s legal director, said today. “We will not see a reversal of this trend until the schools’ admissions policy changes once and for all.”
City officials have consistently defended the admissions process — which would require legislative approval to change — and did so again today.
“We take efforts to ensure our system of great schools is diverse, but ultimately for the specialized high schools, we believe the SHSAT is the fairest measure for admission,” said Devon Puglia, a department spokesman.