Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Know We Said We Fixed It Last Time, and the Time Before That. But This Time We Really Mean It. Trust Us. Okay?

Leo Casey, resident propagandist at Edwize has yet another post about what a great job he and Ms. Weingarten are doing for the ATRs. It's odd he needed to do that, since he wrote last April that the "hold harmless" clause would mean principals could hire senior teachers at no additional cost. Doubtless it didn't occur to Mr. Casey at that time that principals could hire two newbies instead, and might prefer to do so.

In fact, it's odd that Mr. Casey needed a "hold harmless" clause at all, since he and Ms. Weingarten enthusiastically endorsed the 05 contract which was directly responsible for the ATR mess. Here's Edwize writer City Sue on the beauty and wonder of the clause that caused the entire mess:

In fact, there’ll be more transfer opportunities. The only thing is, like in the real world, you’ll have to sell yourself. See a vacancy? Just apply! All vacancies will be declared, not just half. No limits on how many jobs you can apply for. No release needed from your principal. No limits on how many teachers can transfer out of a single school. No discrimination in hiring allowed, not even for union activities — or age, race, etc. No involuntary transfers. It’s a free market, for those who dare! And for excessed teachers, there’s always a job for you back home (in your school or district) if you can’t find anything else.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way for the hundreds of teachers consigned to perpetual substitute teaching. I corresponded for some time with a young woman so demoralized by her time in the absent teacher reserve that she quit. I'm afraid Mr. Casey's agreement is a little too late for her.

So will the agreement help? Perhaps. Unfortunately, everything I've seen suggests that in the chess game between Klein and the UFT aristocracy, Mr. Klein has a long term vision that Ms. Weingarten and her patronage mill sorely lack. Ms. Weingarten's flunkies were wrong when they said the "open market" system would help. They've posted several articles on how successful it is, noting the number of transfers and pointedly ignoring those teachers stuck in the ATR brigade. They said the "hold harmless" clause would help, and it didn't.

Perhaps principals will now hire ATRs, and if they do, it will be a good thing. But what about those who will inevitably be left behind? Will they provide more fodder for The New Teacher Project, Joel Klein's bought and paid for propaganda project?

Sadly, it's hard to trust Mr. Klein, and worse, it's just as hard to trust the paid mouthpieces of Ms. Weingarten. Que sera sera. But along with the rest of my colleagues who actually do this job, I'll be watching.
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