Saturday, September 02, 2006

When They Came for Me, There Was No One Left to Speak Out

Over the last few weeks I've been seeing comments from teachers about how the contract is a dead issue, and that we should just shut up about it.

Certainly the Chancellor and Unity would be pleased.

Sadly, not everyone has that option.

Here's a comment I just received:

I am an excessed teacher with 25 years in the system. I know, I can't believe it either! My school was reorganized this year, leaving almost 50 teachers - all experienced and tenured - in the ATR pool, which is not a place you want to be. This has been an education, a crash course, about what this contract means to all of us.

When a school is reorganized it is also renamed. (If it had the same name all of the senior teachers would have retention rights). Now you have a brand new school, or two new schools, or however many schools it was divided into. The principal now has to hire only 50% of the staff of the "old" school. Teachers must apply and be interviewed for these positions, seniority counts for nothing. Then the principal is free to hire anyone they want to fill the remaining positions - they can hire the rest of the current teaching staff if they want to, but this is not likely to happen. They generally hire brand new teachers. If you are not hired you become a well-paid sub.

I don't know of anyone who was hired from the open market system. The DOE also sponsored "hiring fairs" for us, where I met a lot of teachers from reorganized schools. Oh, BTW, they had fairs for new teachers at the same time; new teacher's fairs would begin at 3 PM, ours at 4PM, and then they would not admit us for another hour or so. Do you think they really want us to be hired?

The union has mailed us letters, telling us about their great job. They say that the city wanted to terminate us if we didn't obtain a permanent position within 18 months, but they saved us - we can now stay in the ATR pool forever, if necessary. I can't help but notice that the Kleinberg machine seem MUCH smarter than the UFT!!!
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