Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Alice in Reformyland

I don't link to the 74, but the reformy Gates-funded make-believe teachers over at Educators 4 Excellence are making a stink over the ATR. It seems they and their reformies care a great deal about students in so-called failing schools, the ones full of poverty, health issues, and homelessness. Since their Dear Leader, Bill Gates, has already decided to ignore those problems, the former untenured teacher who runs E4E has decided to go a different way. the same way StudentsFirstNY went.

They're asking all sorts of questions about the ATR, like which ones were removed for disciplinary charges. You see, in Reformyland, charges are the same as convictions. It doesn't matter if said charges led nowhere, and by the way, all of them did. Otherwise these teachers they want to know about would've been fired rather than retained. This is mentioned nowhere in the 74, which is just one more reason there's no link.

Why are the former teachers who run E4E all in a tizzy over the ATR? I can't read their minds or look into their souls (which have likely as not been sold for Gatesbucks anyway). They're probably all excited for the same reason Klein was--this is a key to breaking union and putting us out on our own. One thing UFT leadership did right was hanging tough on giving ATRs a time limit so they'd face dismissal. That happened in Chicago, if I'm not mistaken, and has been a disaster.

We are all ATRs, whether or not you know it. It's just a matter of being in the wrong place at the right time. I work just a few miles south of Flushing High School, and just a few north of what was Jamaica High School. Am I a better teacher because I happen to work at Lewis? Of course not. In fact, I came to Lewis from John Adams High School in 1993. Back then there was a UFT transfer plan and we could pick a new place. Had I stayed at Adams, I'd have had to reapply for my job and quite likely would've become an ATR. It can happen anywhere. You never know. The only thing you can be sure of is that the teachers will be blamed.

There's a reason why reformies are harping on ATRs, and that reason is they want working conditions for union teachers as tenuous as possible. That way they can build more non-union charters and make more teachers work 200 hours a week with no rights. You don't want to teach the extra class? Screw you. You don't want to take parent phone calls until 10 PM? Screw you. You don't want to take a bus trip to Albany in which you teach a lesson on the bus? Screw you. You have no tenure and you're fired. We can always open up another can of teachers, especially now that we don't have to bother with that pesky school certification.

Getting rid of the ATR means fire at will, folks, and it's likely as not that you and I will be the ones fired. Don't buy into the stereotypical nonsense about ATR teachers. It's not their fault their schools were closed. It's not their fault there are cute little academy schools full of newbie teachers where no one wants to take on a veteran salary. It's not their fault that whatever nonsensical charges, likely as not pressed by Bloomberg and his flunkies, failed to stick.

It's certainly not their fault that publications, up to and including the NY Times, choose to baselessly stereotype them. I'm not sure what's happening over at the Times. They just did a feature on a lovable, pasta-cooking Nazi next door type. I do know this, though. We need to protect the ATR with everything we got, because whither they go, so go us all.

That's exactly what the reformies are counting on.
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