The Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) pool is full of former chapter leaders and delegates, as well as many veteran tenured teachers. Although the mix had some newer teachers, the survey www.atralliance.org put out shows that the average age is 51. This is no coincidence. These are the people who the NYC Department of Education want to target. People who speak out and remember a union that pushed back. Where is the union now? The UFT leadership looks the other way as more and more ATRs are placed out of license and rated on classes they just meet. They put these experienced educators into this pool and continue to attack and “counsel” them out. ATRs remain strong though.
In the beginning of the year, UFT President Michael Mulgrew stated that we have “less ATRs” other years. Last year we made a Freedom of Information Law request and were told there were about 1,800 ATRs. This year, as of July 20, 2015, there were 2,192 going into this school year. No small number.
In addition, we find that most that were provisionally hired were thrown back to the pool while new teachers, right out of school, were hired permanently.
567 ATRs were released while 313 were permanently hired. We don’t know the age and demographics of the 313, but we can assume that they aren’t making $ 80,000+. This system isn’t about students, but rather about money and tenure.
UFT Solidarity has been pivotal in supporting these ATRs. The ATR Alliance website, ATR Alliance Facebook page and ATR Alliance email list is managed by UFT Solidarity ATRs. We have educated ATRs on who to contact when they need answers and where to go to get answers. We also created a form collecting names of ATRs systematically and negatively rated in violation of the contract. See our form here. OBSERVATION GRIEVANCE
UFT Solidarity doesn’t remember about ATRs only during election season, but all year round. Only by working together and unifying our group can we push back against the attacks.
Our UFT presidential candidate is an ATR himself. No matter what the situation, if there is something wrong Francesco Portelos will fight to make it right. Even as he was rotating in Staten Island, a principal and field supervisor tagged teamed and gave him two unsatisfactory ratings the first 9 days of the 2014-2015 school year. Francesco Portelos did what he does best, he pushed back hard and exposed their plan online.
See the post observation response he sent back to Field Supervisor Edele Williams. The observations were taken out of his personnel file and he was not observed again since. PORTELOS RESPONSE TO EDELE WILLIAMS OBSERVATION.
See his whole rebuttal here in the UNSATISFACTORY TEACHER SERIES
This is the type of leader we need fighting for not only for ATRs, but every UFT member attacked. In addition, UFT Solidarity has many other ATRs running including VP candidates Judeth Napoli and John Silvers.
Many of the 350 ATRs in ATR Alliance are spreading our message and literature. Help do your part and share UFT Solidarity’s message in every school. Print and post the flyer in mailboxes and UFT bulletin boards. www.uftsolidarity.org/volunteer
Let’s get Michael Mulgrew out and take back our union.