Thursday, May 07, 2009

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS IN JOEL KLEIN'S HIRING FREEZE

On the surface, Chancellor Joel Klein's email to principals calling for a hiring freeze on new teachers from outside the system looks like a fairly sane and logical response to our current budget plight. In most schools, Principals will not be allowed to hire teachers from outside the system until the current Absent Teacher Reserves (regular teachers who are substitutes instead of teaching their own program) find positions. However, when we dig beneath the surface, we find there is much to be unhappy with including threats of layoffs of non-teaching UFT members and no hiring freeze for assistant principals.

The Chancellor's email contains the following statement that most of us would concur with: "Most significantly, effective immediately, you may only hire existing DOE staff, as opposed to people from outside the system." Great! This could not have happened soon enough. Let's see if it gets implemented. Go on the open market now and see if you can transfer. ATR's might actually find positions for real now.

The Chancellor goes on to say that teacher layoffs are not in the cards. "Teachers: There will be no forced placements or layoffs of teachers. You may only hire existing DOE teachers, as opposed to people from outside the system." It should be noted that new schools are partially exempt from this outside hiring freeze and may hire half of their staff from outside the system and shortage area licenses might also be exempt.

Unfortunately, when we delve further into the Chancellor's statement, it contains other details that are quite scary. He states: "Guidance Counselors, Social Workers: At this time, there will be no forced placements or layoffs of these employees. They will be treated the same as teachers, so you can only hire individuals who are already working in the same titles in our system." "At this time" is lawyer talk meaning right now layoffs won't happen but look out in the near future. By putting out the possibility of future layoffs and bumping, it once again proves that the UFT sold us a false promise when they pushed the 2005 Contracts by saying that they contained no layoff agreements. There aren't any no layoff agreements in our current Contracts. The email gets worse with other titles.

Klein further writes, "School Secretaries, Paraprofessionals, School Aides, Family Workers: We will work to place excesses in vacancies and evaluate the situation to determine if layoffs are necessary." Our secretaries and paras along with school aides have been threatened with layoffs by the Chancellor. As paras learned in 2003, when the ironclad no layoff clause in their Contract expired, layoffs can really occur.

The layoff threat for our people is followed with a job security guarantee and open hiring for assistant principals. The hiring freeze does not extend to assistant principals. In fact, administrators are so important that they can no longer be placed in excess! I'm not kidding; no new Absent Assistant Principal Reserves.

Here are Chancellor Klein's actual words: "Assistant Principals: You may not excess APs. To avoid any increases in the excess pool overall, given the limited number of assistant principal vacancies that we can expect, assistant principals should not be excessed. Vacant positions may be eliminated, and you can fill vacancies under existing procedures with any qualified candidate."

It's what I've maintained for many of the years that I have been in the system: The Board of Ed, Department of Ed or whatever they want to call it is a system run by administrators for administrators. Children first? You must be joking.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

James,Great Posting! I agree with you -- I am sure that the "HIRING FREEZE" won't be implemented because the principals think that they are attached to the buildings and can give jobs just to their friends.

Anonymous said...

Patronage lives on.

Anonymous said...

Administrators = nepotism.

Anonymous said...

Where was the last little part about administrators in the NY Times article? I guess their intrepid reporter didn't read that far into the email.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know if ATRS can apply to vacancies in other schools in their districts.

Anonymous said...

Of course they can. They can apply to any school in the city.

Anonymous said...

just curious...in closely following your blog..was it not your position that there should be a hiring freeze? If so, what kind of negotiations have you ever been involved with? Negotiations are part of a process..perhaps your 'ATTACHMENT" and protection of your last principal who nearly ruined your school...should be looked at closely. Pocket of the principal????

Anonymous said...

We said the hiring freeze was OK as long as it is real and applied until every ATR who wants a job and has a particular license is placed. I think we called it sensible.

As to protecting the last principal at Jamaica, you must be joking. If you would care to look at some of our chapter newsletters from that era, the Contract mattered then as it matters now. Ask him if we were in his pocket.

James Eterno

Anonymous said...

Here's another devil in the details: F-status teachers are considered new hires for the purposes of next year, and schools must hire only full-time teachers. If an a school has, say, an F-status position for a concert band teacher because a full-time position isn't supported by the budget, and the budget isn't there for a full-time position by September, then both the concert band position and THE CONCERT BAND ITSELF DISAPPEARS. What a waste of money for a school to pay to support programs like dance, music, art, etc., sometime for 50 straight years, and then have it disappear because of a poorly-conceived catch-22. Outrageous.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous May 13, What is your point? The principals can turn F status into full time teachers and bingo. The problem is solved. Plus more of the F Status people -- are the ones with connections with the administration. Who is going to monitor the principals if they do not give jobs to the ATRS housed in their schools?

Anonymous said...

The Devil in the Details..and you are going to defend F status positions? The majority of us know who gets the F status position. We should be concerned with out active members who are vulnerable. Too bad that all you can come up with is the F status position. Ofen I wonder what happened to those who may have differing political ideology but can also respect good work for the members. Too bad to see.

Chaz said...

Anon:

I can tell you that James Eterno is in nobody's pocket. In fact the Principal you refer to that destroyed the school was a disaster and it could have been worse without James Eterno blocking his inept Administration.

All schools need Chapter Leaders like James Eterno.

Anonymous said...

GO JAMES GO!

Fidgety said...

Have you seen the recent commercial ads for "NYC TEACH" on television? Perhaps they should put off advertising for new teachers under the hiring freeze.. Ya think???

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to seniority? Why can 25 yr vet be placed into the ATR? Why did the union membership ever agree to this?What kind of union gives up seniority?

Anonymous said...

>>>
Anonymous May 13, What is your point? The principals can turn F status into full time teachers and bingo. The problem is solved. Plus more of the F Status people -- are the ones with connections with the administration.
>>>

Principals can't just "turn" F-status teachers into full-time teachers: there's a hiring freeze on full-time teachers! And way to paint us with a broad brush of incompetence. How sad.

-----
>>>
The Devil in the Details..and you are going to defend F status positions? The majority of us know who gets the F status position. We should be concerned with [our] active members who are vulnerable. Too bad that all you can come up with is the F status position.
>>>

I can't quite follow your "argument", but I'll do my best to respond. The "majority of us know who gets the F status position"? You've got some serious bitterness where F-status is concerned. I'm in my 30s, looking to stay in the system, and I took an F-status job because I'd rather work part-time in a well-run school that full-time in a miserably-run school. I'm not a near-retiree trying to use F-status to milk the system; I'm trying to stay _in_ the system. If it weren't for F-status, some schools wouldn't have arts at all. Some schools honest-to-God CAN'T AFFORD FULL TIME TEACHERS FOR EVERYTHING. Is that so hard to believe? How dare you paint F-status teachers with such a broad brush. We're often the hardest working people in the school, because if we have to stay after school for extra help for students, we might be staying an extra hour or two beyond our punch-out time. I'm F-status because I love teaching and want to stay in the system. But thanks for judging me anyway.