To illustrate how little has changed since Bill de Blasio took over from Mike Bloomberg as Mayor and Carmen Farina replaced Dennis Walcott as Chancellor, a DOE official took down my contact information after I spoke at the PEP but I am still waiting to hear from them on what is an immediate concern.
As part of my speech, I requested a release from being an ATR at Hillcrest to start at Middle College High School right away as Middle College wants to hire me for a leave replacement position through June. Guess what, I heard nothing from anybody at the DOE except for an email telling me to go to Hillcrest next week. I will have no chance to become acclimated at a new school that does not operate in a traditional way. Nothing against Hillcrest but if another school wants to hire me, shouldn't they be able to let me come there right away instead of wasting another week at a school where I am only covering classes? In the grand scheme of things, this is no big deal; it's just one little anecdote showing how little has changed in the schools compared to the past.
I also asked for the Chancellor or someone from her office to meet with representatives from the Absent Teacher Reserve Association. Let's see if we hear back from them.
PEP Statement November 25, 2014
Good evening Chancellor Farina and Panel members. My name is James Eterno. I addressed the panel many times under the previous administration mainly advocating for Jamaica HS, the 122 year old school that was closed by Chancellor Walcott but didn't fully phase out until this past June. We tried to get a new lease on life from our new Chancellor as we wrote to you in January and you sent a deputy to visit but after that we never heard from you or your office. We had to find out from Melinda Katz, the Queens Borough President, that we were officially closed.
closed, this fall many of my colleagues and I are now Absent Teacher Reserves.
Having spent many years dedicating our professional lives to working with kids,
we deserve better than to be bounced around Jamaica Queens
whenever administration decides to play musical ATRs. I would like to point out to the Panel and the
Chancellor some of what goes on in schools with regard to ATRs.
For example, many of us have been sent on mandatory interviews for jobs that do not exist. We are forced to go or we will have resigned our jobs. Assistant principals meet me and apologize for wasting my time. What kind of organization sends people on phony job interviews while simultaneously paying for coverages at the schools where we are temporarily assigned because we are not there?
There is a myth out there that all of the ATRS do not want a permanent placement in a school. I can't speak for anyone else but I know some friends from
and I want permanent jobs. In this
ridiculous rotation system you and the UFT agreed to, two administrators have
told me they like my work but nobody will hire me permanently because I'm too
expensive. This is outrageous. Even now when middle College HS wants me as a
leave replacement, I can't get released from Hillcrest by your ATR office until
after December 5. Why not tomorrow? This is just ridiculous. Jamaica
The rotation system has no rhyme or reason to it. Some of us changed schools after three weeks while others are staying for six. We have no say in it as it is apparently up to the whims of principals; some are very professional and feel for us while others are not.
Chancellor you have mentioned mutual consent hiring rather than forced placement. Mutual consent does not apply to ATRs because we can be forced placed by any principal at any time and if we say no to the placement, we've resigned. What kind of mutual consent is that?
Over 100 ATRs have formed the ATR Alliance. As an employee organization, we would like to meet with you or your representatives to discuss our concerns which I have just scratched the surface of in two minutes.