Usual neo-liberal claptrap in the NY Times on the teachers contract.
The Timesmen want teachers to agree to get rid of salary steps and tie teacher pay to the new APPR teacher evaluation system ("highly effective" teachers would be paid more than other teachers - so what if the system is under attack all across the state, the Timesmen think pay should be based upon it.)
They want the union to throw ATR's under the bus.
They want seniority to be completely dispensed with for layoff decisions.
They want the union to agree to more "flexible scheduling" - i.e., a longer school day and longer school year.
They use all the propaganda nonsense ed deformers usually use to push this nonsense - charter schools outperform traditional public schools (not true according to state test scores), so traditional public schools should follow the lead of charters and increase days and time for longer classes and more teacher meetings.
Senior teachers are no better than younger, more inexperienced teachers and advanced degrees make no difference in teaching skill - all that matters is the final product (i.e., test scores.)
The Timesmen get one thing right in the editorial, however - UFT members are in a particularly sour mood these days - but they get the reason for that sour mood wrong.
It's true teachers are pissed that they haven't had a raise in four+ years, but it's even more true that teachers are pissed over all the concessions the UFT has granted to the state and the city via the APPR teacher evaluation system.
The UFT has already conceded on lost tenure protections (two "ineffectives" and you are fired is lost
tenure protections), extra paperwork, extra meetings,
mandated lesson plan formatting for Danielson (yes, I know they say it
is not mandated, but if you don't do it the way Ms. Charlotte wants it
done, you will be "i-rated"), and tying test scores to ratings (sure it's state law, but the UFT did not fight against that law.)
Now the neo-liberals at the Times (and you can bet elsewhere in this city too) want even more concessions to completely destroy what is left of the contract and give the powers that be the legal bludgeon they need to fire senior teachers whenever they want for whatever reason they want, get rid of steps and ladders and shove through merit pay, and add time and days to an already beleaguered teaching corps. - all for the 8% raise we were owed back as part of the old pattern.
I said it before, I will say it again - there must be NO CONCESSIONS in this new contract.
Not on days or time, not on steps and ladders, not on ATR's or seniority.
We have already given our concessions over the past four years and got stiffed on the last pattern raise.
It's fine for the neo-liberals to attempt to get these kinds of concessions in the next contract.
But you should let your chapter leader know that she/he should let the geniuses running the UFT know that if they agree to any of this stuff, there will be hell to pay.
And then you have to raise hell in your chapter to make sure rank and file teachers follow through on that hell the next time UFT elections roll around.