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Transfers and Seniority: The Evidence [Updated]

From time to time, one finds comments posted here with a common ‘urban myth’ — the notion that senior teachers’ ability to transfer to another school was harmed by the changes in the transfer system adopted in the Fall 2005 collective bargaining agreement.

In the interests of having such discussions informed by actual evidence, I took the raw data from last year’s 2006 transfers, the first under the new system, and the data from the previous year’s 2005 transfers, the last under the old system, and organized each year by seniority levels. The results are in the below table.


2006 open market transfer

Total 2005 transfer

2005 seniority transfer

2005 SBO transfer

Less than 3 years





3 and 4 years





5 through 9 years





10 through 14 years





15 through 20 years





More than 20 years










The results are quite powerful. In general, UFT members were able to obtain many more transfers in 2006, under the new system, than they did under the old system — more than three times as many transfers in general, and more than six times as many seniority transfers. What is more, the numbers of transfers increased at every level of seniority: every seniority class of member, from the most novice through the middle years to the most senior, had significantly more transfers under the new system than the old.


‘Urban myths’ die hard, as the comments section illustrates.

One can parse the above evidence however one pleases, but the numbers are undeniable: every class of teacher did better under the new system, from the novices to the most senior. Moreover, more than three times as many teachers were able to obtain transfers, and more than eight times as many teachers transferred as under the seniority transfer system. For an union dedicated to principles of solidarity, that is as easy a choice as one could face. The suggestion that it was a mistake to give up the seniority transfer system that produced far less for all teachers defies common sense.

Given that NYC public schools now have a teaching force where nearly 1 in every 2 teachers have five years or less of seniority, it makes perfect sense that they would have similar portions in a transfer system open to all teachers. In fact, one would reasonably expect an even greater rate of transfer in the earlier years, greater than that evinced last year. The longer a teacher has been in the system, and the more opportunities she or he has had to move to a school where they want to teach, the less likely that they would seek another transfer. Teachers are not likely to transfer once they find a position in a school where they feel professionally fulfilled.



  • 1 NYC Educator
    · May 1, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    This is a very interesting chart, which shows several things.

    It demonstrates, first, that newer teachers’ ability to transfer has increased significantly. No one can contend the open market doesn’t work well for them, particularly those with fewer than three years experience, with an impressive 2000% increase.

    It also seems to indicate that newly empowered principals have a marked preference for teachers with fewer than 10 years experience, who seem to make up about 80% of total transfers.

    Your commentary strongly suggests the implications of that escape you utterly.

    The chart indeed demonstrates that a few hundred more 10+ year teachers transferred in 06 than 05. And this, of course, is why you condescendingly label your critics purveyors of “urban myths.” You balance a single year’s results against a program that was available for what, 6 or 7? Against a program you heartily supported, one that members paid for with at least one, and maybe two zeroes.

    However, it hardly refutes several facts. I am a UFT transfer, I selected the school I wished, easily won my first choice, and the principal had no veto over my arrival. The UFT transfer plan allowed me to escape an abusive AP without having to explain why to anyone.

    Whether or not senior teachers may not have exercised this option does not mitigate the fact that we had it, and no longer do.

    Furthermore, it does not take into account the new system, under which principals will have to consider the salaries of those whom they hire. That did not factor into your list this year, but will certainly factor into others.

    Would my current principal now choose to pay twice as much for me as a newbie? I’ve got over twenty years of excellent observations, but I don’t delude myself over that for a moment.

    The number of transfers may have increased, but you’ve considerably narrowed our options. To make the conclusion that your commenters spout “urban myths” based on a comparison of one year to the next is highly insulting.

    The UFT transfer plan was easy and efficient, and it’s preposterous to maintain it was holding anyone back.

    How many teachers wanted to transfer but could not? How many principals said “no” to UFT members? That, Mr. Casey, is of far more significance, and you ignore it utterly.

    And why do you want to give principals such options? Why on earth do you endorse a plan that makes our salaries a blatant factor in what our options may be? Please try thinking long-term.

    That’s most certainly what Chancellor Klein is doing.

  • 2 jd2718
    · May 1, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    There is a running discussion here on Edwize (not ‘time to time’ but rather current) of the effect of reorganization on senior teachers.

    1. Will a principal, now that salaries of new teachers and transferees get picked up by the schools, will a principal under these circumstances hire a senior teacher when a cheaper one is available?

    2. How will the union respond?

    The data you have published is valuable. But it has been available, at least in some form, for some time. And how does it affect either the discussion or the UFT response to the assault on our senior members at schools that are being phased out?

    Could we return to discussing how we will protect these members?


  • 3 MichaelB
    · May 1, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    What’s your point Leo, that giving up seniority transfers wasn’t really a giveback? Should we go back to our schools and tell our members it was actually a victory?

    On your chart, a senior teacher who is harassed into transfering to a lousy school shows up as a positive. I’m not sure we should be bragging about that kind of stuff.

    Besides, as NYC Educator points out, 2006 is no longer relevant. We’re now applying for transfers under much different funding rules.

  • 4 paulrubin
    · May 1, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    I don’t remember knocking the new transfer system. Seemed somewhat akin to free agency. The only problem with staff was really where excessed veteran teachers couldn’t find jobs. Seems to me it’s the new system we should be discussing and that’s a problem that has been aggravated, not helped.

  • 5 Schoolgal
    · May 2, 2007 at 5:49 am

    Interesting that the chart starts after the introduction of the SBO Transfer. That was the beginning of the end of seniority transfers to a better school and seniority rights. And teachers that used to receive double-time seniority was also taken away. Notice how those numbers go down between the two.

    Also, we do not have the figures on senior teachers who lost a position to a newer teacher. My school for example was an SBO school and kept all their new teachers. Despite the fact that the SBO also empowered teachers in the decision-making process, our union no longer believed we deserved such empowerment.

    I hope you will continue to post these figures each and every year.

  • 6 xkaydet65
    · May 2, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    I was a victim of the SBO plan as a first year teaher was chosen over me and at an appeal I was faced by the entire interview panel whose perception of my interview was quite at odds with reality.

    The next year I received a UFT transfer to another school. I walked in and was given my program, a room key, and shown where the bathroom was. This situation will never happen again. And with the element of monies to the school it will be less likely that senior teachers will be hired. A $95K teacher, replaced by a $50K teacher will leave the prinipal wih $45K in real money.
    Next year’s chart will be much more relevant to the effects of the new plan on senior staff.

  • 7 jd2718
    · May 2, 2007 at 1:58 pm


    you wrote: “Teachers are not likely to transfer once they find a position in a school where they feel professionally fulfilled.”

    Unless their school phases out, and they have no choice. What are we doing to protect these teachers? What does our grievance allege? (what article, etc.) And do we have a strategy beyond the grievance?


  • 8 Kombiz Lavasany
    · May 2, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Funding is held steady for two years. The re-organization which Klein was originally implementing (The UFT has no official say over funding,) would have funded positions at starting teacher salary. That was changed. Those were among the changes made by the coalition agreement. For the next two school years there’s schools will be held harmless. With CFE funding budgets could increase (dramatically) for schools. The UFT is grieving the inclusion of salary in transfer application.

    We’re also monitoring the transfer situation very closely this
    spring to see if there are any instances of abuse. If you are aware of any notify your DR immediately.

    The UFT will vigorously pursue correcting any mishandling of the funding situation. This hits both posts and comment threads.

  • 9 Peter Goodman
    · May 2, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    I taught in a “high performing” school – in the spring the Principal received vancancies – by Contract he only had to post half – he always chose the bi-lingual Mandarin – never the Social Studies – the seniority transfer plan was easily “manageable” by Principals – Leo is right! The former seniority transfer plan takes on mythic values while in reality many schools easily eluded the plan.

  • 10 Leo Casey
    · May 2, 2007 at 5:31 pm


    1. The original weighted student funding fomula put forward by the DOE would have replace the salary of each leaving teacher [whatever the cause — transfer, retirement, resignation, sabbatical, leave, death] with the salary of a novice teacher. This would have created a negative disincentive to hire senior teachers, since the difference in salaries would have had to come from somewhere else in the school’s budget. What we suceeded in doing, by having the salary replaced at the same level, was make it possible for a school to hire a senior teacher without any negative consequences. In essence, it was a restoration of the status quo ante.

    Some say “is the principal required to hire the senior teacher?” Clearly not, any more than they were required to do so in 2006 — when more senior teachers received transfers than ever before. Not every principal is a great educator, but any principal with a minimal grasp of the job will understand that novice teachers are not yet up to the job that more experienced teachers do.

    I understand that some would like us to create new rights, but the first obligation here is to make sure that current rights are not lost, and the changes in the funding formula does that by making the decision funding neutral.

    The grievance that we are pursuing is that the inclusion of salaries in the transfer system was a material change in the Fall 2005 contract. If we are successful, it would require a complete overhaul of what they have done.

    2. We are litigating next week an arbitration that contests the DOE’s unilateral abrogation of our agreement around the old 18G, new 18D process. If successful, this will require the DOE to restore the right to 50% of the positions in new schools in the building for each of the years of the old school’s phase out.

  • 11 NYC Educator
    · May 2, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    It’s fortunate that Mr. Casey chooses neither to acknowledge nor respond to my points, as it saves me the trouble of composing new ones.

    Certainly Mr. Casey seems not to have read my acknowledgement that this plan works well for new teachers. Clearly Mr. Casey does not understand that it is preposterous to compare two years’ results with those of a program that lasted, come to think of it, around 15 years.

    Mr. Casey, curiously, appears not to have the slightest idea that principals will now have to consider the salaries of incoming teachers. Regardless, that makes his points, such as they may be, moot.

    It’s hard for me to believe Mr. Casey is naive enough to be unaware that many principals prefer malleable new teachers. It’s hard for me to believe that Mr. Casey is unaware, for example, how difficult it is for senior teachers to find employment in higher-paying suburbs.

    Giving city principals the same options as suburban principals, I’m afraid, will not ultimately benefit UFT members. I’m certain that’s not what Chancellor Klein had in mind when he supported this plan. And I deeply regret that our vision does not remotely remotely rival his, as I do not believe his reforms are or will be beneficial to teachers, students, or parents.

    Obviously Mr. Casey is comfortable with principals rather than teachers making these decisions. Our colleagues facing school closings must now depend on their kindness, a position I do not envy at all. I’m very glad I made my move before my option was given away.

    It’s remarkable Mr. Casey cannot understand why.

    The point, which Mr. Casey once again avoids, is that our options are much more limited. Mr. Casey has been trotting out his argument for months now, and repeating it, unfortunately, does not contribute to its validity.

    It’s good that young teachers can transfer.

    Still, the UFT transfer plan was easy and efficient for us, and it’s preposterous to maintain it was holding anyone back. Anyone with six or seven years in a building could have used it, and relaxing that restriction would have been a much better idea than consigning senior teachers to stay where they are forever.

    Mr. Casey has no idea how many senior teachers were rejected in the plan that overwhelmingly served those with fewer than ten years seniority, but comfortably makes conclusions based on incomplete information.

    How many teachers wanted to transfer but could not? How many principals said “no” to UFT members? That is of far more significance, and Mr. Casey continues to ignore it utterly.

    Why on earth should the UFT endorse a plan that makes our salaries a blatant factor in what our options may be?

    Chancellor Klein has snookered us again, and our leadership, once again, seeks comfort by inserting its head in the sand.

    Ex-US Secretary of Education Rod Paige, despite his blatant anti-union stance, expressed great admiration for our union leadership.


    To be very frank, it wasn’t because they’ve improved conditions for UFT members.

  • 12 Schoolgal
    · May 2, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Did not Klein send an email this fall telling principals not to hire excessed teachers?? Where are the numbers to show what happened to them?

    Btw, many of the older teachers in my school were also UFT transfers and the postings listed for the elementary level were legit in CB schools. If they were not for schools with bi-lingual teachers, didn’t the CC file complaints?

  • 13 jd2718
    · May 2, 2007 at 6:45 pm


    a few brief points and questions.

    1. “What we suceeded in doing, by having the salary replaced at the same level, was make it possible for a school to hire a senior teacher without any negative consequences.”

    I disagree with “no negative consequences.” The principal would be spending money that s/he could be spending on per session, on equipment. Senior teacher, or a novice and some really nice furniture?

    2. 18d (this is the old 18g) is the contract article that provides that 50% of the faculty at a new school come from the staff of schools that are being phased out to make room.

    3. The DoE abrogated 18d (former 18g) in 2 pieces: First they claimed that it only applied in the first year of a new school’s existence, even though the new school was displacing an old school for what was generally a four year phase in. Correct me if I am wrong, but they made this change in a few schools several years ago, but wholesale across the system only last year. Second, just now, this reorganization breaks the article entirely.

    4. 18G (now 18D) provided some option for the old school community. We are now in a different situation: teachers in phase out schools as a class will need to transfer, and teachers in phase out schools as a class face potential discrimination. We should be looking to collect data on this group as a class.

    5. Kombiz’s well-intention appeal to report discrimination in hiring is misplaced. It is virtually impossible for an individual to ascertain that discrimination is occuring, as the discrimination is built into the process. No principal choosing a less experienced candidate need give a reason.

    6. Central collection of data, not individual anecdotes, is what is required. This can take place through UFT Central, or better, organized by the chapters that are being phased out, and coordinated by central. In this way those being discrimated against by the DoE can themselves actively contribute to the grievance and the suit. The victims can become the chief accusers.


  • 14 MichaelB
    · May 2, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Kombiz, you wrote the following:

    “Funding is held steady for two years. The re-organization which Klein was originally implementing (The UFT has no official say over funding,) would have funded positions at starting teacher salary.”

    I’m confused. How would Klein’s formula have achieved its stated goal of moving experienced teachers to hard-to-staff schools? Was there more to the plan?

    Also, you state that schools will be “held harmless” for two years. Could you explain exactly what you mean by this and exactly what happens after two years?

    Why is this information coming out in drips and drabs? Why hasn’t anyone put out an official document? Do we need to contact the DOE for this?

  • 15 MichaelB
    · May 2, 2007 at 8:21 pm


    While many openings were hidden from the transfer system, many were not hidden and were filled by teachers exercising a pretty powerful right.

    A right is a right, and we traded this one away for money. The money was worth it to many of our members and that’s fine. But we can’t pretend it wasn’t a right and that we didn’t lose it.

    When the UFT adopts management-consultant language like “Open Market System” to imply some sort of right or benefit where none exists (gee, you mean I’m actually allowed to send my resume to a potential employer?) I don’t feel like I’m being well represented. When they try to manipulate statistics to show me that I’m actually benefiting by giving up my rights, I’m deeply offended.

  • 16 MichaelB
    · May 2, 2007 at 8:30 pm


    You say that the “status quo ante” is being restored. Could you please answer the following questions in order that I might better understand what you mean? A simple yes or no will do in each case.

    1. Under the old system, did a principal save money by hiring less experienced teachers?

    2. Under the new system, will a principal save money by hiring less experienced teachers?

  • 17 Kombiz Lavasany
    · May 2, 2007 at 8:34 pm


    Regarding the first question. I don’t think it would have. There were a lot of changes made by the coalition to the original reorganization plan. Leo’s earlier post is a good outline of those changes.

    The NY Teacher story on the re-organization and the weekly updates that chapter leaders receive will have a lot of good information. We’re certainly not trying to put out information in dribs and drabs but where I can actually answer a question here questions that aren’t on a fact sheet I’ll try. We’ll definitely have information in the NY Teacher and the weekly updates to chapter leaders.

    Held harmless means that no school is going to have it’s funding cut which is what was happening during the reorganization. The UFT and coalition members felt that it would have undermined a lot of successful and stable school in the system.

    · May 3, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    MichaelB writes:
    What’s your point Leo, that giving up seniority transfers wasn’t really a giveback? Should we go back to our schools and tell our members it was actually a victory?

    Isn’t that exactly the problem here?

    A number of the folks writing in this comments section also wrote extensively during the Fall 2005 contract ratification process that this very change in the contract was a giveback, and that it would harm senior teachers. Faced now with irrefutable evidence that undermines those claims, they insist upon remaining in denial.

  • 19 Schoolgal
    · May 3, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    My question has been asked twice, here and on a previous post and still not answered.

    Did not Klein tell principals not to hire excessed teachers??? What happened to those teachers?

    As for evidence: When I look at stocks and mutual funds I would be hesitant to make a decision to purchase based on one year’s growth. Can we see a chart that goes back a few years before the inception of the SBO transfer?

  • 20 NYC Educator
    · May 3, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    When we see that chart, let’s not forget to factor in the school closings that forced so many teachers to move. And let’s not forget all the ATRs who have not been able to find jobs at all under the UFT’s “new and improved” plan. Some of them write to me, and gratitude, oddly, is far from what they tend to express.

    I did not know that the administration was failing to honor the agreement to retain 50% of those in renamed schools. Is it a good idea to enter into new agreements with people who don’t even honor old ones?

    Personally, I think not.

  • 21 Leo Casey
    · May 3, 2007 at 3:52 pm


    1. I should have noted in my last reply, but wrote too quickly, that the fact that teachers in phase-out schools are guaranteed a job is far from automatic. In fact, in many other large urban school districts with which I am familiar, such as Philadelphia and Chicago, such teachers are laid off if they can not find a position in another school. The fact that NYC teachers can not be laid off in such circumstances, due to protections in the contract, is important. Those who discount it have never talked to teachers in cities like Philadelphia and Chicago.

    2. Last year was the first year the DOE abrogated the agreement to have 18G/D cover all years of the phase out. Prior to that, 18G/D covered all years of the phase out. That clause is key in ensuring that such teachers do not just have a job, but a teaching position. Since the arbitration over 18G/D is being heard next week, a decision can be expected soon. [This year we were able to obtain a side agreement giving all four year phase out rights to teachers in the three large schools begin their phase out — Tilden, Lafayette and South Shore.]

    3. The UFT has supported age discrimination suits in the past, and continues to collect data that would indicate and prove a pattern of discrimination. Needless to say, the DOE does not want to turn over data that might be used in this fashion, so we have to pursue such issues under Freedom of Information law.

    · May 3, 2007 at 3:55 pm


    Seems like a clear case of “don’t confuse me with the facts.”

  • 23 MichaelB
    · May 3, 2007 at 4:11 pm


    The question was rhetorical. But, what the heck, let’s see if Leo agrees with you and the shop teacher.

    Leo, do you agree with SOC ST TEACHER that the elimination of seniority transfers a victory for our union?

  • 24 jd2718
    · May 3, 2007 at 6:09 pm


    3. in the case of current phase out schools, we can collect the information from members themselves. Is there a reason not to? I can’t think of a more empowering move.

    2. We tried to keep schools under 18g for their whole phase in period, but lost that. Was that an arbitration? Or was the effort just one DR, off on their own? (I mean that in a good way, trying to squeeze extra rights out of the contract)

    1. Our job protection is clearly better than in Philly – but we judge against our own experience, not that of far away. If we prevail in our grievance, much of this discussion will have become moot. But if we do not, we will have a group of teachers losing their current appointments (through phase out) who will have significant difficulty finding new appointments – and here in NYC that would represent something new and bad.


  • 25 Leo Casey
    · May 4, 2007 at 9:57 am


    In an essay I contributed to Collective Bargaining in Education, I wrote the following:

    Among the union ranks are some who have lost sight of the fact that collective bargaining entails compromises between the interests of management and the interests of labor, and thus, of the limits of collective bargaining as an expression of democratic voice. They have adopted what might be called a “pure and simple industrial unionism,” in which the collective bargaining agreement acquires the status of sacred scriptures, and unionism consists of being completely faithful to the letter of the contractual law. In a paradigmatic way, a set of means of unionism is mistaken for its ends: fidelity to the contract becomes the end of unionism, and the limits and compromises required by that particular means become obscured and even forgotten.

    In a context where collective bargaining itself is under attack, it is absolutely necessary for unionists to defend vigilantly the progress that has been made and the rights that have been established through that process. But a dogmatic and blind adherence to the letter of the contractual status quo actually disarms that struggle and constricts the union’s ability to function as the democratic voice of teachers.

    Making a fetish out of the old seniority transfer system, with all of its compromises and limitations; insisting that it was a defeat and a giveback to put in its place a system which delivered many more transfers for all of our members: this seems to me characteristic of the ‘pure and simple industrial unionism’ I discussed in that passage.

    So, yes, when the union delivers more for all of its members, be it in transfers or in something else, that is a victory.


    3. In theory, what you say is attractive. In practice, we find it next too impossible to get the information we need that way. The Chapter Leader is key in the collection of school and member data, and that position has so many responsibilities that anything which seems less than completely urgent — and requests for information fit that bill — gets put to the side for the free moment that never comes. And remember than if even half of the CLs respond, which is a good return, we are still far short of the sort of conclusive evidence we would need.

    We have tried to address this problem through such measures as including ways to involve more members in the work of the chapter in chapter leader training, but we still have a long way to go here. So we have to figure out a lot of different vehicles for obtaining information.

    Remember also that if the information comes from official records, the DOE can’t dispute its accuracy.

    2. We haven’t lost it. When the DOE made the unilateral change last year, we grieved it. With an arbitrator’s decision earlier this year, we have been able to break up the backlog of arbitration cases the DOE had created, and moved this — and other cases — to arbitration quickly. Since the hearings are next Tuesday, we can expect a decision in the near future.

    1. I think it is important for NYC teachers to have a more national perspective, because we need to understand how teachers and teacher unions are under very serious attack all over the US right now — we are the one sector of the American economy that is mostly organized, and the right and corporate power think that if they can break us, they can destroy organized labor. We can’t take for granted victories that we win — that teachers can’t be laid off as a result of a school phase out — because if we do, we are on the road to losing them.

  • 26 jd2718
    · May 4, 2007 at 10:44 pm


    3. Even if one phase out school puts together a team to collect info on who tries to transfer where, and what the results are (no contact; contact but no interview; interview but not selected; selected), just having one school where the members do this will (1) be useful for all of us (2) be inspiration to all of us and (3) be empowering to that group of teachers.

    Is there harm in asking?

    On the subject of ‘harm in asking,’ Michael’s question “Under the new system, will a principal save money by hiring less experienced teachers?” deserves a direct answer.

    Michael, the answer is yes, which is why we are grieving its implementation.


  • 27 NYC Educator
    · May 5, 2007 at 6:47 am

    Dear Mr. Casey:

    It must be comforting to see things so vividly in black and white. I’m sure that helped our commander-in-chief to wage war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. But for those of us cursed with critical thought, what you call “common sense” is all too common, and by no means the best or only way to examine an issue.

    This is particularly important to those of us entrusted with the important task of encouraging critical thinking in young people. I had a lot of time to think about this during my hall patrol yesterday. Thanks for that, by the way. I’ve no doubt you consider halving my paid prep time a momentous achievement, and let me be the first to congratulate you.

    Let me also congratulate you on your paper. Of course, ‘compromise,” to most, entails give and take. Few objective observers would share your view that a raise that fails to meet cost of living merits surrendering virtually every gain we’ve made over 20 years. And few would fail to consider, as you do, that those gains were bought with the zero percent raises your team negotiated for us.

    I remain astonished that you can support this mayor’s reorg. One would think you’d have learned something from the egregious error of having supported mayoral control.

    I agree, of course, that people tend to oversimplify issues at times. That’s why I’m puzzled you continue to view the transfer plan in such a simplistic fashion. What of the teachers to whom principals said no dice? Do you suppose they’d consider this plan an improvement?

    Or is it your contention that not a single teacher failed to win a transfer under this plan you praise so loudly?

    What of the teachers in the ATR? I correspond with several, and I can tell you their morale is not all that good. Furthermore, they’re acutely aware that pre-05, they’d have been placed in schools.

    Couldn’t the recent school closings have impacted the number of transfers? As you’ve just informed us, the mayor has once again chosen to ignore an agreement, this time one that kept 50% of staff in a building. Doesn’t this indicate that over 50% of teachers in closed schools were looking for work? Wouldn’t that result in a higher number of teacher transfers?

    Granted, I’m not an expert. But on the other hand, I don’t work for the UFT. Oddly enough, they’re supposed to work for me.

    It’s true you won some concessions in Mayor Bloomberg’s latest reorg. It’s also true, however, that even if you win the concession that salaries be removed from the application forms, principals will see from resumes how long teachers have worked in the city, and can figure salaries themselves.

    Finally, considering Mr. Klein’s Leadership Academy and the nature of its graduates and philosophy, I’m surprised you place such faith in their inclination to value experience.

    Nicholas Kristof just wrote a column stating teachers tend not to improve after the first two years. I disagree, and I’ll go out on a limb and assume you do as well.

    But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that column, and the studies it cites were accepted unquestioningly over at Tweed, and incorporated into Leadership Academy 101.

  • 28 MichaelB
    · May 5, 2007 at 9:02 am


    I’m sure the charter school teachers will be sold on your brand of non-industrial unionism when our organizers tell them that for just $87 a month, they’ll gain the “right” to send their resume to any school they wish.

    Where did you get the idea that I have a fetish about seniority transfers? I said I thought it was “fine” if teachers wanted to give up that right in exchange for more money. My problem is with your disingenuous treatment of the issue.

    Let’s separate the two issues you conflated: Yes, eliminating transfer restrictions on newer teachers is an expansion in rights – a victory. However, losing seniority transfers is a giveback – a loss of power for us. Even the teachers I know who voted for the contract knew they were giving something up. Yet, you won’t acknowledge this.

    Your conclusion that the new contract “delivers” for senior teachers because more of them changed schools last year is off base. First, these teachers were not exercising any new rights. Second, you have absolutely no idea who changed jobs, why they did so, where they went, and whether or not they wanted to go. There is no science behind your claims – they are pure speculation. Your numbers could very well indicate an increase in harassment.

    You have no idea how the loss of seniority transfers has affected union activity. Are teachers now less reluctant to be outspoken? Are they less likely to want to have “chapter leader” on their resume? An honest discussion of the issue would include answers to these questions.

    But really, this is all a distraction. The only reason to be discussing seniority transfers at this moment is because in giving them up, we opened ourselves up to being blindsided by Klein who changed the school funding formulas to include teacher salaries. Clearly, none of us saw this coming, and clearly, we are absolutely, completely, screwed on this issue, at least until we get a new mayor, or win the grievance or lawsuit.

    I have to assume that you and the UFT leadership are just as worried as I am about this issue. You’ve refused to answer my questions on it and refused to acknowledge that schools will save money by hiring newer teachers. In fact, I see your raising the transfer issue as a way to divert attention from the funding formula issue.

    Unfortunately, there is no getting away from this. Most teachers don’t know about the change, but will hear about it soon enough. I bumped into a neighbor yesterday – a senior teacher at a good school who is tired of her long commute and was thinking of looking for something closer to home. She was stunned to learn that her salary will affect her ability to find a new job.

    Jonathan, thanks for the response. I originally asked the question on the other thread because I wasn’t sure if it was true. I’ve since understood Leo’s silence on the issue to mean that it is.

    Incidentally, I’m sympathetic to the UFT leadership regarding their role in this fiasco. No doubt, it’s tough to run a union – the enemies are everywhere and one little mistake could spell disaster for 80,000 members. It’s not hard to see why union leaders tend to be cautious and conservative. And clearly, Klein’s funding formula was a brilliant, union-busting maneuver that probably none of us would have anticipated.

    Nonetheless, there is no excuse for not being straightforward with the membership.

  • 29 Schoolgal
    · May 5, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Last fall principals who wanted to hire excessed teachers were ordered not to do so by Klein. So on one hand we are told to apply through the open market, but on the other hand, these applicants were blackballed.

    Your manifesto seems to claim that the end justifies the means. At least we now can understand why our union is leaning towards conservative values at the expense of good teachers.

    Yet one concession you won’t make is giving teachers in hard to staff school or subjects the ability to earn more. Instead, we lost more valuable rights rather than focusing on teacher retention.

  • 30 Educat
    · May 6, 2007 at 7:44 am

    there should be no doubt in anyones mind that the uft has re orientated itself in favor of “the newer teacher”. just look at how we all ended up back in the cafeteria? most of the newbies were not around to swallow those 2 zeros back in 2000, otherwise the uft would never have given that back. also, the bulk of the contract money went to “the newer teacher”. so is it any wonder that transfers now favor this group?

  • 31 jd2718
    · May 6, 2007 at 9:42 am


    Thank you for your last 2 points:

    Incidentally, I’m sympathetic to the UFT leadership regarding their role in this fiasco. No doubt, it’s tough to run a union – the enemies are everywhere and one little mistake could spell disaster for 80,000 members. It’s not hard to see why union leaders tend to be cautious and conservative. And clearly, Klein’s funding formula was a brilliant, union-busting maneuver that probably none of us would have anticipated.


    Nonetheless, there is no excuse for not being straightforward with the membership.

    I agree with both.

    Educat, I don’t think we have new members being favored over veterans; all of us have been hurt by Bloomberg and his chancellor.

    Look at some of Nadelstern’s mini-failure schools where the principal daily violates the contractual rights of a few dozen non-tenured novices. At the end of the year most of those who haven’t quit or been driven out transfer out, and the monster (are they mostly Leadership Academy?) hires a set of brand-new victims. Senior teachers don’t, for the most part, work in these pits – they are designed to abuse new teachers only.


  • 32 Schoolgal
    · May 6, 2007 at 10:43 am

    The union has to bear some responsibility when contractual clauses are written in such nebulous language the DoE can interpret them any way it wants. Didn’t the labor lawyers the UFT hired know this, or was it written that way in order to reach an agreement?

    We are up against a chancellor who made Microsoft cry. Is it any wonder that he can maneuver our own contract to his advantage. Where were the protections for the teachers that were blackballed (an issue that has not been addressed here by anyone)? Conservative values are not met here in NYC the same way they are around the nation. Even Rudy is supporting Roe.

    There are still many senior and mid- level teachers who are working under Leadership Academy principals. A few live in my building. One fine teacher was written up for questioning an IEP student’s status. (She never received a letter in her file before the 05 contract).

    According to her, there is nowhere for teachers in her school to go except the bar every Friday after work. That is how they are surviving the changes. What a sad commentary on what should be a highly-respected profession.

  • 33 willimake30yrs?
    · May 6, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Does anyone know what will happen to teachers who are thrown into the “ATR pool” in the new contract if more schools are reorganized in the future?

    What will happen to the members who are ATRs currently? Will they be able to maintain their employment as ATRs in the system? What rights to they have insofar as building assignments, and location? Will they be pressured into buyouts?

    There doesn’t seem to be too much information in the new contract (October 07) available to members who are in ATR status.

  • 34 art-teacher
    · May 8, 2007 at 7:09 am

    I had first hand experience with the Open-Market system last year and must comment.
    The concept behind a true Open Market system is great. It should be transparent and a level playing field for all interested teachers searching for a job but as far as my experience is concerned it wasn’t.
    I have 14 years experience as an Art Teacher and was in excess last year while I applied to more than 50 positions posted on the Open Market system. Most of the posted position were already filled by the time they were posted. Principals hired friends of friends, student teachers etc. I was lucky enough to be granted 4 interviews and was asked to demo lesson in 3 schools (one during summer school). I did finally get hired by a middle school in Brooklyn in August, due in part to my persistence, after what I felt was a very frustrating experience.
    Now for this year, has anyone else noticed that there are almost NO posting on the system. I have seen more jobs advertised in the New York Times than on the Open Market system. Today there are only 4 pages of teacher jobs and its May 8th. By this time last year I had applied to more than 30. you have to wonder about that one….

  • 35 MichaelB
    · May 8, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    I know a highly qualified and experienced music teacher who has been in excess since September. He sends out inquiries for open positions and doesn’t receive responses.

  • 36 CitySue
    · May 8, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    I’m curious where you saw Klein telling principals not to hire excessed teachers. My info is just the opposite. In fact I saw him reminding principals in a Principoals Weekly newsletter that these folks were out there. Remember, they have job security. He doesn’t want them unable to find a job, as he has to pay them anyway and then fill vacancies with new people he has to pay too. He is always embarrassed when asked by reporters about the ATRs b/c they are costing him a fortune. I understand the DOE even sent some of the excessed people w/o jobs out on interviews. He also complained bitterly to the union that some excessed peodple never even bothered applying for any vacancies. He feels the union took him by getting the job secuirty, knowing some people would take advantage of it and prefer not to work at all while still collecting a full salary. Of course I don’t know if that is true of anybody, but that is what he believed. Why would he tell principals not to hire them, when he has to pay the tab?
    More recently I heard that he was going to make each school bear the cost of any excessed teacher who did not find another position, in order to discourage principals from excessing teachers who the would be paid by central. However I don’t know if this is happening. Do you?

  • 37 art-teacher
    · May 10, 2007 at 11:21 am

    I don’t think Klein would ever put it in writing not to hire excessed teachers. Let’s fault him all we want the man is not ……! But having gone through the Open Market system last year as an excessed teacher,I did feel a stigma attached to my resume. With at least 12 openings in District 2, the District I was tenured to, I couldn’t get the help of my Art Coordinator to get even an interview at any of these schools. So you tell me if there wasn’t some sort of mandate for above.

  • 38 Schoolgal
    · May 10, 2007 at 10:31 pm


    Sorry to hear about your difficulty.
    Unfortunately Klein did label excessed teachers as “undesirables” in an email to principals, and it was reported in the NY Times in September.

  • 39 art-teacher
    · May 11, 2007 at 8:09 am

    It’s all worked out..so far..In a school that is very supportive of the arts.
    BUT..is it possible for you to link me to that article in the NY Times?
    Did the NY Teacher reprint or report on that email?

  • 40 This week in blogging, here « JD2718
    · May 11, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    […] On Edwize there have been two serious discussions about the modifications to the Bloomberg Department of Ed reorganization, first about the agreement and then about teachers transfers. […]

  • 41 Schoolgal
    · May 11, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Klein Halts Plan to Make Schools Take Unassigned Teachers…
    (David M. Herszenhorn, New York Times, September 2, 2006)

    Klein also made disparaging remarks against excessed APs not long after that.

    If you visit CitySue’s new post,Cause Celebre (May 8) you will see my comment whereby CitySue once agreed with my point of view regarding the treatment of excessed teachers, then later changed her mind and applauded the Open Market.

    Edwize never has any “serious discussion” on the September 2006 remark by Klein. Someone else commented here that Senior teachers are under assault. I am still awaiting the union’s response.
    During our most recent SLT meeting, my admin told the parents that principals have to bear the costs of hiring more experienced teachers and doing so will impact the budget. (She did not bring up the agreement because it is temporary and neither did our CC).

    Let’s hope our union will never support mayoral control again.

  • 42 art-teacher
    · May 14, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Thanks Schoolgal for the article reference…
    As for the bearing of costs, I think that the union is prepared to file both a formal grievance and an age discrimination lawsuit on behalf of teachers that feel they have been hurt to the salary impact of Open Market.

  • 43 Schoolgal
    · May 14, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    The real problem was agreeing to give up excessing rights in the first place.
    No senior teacher should ever be in this position.

    In fact CitySue once wrote:

    “Specifically, Klein complains about the contractual right of teachers who
    have been “excessed” to another position in their license area in the
    district. He wants to eliminate that right and force these excessed
    teachers, whose positions have disappeared through no fault of their own, to pound the streets and find their own jobs or be laid off.”

    She later reversed herself and praised the open market.