As teachers, we should deal in facts, not lunchroom speculation about what’s in the new tentative agreement. I’ve heard too many worries that have no basis in reality. Here are a few of them:

1. With the transfer plans gone, we won’t be able to transfer to another school. They’ll be able to put us wherever they want.

Not true. In fact, there’ll be more transfer opportunities. The only thing is, like in the real world, you’ll have to sell yourself. See a vacancy? Just apply! All vacancies will be declared, not just half. No limits on how many jobs you can apply for. No release needed from your principal. No limits on how many teachers can transfer out of a single school. No discrimination in hiring allowed, not even for union activities — or age, race, etc. No involuntary transfers. It’s a free market, for those who dare! And for excessed teachers, there’s always a job for you back home (in your school or district) if you can’t find anything else.

2. Without being able to grieve letters in file, the principal can write anything he wants, and then fire me based on a couple of those lies.

No, you’re not giving up your right to dispute a letter. a) You append a response. b) You discuss it with the principal (with your union rep). c) If it’s used to try to fire you, you get to litigate it there, with a lawyer! d) It’s removed after 3 years, instead of following you around for the rest of your life. e) Discipline for not obeying ‘micro-management" like bulletin board formats and the workshop model is forbidden. And finally f)chances are, if you had grieved it, you would not have won. The odds of winning are minuscule because of the restrictions that past rulings put on these challenges. So on balance, you’re better off under the new agreement.

3. The 37 minutes is like having another class.

 No, there are significant differences. one-third the number of kids. No new insruction, so no new lesson plans, just remediation. And probably no grades or papers to mark.

4. We’re all back on cafeteria duty.

First, if you are in an elementary school, you have no professional periods, so this doesn’t apply to you. Second, the chances of being assigned to a duty are pretty slim, since each year the least senior get the administrative assignments if there arent enough volunteers. Third, if you’ve had an admin duty one year, you can’t have any the next. Fourth, if your school restores home rooms, that’s the duty for almost every teacher; you don’t have to do anything else. Fifth, if there are too many administrative positions created, the union can grieve. Sixth, the city has apparently promised DC 37 not to lay off the aides they hired to do these jobs.

5. Our day will now be longer than the suburbs’.

People love to point to a district they know to prove this one. But the numbers speak for themselves. Based on the contracts of the 36 largest surrounding districts (the same ones we used to show the suburban salaries were 14% ahead of ours), suburban school days are still longer than ours. I could give you the numbers, but I don’t want to give the administration any ammunition. So let me just say that secondary school days are considerably longer and elementary schools only in the single digits longer than our new schedule under the agreement. 6. It’s really a pay cut, because we have to give about 4% more time for an annual increase of less than 4%. Huh? Do the math. The total pay increase is 15%, because it adds up, but the 4% increased time stays the same.

6. We’re going to endorse Bloomberg and then wait until after the election to count the ratification ballots, so as not to embarrass him if it goes down.

 B—s—. Neither part of this statement is true. But this is one myth I can’t disprove — at least right now. But wait and see. And if anyone would like to pass along a few more fables, I’ll try to give them a reality check.