Hello, ATRs are suing

Saturday, January 25, 2014

ACRs/ATRs tell the truth of the situations after another New York Times slight

The New York Times again ran an article slighting ACRs/ATRs. However, the UFT leaders fail to publicly speak up for us and fail to dispel misleading generalizations of how staff became displaced. On the side many in our union who want our support buy the Campbell Brown sort of line that we are "bad teachers". Displaced staff speak up and give their accounts of why they are ATRs, and why they do not have permanent assignments or real appointed positions.

1) Based on DOE documents ACRs/ATRs have obtained, roughly 3/4 of displaced staff are in pool because of school closings or co-locations

2) Displaced as ACR/ATR due to fraudulent charges

a) any student charge will be validated if the principal or the investigator wishes, with principals freely soliciting fabricated stories made up on the spot

b) teachers surviving the accusation stage pay a mob-style shakedown fine and then return to the classroom

3) Vast majority of teachers (80%) at the last figure in long term assignments had satisfactory ratings (May 2011 Gotham Schools); others are getting their first U ratings observations while in rotation, with coverage (substitute) classes they just met, have no relationship with, do not have the power of entering a grade for them, do not have the parent or guardian phone numbers for them.

Positions are eliminated as UFT reading volunteer program undercuts literacy coach positions, as teachers are given college adviser duties for advisories, undercutting guidance counselors, as many guidance and social work positions over-all are given to outside private contractors.

4) Principals have played favorites and have replaced ACRs/ATRs with their own staff preferences

5) Not hired because fair student funding has encouraged principals to hire cheaper teachers

a) job fairs are a fraud

b) at the fairs established teachers are forced to compete with Teaching Fellows, Teach for America recruits and other new people

c) experienced educators are passed over for positions for which they are qualified, while unqualified teachers take their place

Instead of fighting the displacement process the UFT has repeated the DOE line that we need to retool our resumes or beef up our wardrobes. We are supposed to be protected by tenure. Why is the union cooperating with this tenure-crushing ploy that we need to reapply for jobs? This is a back-handed breaking of tenure. ACRs/ATRs did not leave their jobs. They were displaced as new hires took the places they would have had when new schools replaced old schools.

The union seems to have forgotten that by ignoring the hiring of Teacher for America recruits and other novice teachers, the DOE violated on-again, off-again hiring freezes, freezes that they used to insist on. The DOE opened the door for their displacement of veterans with the excuse that they filled shortage areas, then the UFT allowed that to happen for all licences.

Here are some of the stories of how ACRs/ATRs entered the pool. We tell them, since the UFT gives us no page in the union newspaper.

I am a guidance counselor, excessed by new principal because she said she had no money in budget to pay my salary, and she illegally lowered my caseload to 11 students. Yet she hired another gc for a few days a week, instead of keeping me for those days. Where is the help the UFT promised us? Several principals have said to me that no money in budget is no excuse.

The school that I taught in for twelve years was closed,and I was put into the ATR pool. In thirty years of teaching I have 1) been teacher of the year, 2) had thirty years of satisfactory ratings, 3) been one of the teachers that was asked to create the music curriculum that the city used, 4) helped several students get scholarships, 5) had the highest number of students from any one junior-high school in the all-city junior high school orchestra, 6) trained students that have gone on to professional careers in music. I have been completely ignored ten times when I have applied for positions that were posted via the DOE website. On the two occasions when I was asked to come to a group interview, all of the other candidates (who for the most part were much younger that me) gave up and said "there is no way that we can compete with this guy". However, I was never even invited back for the second round of interviews. So far this school year, as I have been traveling through the schools (which I don't mind so much really) I have come across three of my former students who are now teachers, and they all said that I helped to inspire them to become teachers (guess I haven't done such a bad job after all).

Then there is this testimony, which echoes disturbing stories that are coming in privately every few days: that ATRs are getting U ratings for observations of lessons in substitute situations. The UFT knows that the DOE wins nearly every U rating appeal, yet it agreed to this evaluation program from the outset, going along with the ploy that this was just a pilot program in just a few districts. What a way to end a career.

I am 64, after 18 years of service my school closed and was replaced by two new schools with young principals who in turn hired young, inexperienced teachers. During 18 years, I never received a U rating. Recently, I was observed out of my subject and grade, and I received my first U because I could not control three students. I was told that even though I did not know their names and they did not know me, I am supposed to be able to control them and teach, although their own classroom teacher could not control them. I will retire soon in Florida.


  1. I wonder if you sent this to the Times if they would print it!

  2. Does anyone know what the rights of an ATR are? I just entered the pool and was treated very badly at the school I was assigned to. They did not give me a schedule until 11 am - just told me to go to a class and take over. No one introduced themselves - couldn' t tell who the school aide, AP, secretary or principal was. They didn't tell me where the bathroom was, the teacher room, etc. The letter I received from downtown did not state the time of start for the school or the name of the person I was reporting to. When I asked about getting a professional period, someone (it may have been that principal) told me that they don't have professional periods at that school and all meetings are done during teachers' preps. She said because it was a 7 period school. I counted and it is an 8 period school. Is this true in elementary schools - they don't get a professional period. I am new to all of this but I was not treated very professionally.

    Thank you.