ATRs, the unrepresented -- no elected representatives in the UFT

"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.
"To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another."
Thomas Paine, First Principles of Government

Hello, ATRs are suing

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Allies Wanted: Apply Within - ATR responds to analysis of last week's decisions impacting NYC schools

An ATR writes:
  To the brave New Yorkers of Class size Matters, 

      To this day, I have not seen your organization come out and support and promote the permanent placement of displaced teachers, known as ATRs, into the schools of our great city.  For those of you who are unaware of these teachers, we were displaced out of our classrooms only to be on a monthly rotation, during the school year. The argument can and is made that "forced placement" of excessed teachers has been and was non-productive.  And to that statement, I whole heartily agree.  No one wants to work in a hostile environment.  What we in the ATR pool have been fighting for is the:

1. Elimination of the ATR classification.  This classification brands many good and decent teachers as failures because of the Bloomberg/Klein school closing policies, which directly contributed to the excessed teacher pool.

2. Elimination of the so called "Fair funding" policy, period.  This funding practice gave the school principals control of their staff's salaries.  To this day, I have not heard of one ATR that has 10 or more years of DOE service being appointed to a school.  The purpose of this funding policy was to eliminate senior teachers from the school budget.

     It has been argued that this needs to be negotiated under the present school contract.  How can the union argue for the elimination of these two barriers if the parents of the city have no idea what the problem is?  What needs to be done is for this organization to make the Dept. of Education's dirty little secret known to the parents.  The questions will start to be asked and answers must be given that will satisfy the concerns of the parents.  To argue that there are some "bad apples," please excuse the pun, in the ATR rolls is 100% correct.  I am not advocating for them.  I am fighting for the teachers, who for the last 20 years have gotten up each morning at 5AM or earlier, come in, do the best that they can and then work until midnight, or later, grading and marking student's work.  

   It is said that to be a NYC teacher, one must work at least 5 years to be considered experienced enough to handle the day-to-day problems faced in the classroom.  Why demonize and attack the very people that have the experience needed to handle these problems.  Would any of you go to an oncologist just out of med school to treat stage 2 or worse cancer, or would you seek the most experienced doctor money could buy?  Oh and I'll bet a month's salary that the doctor you'd choose was taught by experienced teachers.  Then, why would you allow the system to allow good, caring and yes, EXPERIENCED teachers to be allowed to wither in a system that is designed to do nothing other than the forced retirement, resignation, or termination or people who have been demoralized due to this treatment.

   In conclusion, we are asking class size matters to make this apart of your goal to bring down class sizes by helping bring this disgraceful abuse to an end once and for all. 

Thank you, 


On Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 2:32 PM, Class Size Matters <> wrote:
Dear      ,
I wanted to update you on the state deal announced yesterday and the city budget deal finalized the day before, especially as they affect our public schools.
1.  The state deal between the leaders of the Legislature and the Governor known as the “big ugly” could have been uglier. It did not include the huge giveaway to billionaires and private schools in the form of a voucher-like education tax credit, but instead would provide an additional $250 million in state funds sent directly to private and parochial schools to pay for various services. The property tax cap that is hurting education funding outside NYC will remain mostly unchanged.
In NYC, mayoral control will be extended – but only for one year, which could allow parents and advocates more time to organize to reform the system. As for testing, more questions will be released after the state exams are given, and teachers will be allowed to talk about the exams afterward, though whether this will have any effect on these highly flawed tests or Common Core standards is yet to be seen.
The deal also included a slight lifting of the charter cap – as 22 new slots out of a total of 50 for NYC, ineligible under the old cap will now be allowed, and three more to be re-allocated to the city from the rest of the state. As Speaker Heastie pointed out, the Republicans in the Senate are eager to direct charter schools to NYC, though never to their own districts.
NYC already has the vast majority of charters, and because of last year’s budget deal has the legal obligation to provide all new and expanding charters with free space at the city expense, while already suffering from the worst school overcrowding and the highest real estate costs in the state. It could have been much worse of course. The Governor and the Senate leaders originally wanted to raise the cap by 100 and remove all geographical restrictions, which could have meant 250 additional charters flooding NYC instead of 25 more.
Ironically, during his press conference, Cuomo cited the overcrowding in NYC public schools as one of the reasons the state needed to support the parochial schools; to keep them open especially as so many NYC public schools still have trailers.
2.  Speaking of overcrowding, despite the overwhelming need, nothing was accomplished in the city budget to expand its inadequate capital plan to build more schools – a plan that provides less than half the seats necessary. Little new at all was added to the education budget through the Council’s negotiations; except for 50 more phys ed teachers, 80 more crossing guards, and free breakfast given to elementary school students in their classrooms. (Never mind that because of school overcrowding, many students are assigned to lunch as early as 10 AM or as late as 2 PM). Oh yes, we will also get 1300 more police. According to the Commissioner Bratton, he intends to put many of them outside schools. (!)
I wish I had better news to report, but we’re not giving up when there are at least half a million students attending overcrowded schools with huge class sizes every day, and the situation worsening– without the city providing any real plan to address this crisis.
Talk to you soon,
Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011

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