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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Weingarten defended ATRs' reputation - We need that today

When ATRs were disparged nine years by Joel Klein and the DOE, then president of the UFT Randi Weingarten defended ATRs' reputation:
"These are good teachers, mostly from closing schools. But rather than create a win-win situation, the system - despite repeated requests - refused to deal with these issues."
She recognized that the school funding system helped prejudice against the hiring of ATRs. The UFT argued that in creating the Fair Student Funding formula the DOE created a disincentive for principals to hire teachers. The UFT reported:
"The lawsuit argues that the DOE essentially shifted from an age-neutral system to one that has a disparate impact on older teachers."
[Sources: 'The New York Teacher,' approximately April, 2008]
Saturday the New York Times published a front page attack on ATRs. As the NYC Educator blog pointed out in 'Doing to the New York Times What the Times Does to ATR Teachers,' the Times engaged in broad stereotyping. The blog piece pointed out numerous instances of gross failures in professionalism in the Times' piece. While every professions has their bad apples, stereotyping a class of teachers is wrong. It is improper and unprofessional for the Times to engage in stereotyping.

There was placement of ATRs in NYC schools up until the 2011 to 2012 academic year, with none of the concerted media attack we see today --something that the DOE and the UFT conveniently ignore today. There was no rotation, a fraudulent program whereby both the DOE and the UFT argued that this would help expose ATRs' skills to schools, enabling them to get picked up --when both entities knew that ATRs face slim chance of placement, given the financial incentive for administrators to go with inexperienced teachers. Rotation (jobs program of field suervisors for displaced CSA members) was a compromise that only came up because Bloomberg wanted to end Last In, First Out., similar to today: the media was running stories contending that veteran teachers were worse than newer ones, and were an impediment to ideal staffing. Again, Weingarten has argued at the national level that students do better with experienced teachers.

The treatment of ATRs was actually better under Joel Klein than under Carmen Farina. Oh, how new times create new thinking!

The teachers and counselors in the New York City Department of Education Absent Teacher Reserve are waiting for the UFT leadership's response to the attack on the dignity and reputation of ATRs.

ATRs, what would you write in response to the Times' calumny?


  1. Weingarten should never have pushed that 2005 contract. It was the beginning of the end of many schools and teacher's careers. Those of us that have survived are constantly vilified. She put us in the dunk tank at the circus and then told everyone not to aim at us. She hand picked Mulgrew and he is her puppet. Everything he does and doesn't do goes through her, including the dropping of the age discrimination suit and his deafening silence.

    1. Most of this is true, but the fact remains the leader defended ATRs, unlike today.

  2. Things always look better when you look back and reflect however weingarten in my mind is still calling the shots for the Uft and everything mulgrew does and says goes through weingarten.

    I cannot prove it but both must be taking payouts in my mind because they have both played a hand in ruining this profession

  3. I agree that the UFT should defend us, but Randi was the pivotal point for stopping Bloomberg and instead pushed his devious plan through via the 2005 contract. She is an example of what not to do as a leader.

  4. We were dead in 05. We were on the verge of being forced into a strike that would have divided the membership and initiated a cascade of unpredictable ramifications. Bloomberg offered a deal and Randi took it. Perhaps it was unwise. Perhaps a strike would have ushered us into the Promised Land. But it was a risk.

    My point is this. Remember to put the 05 contract in context when you criticize it. And, yes, the criticism is often valid.

    1. I've heard that phrase a lot in terms of statues of slave owners - I never thought I'd hear it as a defense for Randi's 2005. Even in the context of 2005 it was a horrific choice for the rank and file. Maybe we should have her bust carved in marble for the UFT's tombstone.

  5. The 05 contract gave the principals more power and created the atr system.

    We did get the no layoff clause so I will credit weingarten with that.

    However, I have to ask, is it better to ‘have a job’ or actually enjoy the job?

    Weingarten and now mulgrew have done that to teaching. Great we get a paycheck.

    But who takes pride in teaching anymore?

    I’m around 40 years old and have been disgruntled at least a decade.

    The climate of this job has turned me into a yes man.

    That is not good and that starts with the union at its top

    Weingarten and mulgrew are fake. They smile and say everything is great.

  6. Discrimination and harassment of the most experienced teachers need to stop.

  7. I am a 2nd year ATR producing an ATR documentary. If you want to participate please email me at

  8. This is all about harassment and age duscrimination. Field Supervisors are told to aggressively destroy ATRS who do not have classes of the own.

  9. Field Supervisors are harassing ATRS to resign or retire. They are writing ridiculous observations while the UFT watches how the most experienced workforce is being abused.