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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

An ATR goes vs. a NY Post hit piece on ATRs

A retired ATR response to a negative letter in the New York  Post for hit piece on ATRs.

Dear Mr. Benjamin,

Your opinion piece today on "Rubberrooms" is misinforming readers and disparaging ATRs. 

The NYCDOE has allowed ATRs to be discriminated against by not permanently placing them in vacant positions. Even though the DOE says it has placed 500 ATR teachers into regular positions,  the reality is that most of these teachers were placed provisionally and then dismissed at the end of the school year, going back to the ATR pool. In this way, principals were not charged the full cost of these teachers to their budgets. In effect, the DOE allows principals to manipulate and misuse the ATR pool. That is why, they do not want to give out specific information about ATR numbers and placements.

In addition, the NYCDOE hires four to five thousand new teachers every year while the ATR pool stays at around one thousand teachers on average. Therefore, if you are an ATR, you will likely not be hired on a permanent basis due to principals wanting to save money on their budgets by hiring new teachers.. It has nothing to due with teacher quality.

It is a mistake to disparage these teachers as "dysfunctional and ineffective", associating them with "Rubber Rooms." Most of these teachers were excessed from their schools. Some went through 3020a hearings because of their whistleblowing to protect student, parent or teacher interests at the school level. There are many ineffective and vindictive principals who use the evaluation process to punish teachers who want the UFT contract adhered to or report Special Education violations or speak out about ineffective school leadership teams, for example.

Instead of disparaging teachers for being in the ATR pool, they should be  placed in vacancies and fairly  evaluated for their  performance as other teachers.  The DOE is costing taxpayers over 100 million dollars a year, as you reported, when the simple solution is to place these experienced teachers into permanent vacancies.

The idea that ATRs are "bad" teachers"  and negatively affecting the schools they are being sent to without any  evidence is an absurd and  biased opinion that is scapegoating good, experienced teachers, who through no fault of their own, are trapped in in the ATR pool .  

 I would welcome the opportunity to write a published rebuttal to your " Post Opinion."

James Calantjis
Middle Village,NY

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