Thursday, November 20, 2008

The ATR Agreement Shows That The DOE Lost The Tenure War - For Now

The Memorandum of Agreement between the DOE and UFT appears to be a rare win as the DOE has apparently conceded defeat and will encourage Principals to hire ATRs for any vacancies starting immediately. This agreement puts to an end, at least temporarily, the Kleinberg attack on tenure. The financial crises has forced the DOE to cry uncle and put to an end the ATR crises. According to the New York Times, the ATRs would cost $155 million dollars for the next three years. Money that the DOE does not have. Therefore, Tweed has slowly realized that continuing the insane policy of encouraging Principals to hire newbie teachers while making experienced teachers ATRs were not good for the budget in a time of need. An example of how it will work is discussed below.

A vacancy opens in School A for a middle school Math teacher. The Principal will have a list of ATRs with a middle school Math license and interview them to see if they fit the school culture. The selected ATR, who makes $85,000 will only have $45,000 charged to the school, or the salary of a newbie teacher. To further encourage the principal to hire the ATR, the DOE will not only pick up the $40,000 difference in salary but give school A $22,500 dollar one-shot fee, or half a newbie teacher salary for picking up the ATR. Tweed will continue to pay the difference in the ATR salary for the first eight years, or until the the fictitious newbie teacher reaches step 8b. How could any Principal not take advantage of this windfall and getting an experienced teacher in the process?

Finally, this Agreement sunsets on November 16, 2010 and the November date ensures that Principals do not hide vacancies at the beginning of the school year.

Reading the Agreement I cannot find any negatives in it. However, I can't guarantee that there are not any hidden understanding between the two parties and based on past negotiations I will remain suspicious. For now it really appears to be a total win for the union and therefore a win for the children and parents who will once again have experienced quality teachers back into the classroom. .


Pissed Off said...

There are negatives. Principals never wanted older teachers and used to try to hide vacancies. They still won't want them.

JUSTICE not "just us" said...

This whole "culture" of discrimnation and ageism will continue at the DOE. It is unbelievable to me that the Tweed has to "bribe" principals in order to take on veterans to the staff.
What the hell does it mean "if the veteran teacher fits into the school culture" he or she will be hired? A school culture of cheating, ass kissing, ageism, racism and cronyism is that what they mean?

Bloom/Klein has indeed brought some very sick management practices into the DOE. Giving
pyscho Principals power without oversight is asking for trouble, corruption and instablity.

Woodlass said...

I'm glad you've outlined this so clearly, but the big negative is in the clauses that creates a second-class of tenure. ATRs can be hired now on a provisional basis for a year. And there's nothing to stop them (except if this memorandum ends) from rotating ATRs. If the principal wants to waive that extra bonus he'd get for hiring them permanently, he can try them out for a year. Where do you see that with normal placements of tenured teachers (as we had before) or normal transfers from school to school?

Also, what happens with the accrual of 20 years of appointment, after which you can't be excessed? Each year one of these ATRs serves in a real position but is not really appointed might mean he's not accruing a year of usable service in that goal for 20 years.

Any dissolution of what constitutes tenure and all the rights that regularly tenured teachers have to do their job in their license is a shot at tenure. This agreement certainly is a shot at tenure.

Remember the 10 minutes that eventually turned into a whole period of extra teaching time? That is the kind of incremental giveback we've got here. It may take a few years, but this is an incremental giveback in the same way that extra 10 minutes was years ago.

I do see one little tiny positive, but not necessarily worth signing onto the memorandum for: it seems that those provisional ATRs can opt out of the job if they don't like where they end up. That's good. In the old days, you didn't have a choice: where they sent you after excessing is where you stayed.

Anonymous said...

This agreement is complicated. At present there are many schools who have ATRS for FREE because the ATRS' salaries come from CENTRAL (DOE). = (The salary is not paid from the school budget). Do you think that a principal will hire an ATR that is free to the school?

Anonymous said...

Chaz with articles like this you could soon be writing for Edwize.

Chaz said...


You do bring up some points that I have failed to consider fully. However, I do believe that for the short-term this agreement is a setback for the DOE. Further, It will be financially difficult for Principals not to hire ATRs for many positions over "newbie teachers".

I am concerned how the open market transfer system will work with this agreement. Does the ATR now have an advantage over the appointed teacher? Or does the school that picks an ATR from another school be required to pay the ATR's entire salary?


I write them as I see them and this agreement is a defeat of the DOE's plan to attack tenure by giving the ATRs a time limit. Insult me if you like but it appears the "Unity educrats got this one right for a change.

Anonymous said...

This is my 3rd year as an ATR. My salary is centrally-funded. I am a freebie for the school where I work. The principal does not pay me from her school budget. She won't hire me because if she hires me, she has to pay one-half of the starting teacher salary. Correct me if I am wrong.
Plus, imagine that another school in my district needs a teacher. I will not be lucky to get that job either because there are many ATRS floating around.
In this agreement Randy should have pushed for the HIRING FREEZE UNTIL ALL ATR TEACHERS ARE PLACED.
Thank you very much to the Ad hoc committee for supporting the ATRs, ICE members, and especially to Marjorie Stanberg and John Powers for the hard work.
See you at the RALLY

Chaz said...

pissed off & Justice:

I do agree with your concerns on ageism and I am sure those "Leadership Academy" Principals will still be reluctant to hire ATR's. However, the financial considerations may overcome this as the schools are subject to severe budget cuts and this saves them money.

Anonymous said...

another armchair activist

blog away

it makes a real difference

Chaz said...


Can you explain what you are talking about? Your comment about an "armchair activist" makes no sense without a proper context.