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. .