ATR Agreement that required principals to hire ATRs for vacancies and long-term (30 days or greater) leaves that existed in their school. However, the DOE chose to thumb their collective nose at the ATR Agreement and ignored union complaints about principals violating the ATR Agreement. Like almost all UFT/DOE agreements, the ATR Agreement lacked enforceability and the union eventually filed a grievance that the DOE was not living up to their part of the ATR Agreement. Despite massive principal violations, the ATR population shrank to 831 by April of 2012, thanks to a two-year DOE hiring freeze. In the fall the DOE, not wanting the Arbitrator to rule against them, agreed to enforce the ATR Agreement and told principals that they must staff their long-term positions and vacancies with ATRs. According to Michael Mulgrew, there will be few ATRs whom would travel weekly to different schools with the implementation of the DOE enforced ATR Agreement. How wrong he was. What he didn't take into account was the DOE's lifting the hiring freeze and principals still refusing to comply with the ATR Agreement and suffered no consequences for their actions by the DOE. The result is that the ATR pool jumped to 1475 as of the winter of 2012-13 from 831 at the beginning of the Spring in the 2011-12 school year.
The increase of ATRs this school year can be attributed to the DOE's lifting of a hiring freeze which resulted in the hiring of 3,500 teachers. According to Michael Mulgrew at the January 17th Delegate Assembly, already 1,000 of these new hires have left the system. However, did ATRs replace these 1,000 teachers? The answer is no and it is very evident that the principals have ignored the ATR Agreement and continue to do as they please. While the union seems to be too busy with the teacher evaluation issue to publicly complain about the apparent violation and non-compliance of the ATR Agreement by the DOE, the abuse to the ATR rights continues.
While it is far too late to see a significant change in both our union and DOE policy with regard to the ATR. I can only hope that when the union negotiates a contract with the next Mayor, it should require that all ATRs be placed into classroom positions and use the November 2008 ATR incentive that allowed Principals to hire ATRs at "newbie teacher" salaries with the DOE picking up the difference.
Thanks to blogger Francesco Portelos for stumbling upon the spike in ATRs for this school year.
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