Wednesday, April 27, 2016
How Principals Scam The ATR System - The Provisional Appointment.
Susan Edelman of the New York Post has for months tried to get a breakdown of the ATRs who were permanently appointed, provisionally filling a vacancy or long term assignment, and who were left in the ATR pool. Moreover, the age and experience for each group would be helpful in determining if there is discrimination (in my view there definitely is). The DOE has so far, refused to break down the information and for good reason. They know full well that the data would show age and salary discrimination in hiring ATRs permanently for their vacancies. I have written repeatedly that the DOE's fair student formula is a major disincentive for principals to hire highly experienced ATRs, add that to the seniority issue when an ATR is appointed, and their institutional memory, few experienced ATRs are permanently appointed.
At first, principals refused to hire ATRs as then Chancellor Joel Klein called them "unwanted teachers" in a Principal's weekly message. More importantly, the New York City schools saw a massive influx of inferior "Leadership Academy Principals", many of them with little or no classroom experience who thought they were CEO's of their schools rather than instructional role models and saw veteran teachers as a threat to their lack of educational experience. As the recession hit, the DOE had no choice but to offer schools incentives to hire ATRs for their school. Of all the incentives, the only one that was partially successful was a one year program in 2009-10 that allowed schools to appoint highly experienced ATRs at a beginning salary and have the DOE pay the difference for the first eight years. Since that time, all the ATR incentives have met with failure, despite the UFT's leadership attempting to put lipstick on a pig.
The latest iteration has increased the selection of ATRs from the pool to cover vacancies and other long-term assignments. However, most every one of these provisionally appointed ATRs are excessed at the end of the school year as principals have no intention of hiring the ATR permanently, regardless how well they do their job. While the amount of ATRs who go from a provisional to permanent placement is a closely held secret by the DOE and UFT, anecdotal evidence tell me its in single digits percentage wise. Those selected were mostly younger and untenured teachers who cost less, and have little or no seniority.
The DOE told the media their were 1,083 teachers in the ATR pool and that 500 ATRs were given full time positions. However, how many of those 500 ATRs were permanently appointed? Very few, if any. The vast majority were placed there provisionally and will be excessed at the end of the school year. In fact some ATRs, myself included, has been picked up by the same school two years in a row, in apparent violation of the spirit if not the rule of the ATR agreement. How do principals get away with this? Easy, they know how to scam the system, be it "credit recovery", graduation rates, ICT class abuses, or the ATR agreement. Knowledgeable principals can scam the system and be rewarded for it and they know it.
Unless and until the DOE changes the hiring rules and our disconnected union leadership demands that ATRs be permanently placed in their District vacancy and not be loaned out on a provisional basis will things change for the better.