Friday, June 15, 2018
The ATR Pool Attacked Once Again. This Time By The Citizen's Budget Commission.
The nonpartisan and anti-teacher Citizen's Budget Commission (CBC) in an error filed analysis blasted the City and the UFT that allows teachers to remain in the ATR pool indefinitely. According to the CBC report, the ATR pool costs the DOE $136 million dollars in the school year Their solution? Give the ATRs a six month time limit. While I do not question the number, I do question the CBC's motives and their lack of exploring the real cause of the ATR pool..
In the next few months the City will be negotiating with the unions, including the UFT. The City will most certainly ask for an ATR time limit as they have done since the creation oif the ATR pool. Just as certain, the UFT will reject an ATR time limit, reminding the City of the deal that was made between DOE's Chancellor Joel Klein and UFT President, Randi Weingarten that allowed principals to hire whom they pleased while excessing veteran teachers into the ATR pool. Part of the sleazy DOE-UFT agreement was that there would not be a time limit for excessed teachers who enter the ATR pool. From the day the infamous 2005 contract was signed, Chancellor Joel Klein has tried to get the UFT to agree to an ATR time limit and has pushed the media to write articles that condemn the ATR pool. From the Liberal New York Times to the Reformy Chalkbeat, to the Conservative Wall Street Journal and New York Post, all the media demonizes the ATR pool.
Since Joel Klein left the DOE the three other Chancellors have also pushed fir a time limit and to the union's credit, they point out that the time limit is non-negotiable since it was part of the new hiring process agreed to by both parties in 2005. Moreover, if the union was to accept an ATR time limit, the other municipal unions would loudly object and probably sue as a violation of the Civil Service law since it would set a slippery slope of diminished worker "due process" as all unions under "collective bargaining" would be forced to accept having excessed members who no longer can bump less senior members out of their job and with an arbitrary time limit can be fired.
The CBC's report fails to discuss the real culprit of the ATR pool,which is Fair Student Funding that penalizes principals who hire veteran teachers and incentivizes schools to "hire the cheapest and not the best teachers" for their school. It's too bad that the CBC report failed to address the deeper issues like school based fair student funding, large class sizes, poor leadership, and tight school budgets as the real causes of academic underachievement.