Thursday, February 14, 2008

What Will Really Happen TO The ATR's?

One of the questions the union gets. Can ATR's be terminated? Not likely, even under Randi's giveback contracts. Further, it is highly unlikely that she will ever agree to an ATR time limit (18 months in Chicago)? However, it is not impossible that an ATR time limit will be negotiated based upon her past performance as president of the UFT. Will teacher tenure be negotiable? Not a chance. Even Randi the sellout wouldn't stand for that. I hope.

However, the DOE budget changes will sharply limit the chance of experienced (highly-paid) ATR's from, obtaining a classroom teaching position. That is because the DOE will no longer adjust the school budget based upon teacher salaries. Presently, if a principal hires a highly-qualified teacher who makes $80,000 a year and that person replaces a $50,000 a year teacher, the budget for the school is increased by $30,000.

Under Fair Student Funding (FSF) that won't be true anymore. In In the 2008-09 school year if the principal decides to hire a $80,000 a year teacher to replace a $50,000 a year teacher, the school budget would have $30,000 less to pay for other school priorities. Further, the school will be accountable to fund any future raises. Therefore, the school would have even less money for other activities.

While the DOE may delay the FSF budget until the 2009-10 school year by adjusting the schoolwide average teacher pay, eventually, it will result in financial pressure for principals to hire newbie (cheap) teachers. Yes, the DOE claims that since school principals can never pocket any surplus funds, there is no incentive not to hire experienced teachers since the principals are graded on their student achievement. However, what the DOE fails to understand is that many principals will be happy to fund their "pet projects" at the expense of the classroom teacher. For example, the principal can hire one of those highly paid consulting firms to run after school learning and staff development programs. Therefore, if the principal wants to fund these expensive "extras, they will be inclined to hire cheaper teachers to ensure the money is available.

The UFT should have immediately filed a lawsuit to protect excessed teachers and ensure that no newbie teacher can be hired in their content specialty area until all excessed teachers are placed. Instead the UFT begged the DOE to reconsider and Kleinberg appeared to throw Randi a bone by delaying the implementation of FSF for a year. Big deal, what happens after that? Many principals look long-range and don't want to add more salary. Therefore, look for the ATR crises to worsen under FSF as Randi becomes the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president.

Thanks Randi for protecting the classroom teacher. With friends like you we don't need enemies.

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