Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Chancellor Joel Klein Wants In The Next Contract - To Terminate The ATRs After Nine Months!

Chancellor Joel Klein, from the beginning, has developed a single minded approach to solve the ATR problem which he created in the infamous 2005 contract. That is to terminate the ATR! As well all know the terrible 2005 contract allowed principals to hire "newbie teachers" rather than excessed teachers in the subject field and Tweed further encouraged this hiring by implementing a flawed version of the "fair student funding" formula that actually penalize principals who hire experienced senior teachers. Hence, the ATR crises. Now Joel Klein was quoted in the biased anti-teacher New Yorker Rubber Room article as saying the following:

The teachers’-union contract comes up for renewal in October, and Klein told me that he plans to push for a time limit of nine months or a year for reserve teachers to find new positions, after which they would be removed from the payroll. “If you can’t find a job by then, it’s a pretty good indicator that you’re not looking or you’re not qualified,” he said.

If that doesn't tell you about Joel Klein's evil intention of what he wants to do with the ATRs, then I guess you don't understand English. Furthermore, the article also writes about Joel Klein's philosophy for hiring "newbie teachers" .

Until this year, the city was hiring as many as five thousand new teachers annually to fill vacancies, while the teachers on the reserve list stayed there. This meant that, in keeping with Klein’s goals, new blood was coming into the schools—recruits from Teach for America or from fellowship programs, as well as those who enter the profession the conventional way.

Since there are at least 2,000 ATRs in the system (as of August 22nd) the ATRs represent a powerful force and they must contact our new non-elected President, Michael Mulgrew and let him know that giving a time limit to ATRs is a tenure issue and is not negotiable in this and any other contract. Hear that Mike?

Note: If you click on to the picture on the top right (the guillotine), this is what Klein wants to do to the ATR.


James Eterno said...

Legally, Klein has virtually no chance to get the Contract changed so he can fire people out of system seniority order. He tried and lost in the 2005 arbitration. The UFT, for whatever you think about the leadership, would not be so stupid as to agree to any process where layoffs were not done based on reverse seniority in license, particularly with all of the school closings. That would be the end of tenure. Also, we are civil servants and the law is the law.

It's time for this issue to rest in peace for good and for the press to get off of our backs.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the City and DoE carry such a heavy financial burden by creating ATRs and filling up the rubber rooms if Bloomberg and Klein never consider it as a viable option to push out senior teachers?
As someone who is currently in a TRC, I have to say that the rubber room, which is not very good in pushing out teachers, is no more than one piece of a much larger hidden agenda. Without a hidden agenda, ATR and the rubber room are just two giant machines wasting a lot of money, which is hard to imagine.

Ready2RetireIn5 said...


The Mayor for Life and his lapdog don't want the heavy financial burden, but they don't have any other way to get rid of ATR's legally. Many principals refuse to hire rubber room teachers; hence, they have to stay in the rubber rooms until they've finally had enough of the insane system they are a part of and give up (i.e - quit). The sad part is that SOME of these teachers didn't do anything to merit being treated so harshly. The media portray ALL of them to be guilty of some indiscretion and that they should be terminated from employment, but to fire these teachers without due process would be the same as being jailed for life without the opportunity to defend yourself in court.

Chaz said...

For the most part I agree with James Eterno. However, just the fact that both Bloomberg and Klein keep bringing up an ATR time limit tells me that they will not drop the issue.

While I believe, like James, that they cannot get an ATR time limit. I do think that the will continue to try to separate the ATR time limit with the tenure issue and at the least get the union to giveback due process rights.

Anonymous said...


It is sad to blame on the victims (the rubber room teachers) for not fighting harder. Teachers are trained to care, not to fight as lawyers are. Most of the rubber room teachers are in a state of shock, almost none of them are equipped to battle the destructive machines (OSI, SCI, legal services ,principals and their asskissers). The amount of resources the DoE possesses is just completely overwhelming not mentioning the media coverage and misinformation campaign waged by DoE. The only group that has any chance to fight back is UFT, but they are no where to be found.
Determined to fight back, you really have to be ready to litigate the matter in courts, but any litigation is a major mental and financial undertaking. Court litigation against DOE probably only freezes them up, the chances of winning are still quite slim.

Ready2RetireIn5 said...


...and so, the WALMARTization of our school system continues slowly, contract to contract.

ed notes online said...

I disagree with James about laying this issue to rest. There will be nothing obvious - maybe some kind of buyout for current ATRs and maybe something to sell out future ATRs. State tenure law is under attack by Obama and with talk of a state constitutional convention who knows what will happen?

The UFT may even be rooting for the Obama/Duncan plan to use stimulus money as a wedge against tenure. Then they can put up a "massive" fight only to lose galantly and tell the members they tried.

Here is a piece I put up at ed notes:

Creating ATRs a Key Part of Privatization Plan

What follows is similar to the same plan being put into place in urban areas nation wide, and indeed, around the world as part of the neo-liberal agenda.

The corporate forces looking to control public education have an executable plan only of the union cooperated. And the UFT sure did. And does.

We need to connect all the dots in the DOE ATR plan as it ties into the ultimate goal of privatizing the public school system and removing unionized teachers as a force. (Note that other than the US, teachers often are leading national struggles in many countries - see Mexico, Honduras, Puerto Rico.)

Remember the goal: to have a school system with as few union teachers as possible. Thus, closing numbers of schools, especially the large high schools, which have seen an influx of charter schools full of non unionized teachers (anyone have a big rat to put in front of them?) Or the UFT for being part of the process?

The other part of the equation is to have a massive influx of new, low salaried teachers and push out the high salaried ones.

How does the ATR situation tie in? They needed to kill the seniority system as a first step in their plan. Imagine if they closed all these schools under the old system? All the teachers would start bumping people all over the place, just as we all went through in our careers.

So, they took a temporary hit in the 2005 contract in the sense of agreeing to keep paying all these people as a temporary stage. Call it an investment in the long term goal of a non-unionized, privatized system.

Now we are going to phase 2, which we call the buy-out phase, where they will pay up front to get people to leave or pull a Michelle Rhee and offer big bumps in salary to teachers who agree to give up their tenure.

For those who don't jump, there are the public attacks on the ATRs by the New Teacher Project's Tim Daley, Klein and the press who will demand a Chicago system where ATRs get to sub for one year and if they have no job they are released.

But since there will be a continuous stream of ATRs as they close more schools, they need to modify the contract. They will do that in the usual way – bribe the UFT with salary, another short term investment since they know they will reduce the ranks of the union by huge chunks in the long run. Then we will see massive school closings for all kinds of reasons, like 12 kids sneezed. (All they have to do is make the tests harder for a year or two and fail more schools.)

Look for some little nudge in this direction in the new contract. It will be subtle to get people to vote for it but it will give BloomKlein a wedge to move their plans forward.

Chaz said...

I agree with Norm on this one. Except about the UFT rooting to get rid of tenure.

Anonymous said...

Chaz, do you know whether or not there have ever been any Education Law §310 appeals to the Commissioner of Education in Albany about the various problems and concerns relating to ATRs?

We have a new Commissioner now, David Steiner, who will be taking over on October 1st.

Perhaps he'll be more sympathetic to teachers than Richard Mills was.

But even when Mills was Commissioner, a teacher's appeal was sustained every now and then.

Here are two appeals on the topic of "unsatisfactory" ratings:

Chaz, check out the following webpage carefully. Do you think ATR-related problems and concerns should be taken to the Commissioner?

John Elfrank-Dana said...

A point the Times writer doesn't seem to know is that ATRs are funded centrally and not out the school's budget. When a principal hires a new teacher they are paid for from the school budget. What principal, in these cash strapped times, wants to add to payroll???

That's got more to do with it than discriminating against older teachers.

Anonymous said...

Check out todays New York Daily News editorial regarding the ATR's.

John Elfrank-Dana said...

one more thing...
even if hiring ATRs is cheaper for the school than hiring a new teacher, the school can still use an ATR to fill some classes if they can hide them or just offer enough to avoid creating a full position.

so, a savings of $20K+ by using an ATR instead of a hired teacher amounts to a lot of per-session for an administrator and his cronies.

Anonymous said...

We are told by the DoE and the UFT to look for jobs. But how can we when the official transfer login site

has the following "need not apply" message?:

"Important Note to All Users – Read Before Attempting to Register or Log In:
This system will not recognize user accounts from the Excess Staff Selection System or user accounts from prior Open Market periods. If this is your first login attempt for this Open Market period, please register as a new user."

A cookie must indicate that my PC belongs to an ATR, because this subtitle appears early in the webpage:
"Excessed Staff Selection System - Sign In"

Activists and reporters need to know: we can't apply to schools even if we want to. This flies in the face of official policy saying that ATRs have priority.

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