Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Despite A Shortage Of Science & Special Education Teachers The ATRs In These Areas Are Still Not Being Hired. Look At Ageism As The Reason

In August the DOE, citing a shortage of Science and Special Education teachers, rescinded the ban on hiring "newbie teachers" for these subject areas. However, many Principals and DOE service centers still continued to hire inexperienced teachers despite having ATR teachers available to them in those subject areas and Tweed just turns a blind eye to this terrible practice. In a New York Times article Many of the Principals interviewed for the article admitted that they are circumventing the hiring freeze by various means. Below is what the principals said.

Several principals — who did not want their names published for fear of angering the administration or the teachers’ union — said they were circumventing the restrictions by offering new teachers jobs as long-term substitutes or hiring them as specialized teachers but placing them in regular classrooms. Some said they planned to eliminate open positions from their budgets rather than take on teachers they considered undesirable, and others said they were holding out in the hope that Mr. Klein would lift the restrictions.

I also wrote about the Principal's intent not to hire ATRs as long as possible Here. Now I have been informed of a specific case dealing with how a DOE organization refused to give a highly qualified special education teacher her job back, despite glowing letters by the two principals she worked with.

The story starts with the veteran special education teacher with 20+ years in service being loaned to the DOE organization because of their need for an experienced special education teacher to work with two schools who were in desperate need of resource room services for their special education students. Since the teacher was an ATR, Tweed was responsible for her salary not the DOE organization she worked for. This year the teacher was told to report back to the DOE organization and she hoped that with the glowing written recommendations she received from the two principal and the other administrators of the two schools, would allow her to continue doing the job she was given the previous year. However, to her shock and dismay, the supervisors of the DOE organization refused to consider her for the position she had previously and instead hired a "newbie teacher" who had no experience with the children, Why would the DOE's organization supervisors hire a "newbie teacher" over a highly-qualified teacher when they would cost the same to their budget (ATR agreement)? The answer is simple its about the age. See the highly-qualified teacher is over 50 and when the supervisors say jump, she is likely to say "why". While the 25 year old "newbie teacher" responds by saying "how high"? To add salt to the wound, the supervisors asked the now jobless ATR to train the "newbie teacher" on what she needs to know and do at the two schools. If that wasn't bad enough the DOE organization is busy interviewing other "newbie teachers" for more special education jobs and this teacher was not even given a courtesy interview for these jobs. Just disgusting.

Age discrimination is rampant throughout the ATR population and hiring practices are dictated by insecure administrators that are best for them rather than what's best for the children with special needs. DOE's "children last" continues.


Pissedoffteacher said...

Heres a good one for you--since Spec ed teachers can be hired, teachers with other licenses are being ceritfied and hired as spec ed and then farmed out to the department that needs them.

I am pretty sure our UFT guy was able to stop this in my school, but if it is happening here it is happening all over.

Anonymous said...

Left in the pool: Principals not hiring teachers from closed schools, despite financial incentives
by Rachel Monahan
Daily News Staff Writer

Friday, September 11th 2009, 4:00 AM

Savulich for NewsTeacher Camille LoParrino: There's a lot of gems out there that are not getting picked up. Related NewsArticlesMom sues city to speed cleanup of Bronx school's PCBsSpace crunch keeps kids at home as classes begin in city Space crunch keeps kids at home as classes begin in cityStella D'oro set to move operations to OhioWorkers shudder over Stella D'oro shutteringMoney muddle hits Working Families PartyNew MTA chairman Jay Walder planning major changesCity principals balked at hiring teachers from closing schools this summer - even though they were offered financial incentives, the Daily News has learned.

The Education Department last November instituted the incentives to reduce what's now a pool of 1,613 teachers working as high-priced substitutes and costing taxpayers more than $137 million a year.

Even so, principals aren't snapping the teachers up.

"[Being in the pool] kind of puts a cloud over those people," said Principal James Harrigan of Public School 229 in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.

Harrigan hired four teachers this summer based on references from fellow principals - but none from closed schools.

"It's probably unfair," he added. "I took the recently excessed people because I felt more comfortable in my relationship with their principals.

"The recent people were excessed for budget reasons. ... The year before, a lot of it was school closures."

Some principals accepted the subsidy and hired 188 teachers, or 17%, of the 1,134 eligible teachers.

The subsidy lasts eight years and covers the difference in salary between a first-year teacher and a senior teacher who has been in the pool since at least November.

About 52% of the 1,960 teachers who lost their permanent jobs at schools this spring have since been hired. The vast majority of them lost jobs for budget reasons.

A hiring freeze was instituted to make sure the pool didn't grow after schools were told they had to cut their budgets.

Nonetheless, the pool grew by 500 teachers since this time last year.

"Principals have the final say over the teachers they hire and can choose teachers specifically suited to their students' needs - even when their choices are limited to current staff," DOE spokeswoman Ann Forte said.

"The DOE is making a concerted effort to help these people find jobs," she added, citing job fairs and résumé-writing workshops specifically for the pool.

Teachers union President Michael Mulgrew blamed DOE officials for "disparaging" teachers who've been in the pool since at least last year and said the administration should be "applauding" their work.

"Over 70% of these teachers come from closing schools," Mulgrew said.

"The data is very clear ... as these schools close, the test scores and the performance of these schools go up," Mulgrew said. "These people are valued, tried and true employees."

Teacher Camille LoParrino, starting her third year in the pool, said she worked as a lead teacher for the Reading First program before it was scrapped for budget reasons.

She's now working as a substitute for an old mentor at School of Inquiry and Social Justice in the Bronx, hoping for a permanent opening next year, she said.

"I applied to four dozen open market jobs that first summer," she said. "The second summer, I started to lose interest.

"I sent out three dozen résumés. This summer, I sent one dozen. ... There's a lot of gems out there that are not getting picked up."

Read more:

Anonymous said...

According to the Daily News Mr. Harrigan states:
"[Being in the pool] kind of puts a cloud over those people," said Principal James Harrigan of Public School 229 in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.

I would like to ask Mr. Harrigan if he really knows the FACTS why many of the senior teachers became ATRS.

In the same aritcle of the Daily News the reporter states that "Harrigan hired four teachers this summer based on references from fellow principals - but none from closed schools. (Daily News 9/11/09).

I wonder if Mr. Harrigan followed the advice of the principals of the Academy or the hiring was based on pure CONNECTIONS OF THESE PRINCIPALS IN DYKER HEIGHTS.

Anonymous said...

Somebody should keep an eye if the principals hired ATR teachers or not.
What is the UFT doing? Sitting down and drinking coffee?

Chaz said...

I agree that our union should be obtaining a list of all new hires and make sure the principals didn't violate the hiring freeze. I have no doubt that some principals did and are getting away with it.

What are the DR's doing to ensure that the principals are following the rules?

jw said...

Chaz, that's an easy queston.

The UFT is going "fishing." They've sent out a letter to Chapter Leaders (as they always do in cases like this) to have them collect information at their schools and send it in to them. As if computers don't exist or something.

Does anyone believe CLs would be able to access this info with precision? Or have the time to do it? Or the will to go poking around in the principal's affairs under the threat of retaliation, not to mention the affairs of the teachers who often like what they've been given and don't want to have someone muck it up?

The UFT is, as ever, dumb looking on the outside, but highly efficient. They negotiated what's going on now with the DOE and got what they wanted — to play nice with the bosses for a seat at the table.

As for ATR careers, collateral damage.

NY_I said...

Thanks for posting this. The agism has to stop. It is totally unacceptable. People have to wonder when they see a school and two-thirds of the teachers are under 30.
We've got some opportunities to put a dent in the mayoral dictatorship over the schools.

Check out my blog,
for candidate recommendations for public advocate and comptroller in the September 15 Democratic Party primary.

We, the voters, need to remember that we do have opportunities to support candidates that are pledged to curb mayoral control, audit the DoE, and to replace the parent-exclusion policy with more chances for parent input.

Anonymous said...



This is a reminder that the Division of Human Resources is having a mandatory event for teachers in excess on Monday, September 21st at 1PM. The letter below should have been provided to you at your Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) site. If you have not yet received this letter, please contact the principal at your site immediately.

You are receiving this reminder because our records show that as of Monday, September 14, you are still a centrally funded excessed teacher. If you do not believe you are in excess, please email us at so we can research the issue. Unless you hear otherwise from the Teacher Hiring Support Center or a representative from either the Integrated Service Center (ISC) or Children First Network (CFN) that works with your school, you must attend this event.

Teacher Hiring Support Center

Letter Delivered to ATR Sites:

Dear Teacher,

On Monday, September 21, 2009 the New York City Department of Education will be holding a mandatory recruitment fair for teachers in excess in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island. As an excessed teacher in one of these boroughs, you are required to attend this event.

The fair will be held from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and teachers must check in no later than 1:00 PM. You should plan to report to your assigned school at the start of the school day and then travel to the fair; your school where you are currently assigned as an ATR will be notified of your absence and you will be provided with documentation of your attendance at the recruitment fair. Lunch will not be served at the fair, but you are entitled to the contracted amount of time for lunch on your own before the fair. You will be expected to stay until the end of the school day and encouraged to stay until the end of the event at 4:00PM.

The event will take place at Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215. If you need directions to this location, please use for public transportation or for driving directions. A limited amount of free parking is available on site.

As with other recruitment events held this summer, this will be an opportunity for you to meet with school representatives regarding potential vacancies. We encourage you to treat this as you would any job interview opportunity and recommend business attire as well as that you bring 10-15 copies of your resume. Note that you will be asked for a copy of your resume upon check in so that the Division of Human Resources can provide it to schools with vacancies in your subject area if you do not find a position at this event. If you need assistance on resume writing or interviewing, resources are available at the Teacher Hiring Support Center site,

If you have any questions regarding the recruitment fair, please contact the Teacher Hiring Support Center at or call us at (718) 935-5822. We look forward to seeing you at the event.


Division of Human Resources

New York City Department of Education

NY_I said...

It's good that the DoE organized the fairs. But it is a little incongruous after all the old is bad rhetoric, that they are now pushing to hire ATRs.
DunKleiRheeism is sending our society in a vulgar direction, claiming that workers are obsolete once they reach 50.
Check out my report on the Brooklyn fair at
Reward DeBlasio and Liu next Tuesday for their pledges to exercise oversight over the DoE and push for transparency.