Tuesday, October 19, 2010

“D”Day" Approaches As Tweed Informs Principals That Any Vacancy They Have Must Be Filled Or Else - ATRs Beware Of The "Mandatory Interview"

Well, the day is finally arriving as principals who refused to hire ATRs for their vacancies and hoping that Tweed would give them an exemption to hire “newbie teachers” have been told in a Principals’ e-mail that any teaching vacancy will be charged against the school budget if not filled by the October 29th. Whether the DOE will actually do it is anybody’s guess but they do seem serious about filling the vacancies with the ATRs.

While some principals deliberately tried to hide the vacancies from the Open Market Transfer System and other principals were interviewing “newbie teachers” in the hope that Tweed would lift the hiring freeze at the last minute. Many of the vacancies are in bad neighborhoods, have geographic issues, no parking, student discipline problems, high teacher turnover, and worst of all an Administration from hell. In essence many of these vacancies are in schools that nobody wants to teach in and if you are an ATR, you do not have to take it if the school is not in your district!

Many an ATR have received e-mail notices from the DOE informing them that a “mandatory interview” is being set up with the principals of these troubled schools. While you may have little choice in going to this “mandatory interview” you do not have to take the position. In fact, it might be worth your time to e-mail the Principal and tell him or her that you believe your presence at the interview is a “waste of time” since you have no intention of accepting the position in a school that is not in the district. This will save time and effort and hopefully will get the Principal to realize it is a waste of time to interview you.

Don’t listen to the people who claim that the ATRs have a time limit. No such time limit exists. I know of a few people who have been ATRs for four years! Not only will our union not allow for the ATR time limit (see what happened to the union in Chicago when they allowed an ATR time limit, Here and Here) but the other unions see this as an attack on civil service protections and will never allow it. While our union leadership has taken a decidedly neutral position on these “mandatory interviews” in troubled schools, please realize that if you accept the position, you are stuck there for the entire school year and you might even lose your district rights if you don’t fight for it at the end of the school year.

Please, do not take a vacancy in a school outside your district unless you like the school and it is equivalent to the school you were excessed from. Remember, you are dealing from a position of strength, the DOE cannot force you to take a position out of your district and if you were under 3020-a charges and agreed to a settlement. Make sure in the settlement that you can only go back to your district.


Anonymous said...

I am an ATR that was hired by a principal to fill a position in a school. The DOE sent me a letter congratulating me. A few days later(after getting the job), I was told by the administration that the job was cancelled by the DOE because I couldn't change licenses. I would like to know where in the ATR UFT Agreement says that ATRs cannot change licenses to get hired.

Under Assault said...

To Anon. : I haven't found any wording about not being able to change license to take a job (as long as you have that license in your back pocket). Let them show you the wording.

Chaz: where you say "you might even lose your district rights if you don’t fight for it at the end of the school year." The UFT told us at the start of all this ATR business -- at least as far back as 2007, maybe even earlier -- that it was not in the ATR's interest to look for a job because s/he might lose his/her right of return to the original school if his/her old position opened up again the following year. I don't think that was ever resolved, have you heard anything about that?

Let me rephrase the question: What happens if after a year working in another school, as an ATR or as a probationary person, your old position opens up: Do you have the right to get your old job back?


Chaz said...


My understanding is that once you left your position for a new position for a full calendar year. The DOE does not have to give you your previous position back. However, if you are still an ATR, I do not believe that rule applies.

I am talking about the ATRs who actually accept these vacancies.

Under Assault said...

And the UFT is not helping anyone by not clarifying what happens under each circumstance. We're all just guessing.

From personal experience I know that if the DoE sends you somewhere and the principal wants you, you must take the job. The first time this happened to me, I was sent from a MS to an Elem. school in the same district. The DoE told me I had to take the job, and told the principal she had to hire me or they'd close her existing music position down entirely. Nice, huh? That was in 2003. When I was excessed in 2007, I was sent OUT of district on an interview. I would have had to take it, but the principal decided to hold off when he learned that I was in arbitration for my original job. (Wise man. I did get my job back.)

I never heard of being able to refuse a job offered to you -- in or out of district. I HAVE heard of people dressing poorly, not combing their hair, smelling and all sorts of other things to create a bad impression for a job they don't want.

All this aside, if you're offered a job you don't want but you are being forced (like I was to take), why shouldn't you have the right of return to your old job if it opens up? Or maybe you can. Who knows. In any case, that's the LEAST the UFT could do to help the ATR out. But, I don't think they're bothering. More like dithering.

Anonymous said...

I am an atr at a school without a vacancy but they made a PE and AIS program for me. I was mandated to interview at a down in the dumps school out of my district and said no based on that fact.

Mt question is....what will happen to atrs in a school with out a vacancy? And what if they don't create a position?