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.