Monday, July 18, 2011
What Happened To the Missing 8,000 Teaching Positions? Beats Me, Except The Schools Are Not Hiring The ATRs To Fill The Positions.
Over the last three years the New York City Public School System has shed 8,000 teachers through attrition. Even with a rise of class sizes, many of the vacancies have gone unfilled and given either to a long-term substitute from outside the system, "F" status ex-employees, or ATRs. For many principals it was more of an advantage for their dwindling school budget to not fill the vacancies with high-salaried excessed experienced teachers. Instead. they would look to the above-mentioned three groups to fill the vacancies as cheaply as possible, paying them a substitutes salary.
I have spoken to numerous ATRs and not only have they not found positions but almost all of them have not even obtained an interview! The news media vilifies the ATRs as lazy, unmotivated, and "bad teachers" aided and abetted by the Bloomberg/Klein Administration. However, this is far from the truth. Take me for an example. I have applied to eight vacancies in my subject area, which is a near-shortage area. Yet, despite my resume showing all the advantages the school gets by hiring me, especially my passing percentage in the Regents, I received only one mass interview. Furthermore, the job fair I attended were dominated by Bronx and transfer schools and few Queens schools were there. Even the ones that had vacancies in my subject area!
The question is why don't I get interviews? How about age and salary? When you a highly-paid senior teacher and schools are under budget pressure, why hire that teacher when the school can get an ATR to fill the position for a third of the salary, with Tweed picking up the rest? Until Tweed removes the unfair "fair student funding formula" that is a disincentive for principals to hire ATRs and requires the school to pick up the full salary of any ATR that is placed in his or her subject area position, nothing will change. If Tweed is really serious in saving money, the DOE must make sure that all vacancies are posted and qualified ATRs are given the chance to fill the position as an appointed teacher.
Let's see what happens as the new school year approaches if the schools are really serious about putting children first and reduce class sizes by hiring ATRs for their hidden vacancies.