Saturday, September 10, 2011

The DOE Is Encouraging Principals To Hire TF and TFA Teachers While Experienced Teachers Are Not Even Granted Interviews. "Children First". Really?

It is becoming increasingly clear that Tweed's efforts to vilify ATRs as lazy, incompetent, and bad teachers along with severe budget cuts at schools (17.4% since 2008) have had the desired effect. Few experienced ATRs are being offered positions as principals do what is best for themselves and not what is best for the students in the school. The DOE "job fairs" are mostly a joke and only the worst schools that experience high teacher turnover, and transfer schools regularly show up and hope to pick off the youngest and possibly untenured teachers to fill their needs.

Privately, principals will tell you that they would just love to have experienced teachers in the classroom but their budget and the "fair student funding formula" makes it next to impossible for them to hire them. Even "Leadership Academy principals" have found that some experienced teachers are necessary if only to show the "newbie teachers" what teaching is about and act as a mentor. However, unless the DOE offers financial incentives to hire ATRs, principals will not hire them for their vacancies. In fact, since Tweed relaxed the hiring restrictions almost all schools are simply going through the motions of looking at ATRs only to hire Teach For America (TFA} or Teaching Fellows (TF) teachers by falsely claiming the ATR teachers don't meet the needs of the school.

NYC Comptroller John Liu published some data that shows how the DOE wastes money by not properly placing ATRs in vacant positions. Here. Is it any wonder that ATRs believe they are discriminated when applying for vacancies in the NYC schools? For the schools it is a financial disincentive to hire senior teachers because of the salary.

Presently, their are 1,940 ATRs in the system and the DOE, in its uncaring and incompetent ATR placement process has elementary school ATRs in high schools, high school ATRs teaching 2nd grade and shop teachers ATRs in schools with no shop courses. Should we trust these people with our future? I don't think so.

What is needed is a new ATR Agreement between the union and the DOE that encourages principals to hire ATRs in vacancies. This agreement should include the following.

  • Ensure a school cannot hire a "new teacher" if there is a teacher in excess in the license area in the District.
  • Union oversight on any DOE granted exemptions to principals who claim that excessed teachers cannot properly fill the vacancy.
  • Eliminate the "fair student funding formula" that penalizes principals who want to hire experienced teachers.
Without incentives for schools to hire experienced teachers, very little progress can be made on the ATR issue and class sizes will just keep on increasing.

For the DOE, "children first" is properly placing ATRs in the right schools and encourage principals to fill their vacancies with the best, not the cheapest teacher qualified for the position.


bookworm said...

I would go even further, Chaz. I'd get rid of the whole "interview" process and simply place the teachers, by seniority, from Central or the District. Period. Once all ATRs have been placed, THEN, and ONLY THEN, will the principal have "autonomy" in hiring again.

In additon, I would ADD the ATR's salary to the principal's budget, so that there no loss, only a gain in funds and staff. Doesn't end up costing the DOE a dime more since they have to pay ATRs anyway. If this is done, then maybe high schools could bring back some of the electives they have cut, schools could have Reading programs they need but have cut, and bands/choruses would be returned to schools that had to cut them. Now that sounds good for everyone.

Which is why it probably will never happen under this current system.

NYC ATR said...

Bravo to Chaz, and bravo to bookworm.

Anonymous said...

Try to find some common sense from these ideologues who know everything about anything and nothing about education, fat chance!

Pissedoffteacher said...

Having ATRs go to a hiring fair and parading them around like dogs in a pet store is just wrong.

Anonymous said...

No one cares about the fate of ATRs.

veteran teacher said...

What is the deal with the ATR placement? If you check the status, it says that the 'end date' is October 9th, which is a Sunday. Speaking to my inept district rep, she says that the ATR will stay if the principal likes him. Does anyone have any clue if this is true? Our union really dimed us out here. It was so dumb not to have an agreement in place that places an ATR in his/her license in his/her district. The hiring freeze was relaxed and now the left hand doesn't know what the right hand knows. I really don't get it.