Sunday, November 20, 2011

The DOE and The UFT Have Made The "ATR Agreement" A Joke As Principals Refuse To Hire ATRs For Their Vacancies And Are Not Punished For It.

Here we are approaching Thanksgiving and principals still fail to fill the many vacancies, hidden or advertised, that are available in the New York City Public School System. How does the failure to fill vacancies, hidden or not, help the children? It doesn't of course. In my travels I have found a minimum of eight vacancies in the schools I was assigned to. Of course, the union's position is "did I report them to the District Rep"? The answer is I did in my third school and nothing came of it. Link As for the other schools, I made sure that Chapter Leaders did report it to the District Rep. What has come from that? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! As one Chapter Leader told me "what is the use of reporting school vacancies when the union is doing nothing with it"?

With much fanfare the DOE and UFT came up with an "ATR Agreement" that would require principals to hire ATRs for their vacancies. Yeah, right, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you if you really believe this. Instead of hiring ATRs for their vacancies, the principals simply ignore the "ATR Agreement". Let's look at the many examples of what high school principals do as to not to hire an ATR.

  • Flushing High School Principal hires a day-to-day substitute who is not certified in Earth Science to teach five Regents classes.
  • Long Island City High School refuses to fill many vacancies. Here, here, and here.
  • Fredrick Douglas Academy VI in Far Rockaway does not hire an English teacher.
  • Apparently the Principal at Queens High School of Teaching tries to hire a "newbie" Earth Science teacher by using Crag's list.

I am sure there are many more egregious examples of principals refusing to follow the "ATR Agreement" and not hire an ATR but these are the ones either I personally knew about or read it from blogs and news media. For example, I heard from another ATR that claimed an elementary school Principal had bragged how she has a Special Education ATR cover a class for the year without the school being required to pay for the ATR. Another ATR told me of a middle school Principal who refused to hire a Math ATR and has a day-to-day sub covering the Math position. I am sure there are numerous stories of the "ATR Agreement" and nothing appears to be done about it.

The reality is that the "ATR Agreement" is another case of the union negotiating with the DOE an unenforceable and violated agreement that the union fails to ensure the DOE abides by. How easy it would be for the union leadership to bring up the numerous violations of the agreement to the mass media and embarrass the DOE in requiring principals to follow the "ATR Agreement" or suffer the consequences that the DOE can enforce. Furthermore, the union can easily show that the principals failure to abide by the "ATR Agreement" is hurting the children and contrary to the DOE's "children first" policy. Instead the union appears to be silent on the issue. Why? I previously wrote about the lack of action and information about what is happening in the DOE/UFT Joint Oversight Committee meetings. Why the secrecy and the lack of transparency?

I can only assume that both the DOE and UFT wish that the ATR situation would just disappear but they can't since both the DOE and UFT created the ATR crisis in the first palace. Therefore, both the DOE and UFT treat the ATRs as second class citizens. Sure, they both claim that they want the ATRs to have their own classrooms but "actions speak louder than words". The actions are the ridiculous DOE algorithm that randomly sends ATRs weekly to different schools in the District and the failure to hold principals "accountable" for their willful failure to abide by the "ATR Agreement". The only way the ATR issue disappears is if the DOE requires Principals to hire ATRS and hold firm on the City "job freeze", no other solution is possible without negotiating a new contract which is not going to happen until Mayor Bloomberg and Dennis Walcott are replaced in 2014.


veteran teacher said...

Calling up the borough UFT office is a depressing experience as well. Half the time, you get a guy who has no clue what the situation is with the ATR and cannot understand the fact that when they ask you 'what school are you from?' and you say 'I'm an ATR, I don't have a school' it takes 5 minutes to explain why you don't have a school.

then, you get the rhetoric bs line of 'we'll look into it' or 'we'll get back to you'

this whole situation is really upsetting and like anything with the DOE, nothing is going to happen any time soon. They would love us to disappear.

I was doing a Social Studies vacancy this year and last year and both times, no interview, observation and I got into shouting matches when asked both times why I did not get the positions. I really needed a master's degree for this job, right?

Anonymous said...

and the DOE and the UFT both claim that hundreds of ATRs really have been hired. What a joke - guess those numbers come out of the same office that the DOE uses to calculate its graduation rates and test scores. We all know that those are huge LIES too. We have now been shuffled around for 2 months and no one I know has come close to getting a job. Most schools have no vacancies in my area and I have met maybe 2 or 3 principals - and that was only to say hi I am your weekly ATR. After Friday you will never see me again. Sickening.

Anonymous said...

I keep calling and reporting the vacancy situations in almost every school I am sent and NOTHING IS BEING DONE...why can't the media be alerted? I am itching to call and report what is going on! I may someday soon....

harvey said...

Chaz, what I find just incredulous is that all the ATR's have a front row seat as to what is happening and the UFT/DOE don't seem to care! No one's minding the store and the abuse is in plain sight. It's time to end this closed union shop and put all the union reps in the ATR pool. They need to feel the pain that they so blithely ignore.

Rod said...

We are like the illegal laborers who stand near Home Depot waiting for hourly jobs. "I need two and you!" We jump in the pick-up truck and off we go to fill in where needed. The principals use us to wash windows and clean to speak. Except we are FREE....wish i could get some free labor to clean my apartment and do my laundry. The DoE/UFT want us to go away in silence. We are the dregs of the system. We need to keep pushing back against this stupidity. But really....they don't want us...too much expertise that can't be molded in the Principals imagination.

NY_I said...

Bravo to the F Douglass Academy VI students.
Perhaps it was the Occupy Wall Street ambience these days that inspired them to demand a teacher and refuse to attend class until the administration hired one.
Let's see if the hire is an ATR or a newbie.
Notice that some of the trouble involves replacing teachers with "iLearn" software.

Anonymous said...

In fascist states, this is what occurs-various institutions blend into one to attain a mission. In this case, the coverup and destruction of this agreement, as the UFT, "The Press", and of course the DOE play footsy with each other.

American "Democracy" is rotted out, giving us this new fascism that leaves us to repeatedly mumble to ourselves - "is this possible?" Yes it's not only possible, it's REALITY...we've lost our freedom. Welcome to 1984...since you see, what you're going through isn't really happening, because the union, the city, and the papers say it ain't so.

Anonymous said... need to do an Occupy The's your only chance at some legitimacy...That Mulgrew needs to show a few beads of sweat on that shiney dome of his, instead of going from one bogus event to another acting as if he's a "union leader"-what rubbish...

Anonymous said...

Here's my list thusfar:
Queens School for Inquiry (something like that--Far Rock.): Living Environment
East / West School of International Studies: Social Studies

Anonymous said...

The aspiring administrators listserv posts some vacanies -

PS 127Q is anticipating the need to fill a 7th grade ELA vacancy beginning December 15th. The position will be for the remainder of the school year with the potential of becoming full-time for the 2012-2013 school year. The ideal candidate will possess:

knowledge of the Common Core Learning Standards
knowledge of the reader's and writer's workshop
the ability to interpret instructional data to develop and adapt lessons/units
the ability to infuse technology (SMART Board, laptops, etc.) into the development of teacher instruction and student activities.
previous experience working in an urban setting (preferred)

Please email all cover letters and resumes to the attention of:

Alejandro Rivera
Assistant Principal
PS 127Q

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me why some schools are better than others in the same district with basically the same kids? I told a teacher at this weeks school that she is so lucky that the school is clean and organized and the kids are on task. It's a good school. Whereas last week it was a walking disaster. I tend to think it's the principal. That would make it about one-third good schools versus two-third horrible. I blame Bloomberg, he has failed NYC. Is anyone else finding the same ratio of good to bad?

Chaz said...

Failing schools are the sum of the equation.

Leadership Academy Principal + no student discipline codes + inexperienced teachers + poor social economic environment = Failing school.

Anonymous said...

I would think neighborhood property value plays a hand in determining a school's grade. Politics at its best!

Anonymous said...

I agree with your assessment of failing schools. So simple.

Anonymous said...

I hear a lot of the ATR's are left over from the Rubber Room and that's why they won't be hired.

Anonymous said...

New Social Studies teacher just hired in my school, Queens middle schoo.

Chaz said...

Anon 10:14am

Probably true, however, many ATRs are excessed, especially from closing schools.

Principals won't hire them simply because they are ATRs and many of them are highly-paid senior teachers.

I might add that while some ATRs are "rubber room" people. The principals should know that the mere fact the teachers were not terminated should tell you that the "charges" against them were not serious.

Remember, under Joel Klein, principals were allowed to remove teachers and get them off the school's payroll after 60 days. Now the principals must keep the teacher in the school and the teacher stays on the school's payroll. Therefore, there are less 3020-a charges and only the most serious of misconduct or incompetence charges are filed now.

veteran teacher said...

In response to a previous post, the principal is more responsible for the quality of a school than we like to realize. True, the neighborhood, demographics, median income etc etc make a huge difference, but the principal sets the tone. In schools with Leadership Academy principals, the tone set is awful. It is the 'gotcha' mentality. This was the school I was in last week. A teacher sat down to tie his shoelaces and was given a letter stating he was not teaching b/c that was when the AP walked by.

From what I have noticed, those principals that have moved up the traditional path, teaching 15 years, AP and dean for a few, then principal and are close to 50 years of age or older are great. They understand the kids, what it is like to teach and the system itself and therefore, treat the custodians, secretaries, paras, aides, and teachers as people and in those schools, the morale is high and people want to show up to work.

Anonymous said...

Why have you ot posted my comment? Talk about censorship.

Chaz said...

Anon 10:51 am

I really do not know what you are talking about. I have posted all the comments sent me.

Of course if you are "Unity Hack" and this is simply a ploy to try to discredit me than I will delete your comments from my blog.

curious said...

It seems that you have a passion for railing against principals, the chancellor, the mayor, and the DOE, but not teaching. I haven't seen any blog posts where you miss working with students or look forward to planning some new lessons.

Are you sure you really want a regular teaching job again?

Chaz said...


Assuming you are sincere and not just "Unity Hack" posting as curious. The answer is of course I do.

People who know me could tell you that. I applied to 12 positions on the OMTS, went to three job fairs, and identified vacancies where I met with the APs and because of a combintion of age, salary, and being an ATR I had no interviews.

Maybe you should question the union on why they stay silent when principals fail to hire certified teachers for their vacancies?

W.D. Haverstock said...

I'm an ATR and an English teacher. I was observed and U rated doing a coverage of an advisory period with only the students not allowed on the class trip. I've been chronicling this at
Their solution to their own problem may be to U rate us out of the system.