It's Christmas once again and the very best present the New York City Public School System will receive when they go back to the classroom will be that the "Grinch", Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his "poodle" Chancellor Dennis Walcott will be gone. However, the damage they did will take nearly a decade to correct. This article will talk about the experience Santa Claus has had as a rotating ATR in his weekly assignments.
Santa Claus has been an ATR for the last two years and because of his salary and age, cannot land a position in a school because of the "(un)fair student funding formula" and age discrimination. Thanks to the UFT who agreed to the weekly ATR assignment travesty, poor Santa finds himself traveling from school to school in his District in a futile attempt to find a permanent position. Previously, I chronicled Santa Claus's experience with the New York City Schools under Mayor Bloomberg. First, how Santa Claus was subject to a biased SCI investigation and terminated in his 3020-a hearing, Here and Here. Then how he won his appeal in the courts only to find himself in the ATR pool rather than getting his position back Here.
Santa Claus is used to traveling since once a year he travels around the world giving gifts to all the children but traveling weekly from school to school in his District made little sense to him. Each school he went to, he felt like "a stranger in a strange land". The school administration treated him with either disdain or was ignored. The school secretary would always try to give him a "sixth period" if he didn't object or make him do hall or cafeteria duty that no other teacher did in the school. Few schools supplied him a key to the bathroom and a place to store his stuff. Most times the Chapter Leader never sought him out and in some schools there was no Chapter Leader.
Santa Claus also found that when he asked if there was parking for his sled, he was told that "ATRs cannot park in the schoolyard or garage like our teachers". One week Santa showed up to a "D" rated school which needed a Social Studies teacher with knowledge of Geography and Global History. "What a stroke of luck", Santa Claus was perfect for the job. However, when he met with the Principal, the Principal told him that he had a red flag on his file and that his CFN told the school not to hire anybody that had a substantiated investigation. However, the Principal admitted to him that it would have been difficult to hire him because his CFN wanted him to hire new teachers who were 21st century thinkers and he didn't fit into that world. Santa instantly knew that the Principal really meant that the schools can only hire the "cheapest teachers" under the "(un)fair student funding formula".
Santa Claus is hopeful that under the de Blasio Administration, he will be able to land a permanent teaching position and help his students in understanding the world instead of being treated as a substitute teacher and disrespected by the school administration. Maybe it really will be "children first".