Sunday, June 08, 2014
Few ATRs Will Be Hired This Year Or Next.
The union and the DOE reached an agreement that will make it difficult for principals to hire ATRs to fill vacancies for the next two years. True, the new ATR agreement will require principals to hire ATRs to "provisionally" fill their vacancies after October 15. However, by that time the only vacancies that will be available will be in the "hard to staff" schools where teachers have quit after the school year started. Moreover, while the school will get the ATR for the "average teacher salary" of the school the first year and "zero" for the second year. The problem is the third year when the ATR's full salary will be dumped on the school's budget. How many principals will be willing to do that? Not many, if any. In other words, the ATRs will have little opportunity to land an appointed position at most schools. Its business as usual. By the way, what stops the DOE from ignoring the agreement as they have done many times previously? Nothing, nothing at all.
The main culprit is the "fair student funding" and that will not change in the new contract. For people unfamiliar with the "fair student funding", it simply punishes schools from hiring veteran teachers since the school budget is given a fixed amount of funds that principals can use as they see fit. The result is that most principals and especially the "Leadership Academy " principals will simply hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers" for their schools. Now that the last vestiges of the hiring freeze is gone, principals are free to hire whomever they please and since their budget is more important than what's best for their students, look for the schools to hire the many "newbie teachers" that their limited budget can accommodate. What's not said is that if a principal hires an ATR before October 16, than the ATRs full salary must be included in the school's budget, another disincentive for hiring ATRs.
Presently, there are 1,200 ATRs participating in a useless and disheartening weekly rotation, while another 1,200 more are covering provisional vacancies or long-term leave replacements who will be excessed at the end of the school year. Combine that with more excessing expected in many schools as new small and charter schools reduce the public school population of existing schools and the closing of some schools like Jamaica and Beach Channel High Schools so by the summer the ATR pool will grow to 2,500+. Of those only the least experienced, untenured, and least expensive teachers will be offered positions. The rest will need to wait until after October 15 to be offered a mandatory interview and only those that have never went through a 3020-a process or were "U rated" this year.
Remember, Chancellor Carmen Farina said that only 400 ATRs are capable of teaching. Where did she get that figure from? Easy, these are the teachers who never went through the 3020-a discipline process, received a "U rating" or never was investigated by the curropt OSI and SCI investigative units. In other words, she assumes, just like in the Bloomberg administration, that all the other ATRs are guilty of something and don't deserve a classroom of their own. Change of tone? Yeah, right! Let's see if the veteran ATRs even get interviews in the farce known as the Open Market Transfer System. I don't think they will.
Finally, one of the two creators of the utterly useless weekly rotation, Human Resources Chief Larry Becker (the other one being the recently retired UFT leader Michael Mandel) has warned principals not to over do the hiring of "newbie teachers" and to hire the ATRs. I'm sure he couldn't keep a straight face when he made that statement since he knows very well that the DOE policies that he has implemented actually encourages the schools to hire novice teachers. While the DOE and UFT may talk a good game they have deliberately made the playing field even more uneven and reduced the already slim chances of a veteran ATR to be hired. What are the chances of a veteran ATR getting an appointed position in a decent school? As the late Rodney Dangerfield once said "Its like a one legged man winning an ass kicking contest". Maybe winning the lottery has better odds than a veteran ATR has to land an appointed position.
To me its still "Children last. Always".