Wednesday, August 02, 2017
My Response To The False Accusations Of Parent Nicole Thomas About ATRs.
I read the opinion piece of parent Nicole Thomas and realized it was simply an ATR bashing piece that consisted of lies, half truths, and was right out of the StudentFirst playbook. Her article is simply false accusations. Let's discuss what Ms. Thomas claimed she knows about ATRs and then the truth.
First, she claimed that ATRs are "unwanted" teachers. While the "unwanted " is true, her reasons are false. She claimed that the ATRs are "unwanted" because their bad teachers and she cited false statistics that showed that over 50% of the ATRs were rated unsatisfactory or had discipline issues. Where did she get this false information? Maybe it came from the StudentFirst organization since I know the DOE refuses to provide this information and the percentage is closer to 25%, according to a UFT source.
The truth of the matter ATRs are "unwanted" because of their high salaries, seniority, and institutional memory.The majority of ATRs are quality teachers and fully certified. Principals won't hire them because they think of their budget and power and not what's best for the students.
Second, Ms. Thomas claims that most ATRs don't apply for classroom positions and if they were any good they would not be in the ATR pool for long.
The truth is that teachers in the ATR pool do apply for multiple positions but because of their salary, years of experience, and seniority, principals refuse to interview or hire them. Moreover, Civil Service law will not allow for an ATR time limit and that was the condition the DOE agreed to when the ATR pool was created when the hiring rules were changed in 2006. Maybe Ms. Thomas should read the DOE's "fair student funding" policy and see how the organization incentivizes schools to hire the "cheapest and not the best" teachers for their school.
Third, Ms.\Thomas seems to think that getting an ATR teacher would be terrible for her 5th grade child since one teacher at the school (not an ATR) was arrested and convicted, as if all ATRs are not only bad teachers but potentially are criminals.
The truth is that 75% of the ATRs have a "clean record", with no discipline issues. Furthermore, many of the ATRs with so-called discipline issues were found to be minor or even frivolous by an independent State Arbitrator. Again her statement is what StudentFirst would say, without data or real facts to back it up.
Finally, I truly hope that Ms. Thomas's child does not get an ATR for the vacancies at her school and gets a "newbie" teacher instead so her daughter can be the guinea pig for an inexperienced teacher who must struggle through a steep learning curve in classroom management issues, acquiring curriculum knowledge, while trying to learn the Art and Science of effective teaching. Maybe Nicole Thomas will realize she's just a pawn for the education deformers like StudentsFirst that put their ideology first and her child last.