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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bing's Big Lies

     Jonathan Bing must be a very talented writer--in just two sentences he manages to spread four chunks of misinformation about the Absentee Teacher Reserve (ATR) in our city's public schools.     
     1) Bing writes that the ATR's do not have "permanent jobs." To the extent that any teacher's job is permanent, so are the ATRs' jobs.  They were hired, they did their work satisfactorily, and they were never fired.  What did happen is that they were "excessed," meaning that they were released from a particular school because it needed fewer teachers within a particular license area.  Considering that there are approximately 1,000 public schools in the city who could use these qualified and experienced teachers, one wonders why the D.O.E. has failed to place them in appropriate schools.    
     2) Bing writes: "State law dictates that the city spend $110 million a year" to pay the ATRs.  It is not state law that obligates the city to pay the ATR's their hard-earned salary; it is the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was negotiated and signed by Mayor Bloomberg and former Chancellor Joel Klein.  State law--as well as federal law, common law, and common sense--merely require the city to fulfill its contractual obligations.    
     3) Bing writes that the city must pay the salaries of the ATR's "indefinitely."  Wrong again.  Like all other teachers, ATR's can be terminated if they do not perform acceptably.  They are observed and rated by their principals just like all other teachers.     
     4) The biggest of Bing's Big Lies is that he refers to the ATR's as "teachers who aren't teaching."  ATR's are assigned to schools where they are given  daily or longer-term teaching assignments by their principals.  They usually don't have books, curriculum, class lists, or even a place to hang their coats, but they do have students to teach.    
     I know all of this because I am an ATR.  Mr. Bing could have known all this too, if he had bothered to do a little research.  

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