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Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Non-working," "Non-teaching," "Poorly-performing": the same old lie

The same old lies are being recycled again.  
     This time it's a New York Post article (who else?) given a second life on a blog called
     The salient but fallacious quote refers to the Absent Teacher Reserve as: 
nonworking but on-the-payroll teachers from schools that have been shut down because of poor performance -- and teachers assigned only to "administrative functions." 
     Brooklynatr (my alter-ego) couldn't let that one go by, so he responded as follows: 
     I wonder if you have ever had any communication with a real, live, breathing member of the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR).
     I am an ATR, and by no stretch of the imagination am I a "non-teaching" or "non-working" teacher. In my present position, I teach middle-school classes every day. My preparations are made between 7:45 AM when I arrive in school--early--and 8:00 or 8:40 when my first class begins. Would you like to take my place some day in front of 33 seventh-graders who know that the "real" teacher is out for the day?

     Furthermore, I did not become an ATR due to working in a school that showed "poor performance." I was "excessed" (that's the technical term) because my high-performing school needed to downsize due to budget cuts. Since I was the teacher with the least seniority in my license area of Reading, I was the lucky one who was excessed and exiled to the ATR.

     During the nearly three years that I have been an ATR, I have taught satisfactorily at three different schools. I also spent one year working at "administrative functions": I served a useful and legally-necessary function as a General Education teacher on a Committee on Special Education (CSE). If you don't know what a CSE is, it's probably because you know very little at all about education.

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