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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Something beautiful happened yesterday at the Brooklyn Museum

The grand architecture and refined portraits of the Brooklyn Museum's third floor hall served as the setting yesterday for hundreds of job-seeking teachers--and one truth-seeking reporter for, Beth Fertig.  
Ms. Fertig correctly took note that most of the teachers at the DOE-sponsored fair were members (or soon-to-be members) of the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR).  And unlike many of her colleagues in the media, Ms. Fertig understands what this group is about.

Among Ms. Fertig's well-made points were the following:

1. Teachers do not arrive in the ATR due to poor teaching. Rather, "some were cut by their principals for budget reasons; others taught at schools that were closed."

2. Members of the ATR "remain on the payroll and WORK as substitutes."  Yes, I added the italics and the screaming caps--because so many reporters fail to report this little fact that ATRs WORK.

3. Some ATRs have been "subbing for several years" but have found that "schools didn't want to hire them permanently because of their expensive salaries, or that there weren't enough positions available in their license areas."  

4. The mayor has suggested "putting a time limit on the ATR pool, suggesting teachers who aren't snapped up right away must not be very good."  

5. Ms. Fertig's piece de resistance is a quote from a high-school business teacher who's been an ATR for three years:
"We're treated like we're worthless," she said. "I love teaching."

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