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Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Low-Down on the Nitty-Gritty of ATR Deployment

In our last post, "The Nitty-Gritty Details," we summarized the new rules for the deployment of teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR).  

Now, as promised, we will attempt a little analysis.

The rule that ATR teachers can be shifted from school to school on a weekly basis needs no comment: IT STINKS.

But what about some of the other provisions that discuss "tryout" assignments for ATR teachers?  Here is our humble analysis; parental caution is advised.  

1. POINT: Vacancies created by long-term absences will be covered by ATR teachers on a "trial basis," prior to a school using a per-diem substitute.  A principal may remove an ATR teacher from such a "trial" coverage at any time, at which point the teacher will remain in the school until the end of the week.

COMMENT: Principals will still be able to give a long-term substituting assignment to a friend, or to a friend of some higher-up in the CFN, or to some young lady they would like to befriend. All they need to do is to let an ATR cover the position for a day or two, declare it a bad fit, and go ahead with their friendly little favor.  

2. POINT: "Clear vacancies" will be be offered to 3 ATR teachers on a "tryout" basis, prior to using a substitute. The tryout period has no minimum duration; the ATR teacher may be removed from the tryout position at any time.

COMMENT: This sounds a lot like the first item; wait, though, it get's worse when you see POINT 3.

3. POINT: A school may hire a non-ATR candidate to permanently fill a clear vacancy, without previously trying out any ATR teachers.

COMMENT: In other words, which crazy principal would try out an ATR for a "clear" position if he already has a cheaper  (or better-looking) alternative waiting in the wings?

4. POINT: The Division of Human Resources will arrange for all schools to interview at least two appropriately licensed ATR teachers per term.

COMMENT: Sorry, Mr. or Ms. ATR, you will be schlepping around for a bunch of meaningless interviews.

SUMMARY: If a principal is amenable to hiring from the ATR, the new deal will provide opportunities for ATR teachers to showcase their talents during a trial assignment. If, however, a principal prefers to hire from the outside, this deal provides ATR teachers with nothing but empty, pro forma tryouts.


  1. yes, so one step forward and no steps back. sounds like it can be positive. Sure, principals can still find their way around it, but we can't let bad principals stand in the way of trying to improve the system.

  2. Point 1: seems to have a different interpretation when it comes to the DOE and the UFT.

    The UFT claims that all long-term positions would be filled by an ATR while the DOE seems to say that if the ATR does not work out, it can be given to an outside teacher.

    Is this simply another example of the DOE doing what it wants while the UFT does nothing about it? We will see soon enough

  3. Chaz,

    I know that you're with us. Have we not seen enough of what the UFT does and does not do? (for it's members, for itself, for the president of the AFT)

    In my school, the principal along with her two new coaches morphed into APs stacked up next to the two APs that were already in place, we're promised 6 to 8 observations this year. Mind you 4 of these admins cannot read or write an coherent paragraph for the life of them. Teachers receiving U's on observations are frequently asked to make corrections on these observations.

    Is there any doubt where this is headed?

  4. Anon 10:34, I don't see how this is an improvement. Being forced to schlep all over the district on the whim of some CFN leader with NO input into where you are sent or when is hardly a gain on the part of the ATRs. A school year of predictable placements and assignments (even if they stunk) is defintitely better than this random reassignment and being used as a pawn in the principals' plans to get around the hiring freeze.

    Remember, as a per diem sub, I could at LEAST choose the schools I would go to and could turn down an assignment if it was too far or if it was a school I had been to and did not like. So it seems that we have fewer rights and options than the per diem subs in this agreement (that I don't recall ever "agreeing" to, btw).

    In my opinion, this is no step forward. Sending a principal 2 or 3 ATRs, and then REQUIRING them to choose one, THAT would be progress.

  5. I do not understand. Why is there a debate about how atrocious and damaging this latest garbage is?

    Israel's citizens have erected tent cities and demonstrated in the many, many tens of thousands. Verizon union members are striking. Stuyvesant Town DC 9 members are in the streets daily, talking, handing out leaflets, making noise.

    Why are teachers still sitting quietly for escalating abuse and possible homelessness and foodlessness??? (pardon my English, please!)