Below is the text of a leaflet that was distributed at the job fair for ATR teachers that was held on Tuesday, September 13, at the Armory in Washington Heights. It was written and distributed by members of the GEM ATR Committee.
Attention ATR’s – What’s REALLY going on here?
Help fight off the destructive actions of the DOE done in the name of "school reform," as well as the poor decisions of the UFT leadership resulting in the loss of job protections and the unwarranted closure of over 100 high schools (& middle schools) over the objections of parents, students, alumni, teachers, community, etc. The Bronx & Manhattan has been particularly hard hit - we've lost every community high school with the exception for DeWitt Clinton, which survives only due to their powerful alumni association. Many of these high schools were around for 75-100 years educating generations of New Yorkers.
Bloomberg developed a "final solution" to purge the system of senior teachers: close large community middle and high schools, eliminate seniority transfer, require principals to consider salary in making staffing decisions. These actions created a large pool of ATR's (unassigned teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve). A critical component of this strategy is the repeal of LIFO ("Last In-First Out" state civil service seniority protections) which would result in the firing of ATR's who are unable to secure regular teaching positions on the open market. Despite Bloomberg's vigorous efforts, the state legislature did not abolish LIFO, thus creating the unusually large pool of unassigned ATR's. With the failure of this strategy, the DOE is trying figure out what to do with all these, mostly senior ATR's. The current strategy appears to harass them by using the unassigned ATR's to cover absences, in lieu of the day-to-day subs. In October they will be moved around each week to different schools. Expect a new assault on LIFO this year.
If your only sources of information are the D.O.E dispatches from Tweed, the UFT newspaper or the compliant mass media, you are not getting the whole picture. Please check out blogger "NYCATR"--with lots of useful information for ATRs: http://nycatr.blogspot.com/. Also, look into the list of other teacher activist blogs on the right sidebar for more insights. An excellent blog for ALL teachers to get an overview of what's really happening is "Education Notes Online: ednotesonline.blogspot.com
The Grassroots Education Movement, a group of educator activists, has formed a committee for those working as ATR’s. Our goals include providing information to people in this position and organizing this very vulnerable group. We expect to hold a meeting soon. Contact: The Grassroots Education Movement at firstname.lastname@example.org