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Thursday, December 29, 2011

How important is the ATR issue?

You really gotta hand it to the UFT's "newspaper," the New York Teacher.  

True, they've never published the article that they promised about "teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve, including how teachers became part of the ATR." Still, they published some great articles in the latest edition (December 22, 2011).  For example:

*(p. 1) a headline stating, "Parents get information and resources from the union" (but not ATR teachers);
*(p. 8) a full-page article about the UFT's participation in the fight for  voting rights (which ATR teachers, who do not belong to any local chapter, do not have);
*(p. 13) a half-page editorial by our President, Michael Mulgrew, who writes that "2011 has turned out to be the year that people said 'enough'" (you're right, Mike--ATR teachers have taken enough abuse);
*(pp. 24-25) a two-page spread about the UFT's "Annual Parent Conference" (which means they meet with parents about as frequently as they meet with the ATR teachers);
*(p. 33) a notice about the New York Teacher obituary policy (where someday you might read about a teacher who served 23 years in the ATR).

The piece de resistance, however, came on page 38 of this venerable 48-page publication:
 *approximately 1/16 of a page dedicated to a summary of a resolution in support of the ATR that was passed at the December 7 meeting of the UFT's Delegate Assembly.  

My writing teachers always taught me to write a conclusion, and I teach the same to my students.  In this case, however, I leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions about whether the UFT thinks the ATR issue is particularly urgent or important.  


  1. The short answer is no. However, the real answer is more complex.

    The union knows that the ATR was created by both the DOE and UFT with the provision that the DOE cannot layoff ATRs. The moment the ink dried the DOE has been trying to terminate the ATRs by any means possible. The UFT leadership has made it clear that there will be no ATR time limit and has not weakened on this. However, any other DOE proposal on how to use the ATRs are fine with the union. The result is the ATRs are treated as second hand citizens.

  2. Chaz, calling us second hand or second class citizens is pretty kind. In my mind, we're treated like pon scum by most of the principals, APs and sadly, by most other UFT union 'brothers/sisters' as well which is sad.

    Do you think there will be a time when we are back in a classroom? Do you think a new mayor will take action? It wil be extremely curious to watch what happens when there is a new mayor

  3. I don't know that NY Teacher reflects anything. I did think Mulgrew's letter to The Daily News was the first time the UFT spelled out that teaching is something you learn with time - going from that premise directly contradicts everything Tweed is trying to do. It also inherently supports experienced teachers, ATR and otherwise. The public hates us. Even my friends are not sympathetic to my ATR status. Most people believe older teachers do less. There's the stereotype of the teacher who doesn't care. Even some of our colleagues believe this. I guess i was glad, therefore, that the UFT took a fundamental stand about how teachers develop.

  4. Sadly, the UFT stated that the number of ATRs has dropped significantly because they are being placed at schools! Sadly, the fact is the numbers have dropped because they are senior teachers and have been retiring. Shame on the UFT for this yellow journalism.