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Sunday, October 2, 2011

ATR = Absolutely Teaching Ready

Below is a leaflet that has been prepared by the GEM-ATR Committee, to be distributed at the UFT meetings for members of the ATR.  NYCATR humbly suggests that every teacher who attends those meetings should read this leaflet first, and use it as ammunition during the meeting.  

We Are ATRS: Absolutely Teaching Ready –
but denied the opportunity by the Department of Education.
They’ve closed our schools, reduced the student population through charters, excessed us through outrageous budget cuts and made it illogical for a principal to hire us because we are experienced, well trained adults who insist on respect and are more than a few steps up the salary schedule from new graduates.
Demand Respect & Justice for ATR Teachers

The "hiring" freeze was not a freeze at all: ATRs must be placed before any new teachers are considered with no salary penalty to the school: The DOE claim to lift the hiring freeze this summer was bogus as principals were only required to interview 2 ATRs and then were free to hire newbies and less experienced teachers. Ex: one large HS in Queens has 5 newbie math teachers.

2,000 excessed teachers have swelled the ranks of the ATR- teacher pool as ATRs are obligated to waste time at Job Fairs that for the most are exercises in futility. This is an injustice that:
  • Is unprofessional, disrespectful, demoralizing and humiliating to teachers who have dedicated years of satisfactory service to our school communities. Both a “no layoff/firing guarantee” and a permanent classroom job are what all teachers deserve.
  • Is an unconscionable waste by the DOE of taxpayer money in these lean budget times, costing the city from $80 to $100M yearly.
  • Discriminates against students, parents, and schools by denying adequate quality staffing.
  • Foments larger class sizes and a deterioration of the quality of teaching.

The attitude that "We are lucky to have a job" is not acceptable
ATRs demand that the UFT:
  • Insist on no new hiring until all ATRs are placed.
  • Call for ATRs in "obsolete license areas" (like Reading) to be allowed to recertify in a new license or get the summer crash course that TFA and TFs get to allow them to fill vacancies shortage areas.
  • Create ATR Chapters with elected CLs in each borough to provide fair representation: ATRs shifted from school-to-school do not have a permanent Chapter Leader to represent their interests.
  • End the agreement that forces ATRs to be wandering substitutes at different schools each week: parents, especially women with young children will face child care issues due to unpredictable assignments. The UFT must recognize that the DOE aim is to drive many to the brink of quitting.
  • Publicize the plight of ATRs to all teachers and the general public in all media.

Every teacher is a potential ATR through excessing, closing schools and charter school growth. We refuse to be swept under the rug by the DOE and the UFT. We need to organize ourselves since the UFT refuses to do so. We need an outreach campaign to our fellow teaching non-ATRs (but possibly soon to be) to get them on our side.
Our strength is growing. The bigger we get the better the chance the DOE and the UFT will be forced to respond in a positive manner.

What you can do: Attend meeting we are calling for ATRs on Oct. 20, 5PM at Skylight Diner (34th St. and 9th Ave)
  • Attend one of the UFT borough office meetings and distribute this leaflet and ask people to join this committee.
  • Join the GEM ATR Committee sponsored by the Grassroots Education Movement: Email -
  • Follow updates and post your stories at: &
  • Support and sign the resolution at the UFT borough ATR meetings (see reverse side on some leaflets or check the blogs).

Long-term demands:
  • Restore rights of excessed teachers lost in 2005 UFT/DOE contract when ATR pool was created: bring back guarantee of right to vacancy in license area at another nearby school. Put an end to current open market "principal choice."
  • End fair funding formula: schools get charged for teacher salaries giving principals incentives to NOT hire higher salaried/senior teachers.
  • Protect LIFO (Last In First Out), seniority and tenure contractual rights: Privatization advocates are pushing hard to eliminating tenure/seniority rights guarantees as they've done in Chicago (ATRs get 9 months) and Washington, DC (ATRs get 6 months) before they are fired.
  • Fight for a diverse teaching force: ATR ranks are filled with a high proportion of Black and Latino experienced teachers. Last year, the UFT passed a resolution to protect and promote “diversity in the NYC teaching force”. Ensure that the UFT uphold the spirit and letter of that resolution.
  • Stop the charter-privatization of our schools: The nation-wide and local City drive to dismantle, close public schools and replace them with non-unionized charters helped precipitate this massive ATR pool. End mayoral control of schools: none of the above happens without turning the system over to the mayor.
NEXT STEPS: ATRs will gather October 20 at 5PM at the Skylight Diner (34th St and 9th Avenue)


  • No new hiring until all ATRs are placed.
  • Publicize the plight of ATRs to all teachers and the general public in all media.
  • ATRs in "obsolete license areas" (like Reading) get the summer crash course that TFA and TFs get to allow them to fill vacancies shortage areas: (If a newbie can walk into a classroom after a five-week crash course, then wouldn't a seasoned veteran be able to do at least as well, probably better?)
  • Create ATR Chapters with elected CLs in each borough to provide fair representation: (ATRs shifted from school-to-school do not have a permanent Chapter Leader to represent their interests.)
  • The UFT conduct an investigation of the DOE Open Market and Excessed Teacher website and find statistics on its use in hiring by principals.
  • The economic advantage of hiring new teachers must be eliminated to level the playing field.
  • The UFT shall carefully investigate and publicize complaints by ATRs about their hiring experiences.
  • The UFT leadership shall make a solemn commitment to seeing that ATRs are hired and that no concession be made to the city to eliminate ATRs.

Sign the petition below if you agree with these demands

Name (print legibly) Signature Email (not DOE)














  1. One question. If a teacher in a shortage area is recertified will they have to be retenured? If so, wouldn't it leave the teacher vulnerable to being fired.

  2. NYC ATR said...
    To the best of my knowledge, the deal is like this:
    A teacher who accepts an appointment in a new license area will have to earn new tenure in the new license. The only leniency is that the teacher will be on probation for only two years, rather than the usual three.
    If the teacher fails to earn tenure in the new license, he or she will return to the ATR under his or her old license.

  3. DR's - You're FiredOctober 3, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    It's time all district reps do their job and stop preaching why they get the big bucks. You are in the center of the overall scheme to camouflage workers' rights to representation. You must stop thinking about photo ops for yourselves and other 52 B'way lackies. YOU GET PAID TO REPRESENT! Stop lying to your own members. It's time your names become public, as you have deceived the public trust. For those who do not do their job, please LEAVE. Occupy Wall Street is spreading across the nation, as if it were 1968 all over again. For you, action to protect all members is mandatory, not arbitrary! Your members PAY YOUR SALARY. We are tired of the trash you speak. Go line your pockets on someone else's watch, not ours.

  4. Fabulous work! Well done!

  5. ATR (Atrophy Teacher Redundant)October 4, 2011 at 4:33 AM

    To NYC ATR:

    Under what authority do you opine "If the teacher fails to earn tenure in the new license, he or she will return to the ATR under his or her old license." The only way this works is in a layoff situation. Once you lack tenure you are always vulnerable to dismissal without a hearing and no right of return to previous license. Please clarify.

  6. I was not opining, but rather repeating what I had heard from a UFT district rep. Of course, UFT district reps, and even Mr. NYCATR, have been known to err. Can you clarify by quoting chapter and verse from the Collective Bargaining Agreement? That would help us all.

  7. Why are we allowing the UFT to do nothing to protect our rights?????????????????????????????????????????

  8. Schools are doing everything under the sun to hide positions and avoid hiring ATR's. I was recently placed at a school with another ATR and there were two vacancies, one in each of our respective licenses. The other teacher has been providing satisfactory service to the DOE for 19 years and myself, 10 years. When the whole staff knows that the administration is waiting to hire two straight out of school student teachers and is intent on not hiring us, there's something wrong there. The supposed UFT chapter leader in response to our query, "Really, I didn't know." The problem I see nowadays is is I can't tell UFT reps from the administrations that they service (and I mean service). NO ONE IS LOOKING OUT FOR US!! WE MUST REFUSE BEING TREATED LIKE INFERIOR UNION MEMBERS BY SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIONS AND OUR OWN FELLOW MEMBERS! And having teachers teach extra classes so they can avoid filling the vacancies that they are required to fill. At the expense of the students and the teachers who long to work with them. It's educationally sound to have 43 students in an English class right? I know I'm all over the map, but can you sense the frustration?!?!?

  9. In the school where I now work, half the teachers look like they're barely out of diapers. I guess it's a matter of "Children First"--the children should get the jobs before the experienced adults.

  10. I think it id a good idea for us to stress the united interests of all teachers. New teachers need jobs too. And if the DOE cared about the kids and lowered class sizes there would be no competition between new and old teachers.

    So lets keep the sarcasm down and focus on our real targets, DOE ageism and racism directed at staff, DOE racism and anti-student attitudes that keep class size too large for effective education of students already in need of greater skill support. Let us remember that NYC fought the Equity Campaign by arguing that all the students of nyc public high schoOls were guaranteed was an 8th grade education. Remember also, that the funds won by that court case have not been applied to reducing class size generally when funds were made at all available.