Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Tuesday was the day for the latest ATR job fair where experienced teachers had to line up for what we have been told were very few positions. Next week there will be another one of these pseudo hiring halls.

Meanwhile back in Jamaica High School, there is nobody covering the library as the librarian was excessed and has been assigned as an ATR to a school in Long Island City. Therefore, the library is closed most of the day; it is only open because there are no classrooms available so some teachers, including myself, are teaching there. In addition, 35 classes at Jamaica are oversize as our phasing out school is squeezed into a smaller part of the building.

I was also informed by another friend who was excessed from Jamaica that she has nothing to do at her new school. 35 oversize classes at Jamaica with no librarian and teachers are sitting around as ATRs in other schools doing nothing.
How can the DOE, the union, the press and the public allow this to happen?

It gets worse. Today a former colleague, now an ATR, talked about having six working periods in a row in a long term assignment when the contractual maximum is four. I also heard a report about a teacher who quit rather than face a second year as an ATR. In my opinion, this is exactly what the DOE wants.

The agreement that the UFT and DOE signed in June that allows ATRs to be moved every week (I was told weekly rotations will start as early as October) appears to be an effort to make ATRs so fed up with the system so that more of them will resign.

To add further insult to injury, the city eased its so called hiring freeze this summer to further decrease the chances of experienced people being picked up in a different school.

The city lost on non seniority layoffs (Last in First Out) when the state refused to change the civil service law earlier this year but humiliating ATRS by sending them around to different schools every week and making them travel across the city to hiring halls that offer only a few jobs appears to be a way around the law. It looks like the DOE plans to make life so miserable that these professionals will become demoralized and leave. Please hang in there ATRs.

We must push the UFT into supporting ATRS or find another way to help. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. If the UFT tells you that you are lucky to have a job in this economy, I would acknowledge that they have a point but that all teachers, including ATRS, deserve to teach with dignity. The current system robs these pros of a chance to practice their craft in a truly meaningful way.

For those who are in the so called good schools and aren't worried, you should be. It's very easy for the DOE to move well prepared students into schools the DOE likes and flood a school on the DOE hit list with students who are less likely to succeed.

The only positive development is that there has been some coverage of the plight of ATRS in the Huffington Post from my colleague Marc Epstein that was picked up by the NYCATR blog. Chaz and Ed Notes are also noting the brewing anger of ATRs.


Anonymous said...

Too bad the UFT isn't as concerned as you are James. The ATRs are lucky to have someone fighting for their dignity.

Pogue said...

Well, so far, John Liu is the only politician who has mentioned this ATR problem.

Christine Quinn enabled Bloomberg to get his third term, and I already see Mulgrew in friendly photos with her.

As we know, the UFT leadership can get a little weird with their endorsements/silence around election time.

Thus, it is important, ATR's and rank and file teachers support those politicians who truly understand the educational malfeasance going on, and have shown signs of fighting against Bloomberg policies.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering why the new English teacher and Math teacher are young teachers. While many of my former Jamaica HS colleagues sit in the ATR pool.

The UFT gets to collect two sets of dues one from the ATR and another from the newly appointed teacher because that all they really care about.

Anonymous said...

When did the librarian get excessed? Libraries being closed are another example of UFT compliance with the DOE, since it is NYS LAW that high schools have a licensed librarian and a library space in the building.

Carnarsie HS , I've heard, also just excessed and closed their library.

THAT should be an easy layup case to press against the DOE, yet no attempt is made by the UFT. Is there no stark example of the UFT being weak here? The UFT has enough money to sue the city on this one.


Anonymous said...

This agreement is not being enforced. It was a ploy to stop the layoffs. However you slice it, per diems got the shaft by merely announcing that they can no longer fill long term vacancies. What if no ATR is available? It is supposed to be "illegal" to hire a sub in a long term assignment, but from what I hear on my end, they are getting those positions anyway. However, ATRs are not getting hired and will remain as glorified subs dispalcing per diems wherever they go. They are not responsible for this mess and both ATRs and per diems got the shaft.

veteran teacher said...

what is the deal on if you are an ATR filling a vacancy out of license? do you still get displaced after the start of october? the uft has given me 3 poor and different answers

Former teacher said...

I would like for you to ponder this situation because I can not understand this. I am a former high school teacher and how have been subbing for the past three years. I had prepared myself for the situation that the ATRS would be taking over the per diem sub programs and there would be very little work this year.

Now this is what has happened. I have been called by subcentral to sub on Friday 9/9- once, Monday 9/12 once, Tuesday 9/13 twice, Wednesday 9/14 twice, Thursday 9/15 twice, and Friday 9/16 three times. Firstly,I have never been called this early to sub in the past years. Secondly, where are the coverages that the faculty has to do before the school can start calling subs? Thirdly, where are all the ATRS?

I am not complaining about getting work but there is definitely no oversight as to what is happening in the schools. They continually complain about not having money yet now they blow through the substitute money in the budget September and then harass the staff about taking legitimate days off later in the year.

Anonymous said...

The last comment is so true. Nobody is watching what is going on in the nyc schools.

FEDUP! said...

In my old school they changed the codes of my program to allow someone's hubby to take my job..he is working as a day to day sub. I filed a grievance lost i Step 1 and know I will lose in Step 2. The union doesn't care and the principals are getting away with this!