Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Seeing Red

I just have to answer this Daily News article. Since I know they would never print my response, I will just post it here. My comments are in red because that is what I saw when I read this article. The black is from the News.

With the new school year nearly here, with principals bracing for budget cuts, almost 2,000 teachers are getting ready to pass their days at full salary - doing nothing.

DO NOTHING!!!!!! The author of this article has not seen an ATR at work or he would never write this. One of the ATRs in my school taught 5 classes (some not even in her license area) one term and the other term she taught 4 classes and mentored two new teachers. Yes, the teacher that is deemed too unfit to be in a classroom was asked to help two young newbies. She was also asked to run staff development. Another ATR worked in the college office and spent almost every period counseling students, helping them fill out college applications and all the other stuff that goes with applying for the universities. Still another one worked as a daily sub (not her choice.) She got to know some of the most difficult students in the school and was able to help them. They are more than earning their salaries and if there are schools where they aren't, the administration is to blame, not the teacher.

They have no place to go because the city's more than 1,100 principals have not offered positions. Which is a biting commentary on how well-suited many seem to be for the classroom.

HOW WELL SUITED!!! The problem is not the ATR, it is the fair funding policy and the fact that principals want the young, moldable teachers. The mentor program no longer exists so quite a few ATRs are former mentors. Klein told them they were the cream of the crop. Now they are undesirable. Take a 30 something principal who is lucky he can wipe his own bottom and take his word on suitability. Give me a break!

The roster is now a couple thousand long, at a cost of $200 million a year. The Education Department has offered résumé-writing help and other job-hunting aid. And Chancellor Joel Klein has assured principals their budgets will not take a hit if they hire pricier, more experienced teachers rather than younger peers.

All the help mentioned is true however most of these people don't need the help. They are experienced, qualified people who know how to present themselves. And, schools will take hits in the long run. Principals don't want teachers who might ask why instead of answering "Yes sir, may I have another."
The longer teachers stay idle, the smaller their chances of finding work. Long timers are more likely to have unsatisfactory performance ratings than colleagues outside the pool. More than 325 have sat for over a year.
Isn't it interesting that only older teachers are undesirable and have unsatisfactory ratings. I smell a rat here. The three ATRs I know all have satisfactory rating for their entire careers and they still cannot get teaching positions.

The waste is unconscionable.
IT SURE IS. Klein ought to force principals to hire these wonderful teachers.

I know I am rambling on a problem that is not mine. But, it could be. Besides, I grew up in an era where people stood up for others, we weren't afraid of consequences. We stood up for what is right.

This is only a little blog but when I look at the counter in the sidebar, I know it is well read. I would be just as guilty as Klein, Bloomberg, the principals out there who won't hire ATRs, and the writer of this article if I kept silent. My message has to be heard and it has to be repeated over and over again. We can't let ATRs lose their job because of the negative propaganda being spread.

You might be safe in your job today, but you never know what tomorrow will hold. Your "A" school today might be an F school next year and Klein will decide to shut it down. You will then be an ATR. The principal that loves you now might be replaced by a teenie bobber leadership academy one next year. You might then become an ATR. You might be young now but trust me, if you are fortunate, you too will be old and the system will want to put you out to pasture as well.


12 more years said...

Did you send it to the Daily News? It is WONDERFUL. You told it exactly the way it is.

Anonymous said...

Another way to become an ATR is to be sent via false charges to the rubber room and upon release become an ATR.
This can and has happened to our best, brightest and most experienced teachers.
This enables even more disparaging attacks on the ATR ranks as being comprised of 'disciplinary problems'. And is another vulnerability for those other teachers who think they are safe today.
Your views on standing up for fellow teachers caught up in predicaments beyond their control. are decidedly old fashioned. But you are not alone.

burntoutteacher said...

Brava! Please submit it to the News. You never know...

Anonymous said...

Excellent rejoinders to the smears against ATRs!

We are told by the DoE and the UFT to look for jobs. But how can we when the official transfer login site

has the following "need not apply" message?:
Important Note to All Users – Read Before Attempting to Register or Log In:
This system will not recognize user accounts from the Excess Staff Selection System or user accounts from prior Open Market periods. If this is your first login attempt for this Open Market period, please register as a new user.
A cookie must indicate that my PC belongs to an ATR, because this subtitle appears early in the webpage:
Excessed Staff Selection System - Sign In

Activists and reporters need to know: we can't apply to schools even if we want to. This flies in the face of official policy saying that ATRs have priority.

mathman42 said...

Last post actually indicates that ATRs can use the system, as intended ( not that they will be called, of course). My school has a number of vacancies; I will try to find out on Tuesday why they have not been filled.