A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by acts of corruption and fraud. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, and re-assigned. The terms "rubber room" and "ATR" mean that you or any person has been targeted for removal from your job. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
We have heard that Guidance Counselors are being given the title
"Absent Counselor Reserve". Without making any assumptions about how
this title came into existence (UFT 'allowed' the NYC DOE to create this
new title), what duties and responsibilities do people who are suddenly
working under this designation, have? If any.
the 300 guidance counselors and social workers in the Absent Teacher
Reserve are gearing up to begin cycling from school to school for the
year, even as other members of the ATR pool, the group of educators
whose positions have been eliminated, began the rotation system, the
counselors were assigned to a single school so they could work with
individual students for extended periods of time. But starting next
week, they will be assigned to different schools each week, dramatically
changing their roles and responsibilities.
of working with students one on one, the counselors will take on
shorter-term tasks, city officials said. The tasks could include making
classroom presentations on graduation requirements, conflict management,
and the college or high school application process; organizing records;
supporting the school’s college counselors; and reviewing student
schedules at the start of the semester.
at a time when many schools have trimmed support services because of
budget cuts, the change has some educators and researchers raising their
the counselors I have talked to are very adamant that what’s very
important is regular meetings and keeping up with students,” said
Randall Reback, a professor at Columbia University who has researched
the roles counselors play in schools.
think rotating at different points in the school year would be very
detrimental to that,” he added. “It’s not like you can just pinch hit
and have a different person show up and expect to make progress, because
it’s very much about developing that relationship and trust.”
But others said the rotation system is better than nothing for schools that would otherwise go without a counselor this year.
school might not have the money to hire an ATR,” said City Councilman
Robert Jackson, the chair of the council’s education committee.
Jackson said the weekly rotations would make it difficult for the
counselors to work with students without taking detailed notes for the
next person to pick up. Though imperfect, he said that set up would be
preferable to having the counselors conduct only administrative tasks,
because “It’s better to be working with students than sitting in the ATR
city and union officials agreed to the rotation system in June 2011 as
part of a deal to avert teacher layoffs, they both said the goal was to
cut spending on substitute teachers and expose teachers without
permanent positions to multiple principals who might hire them.
Although teachers in the pool criticized the rotation system for
unfairly stigmatizing them and preventing them from making use of their
expertise as educators, union and city officials have both said the
system had resulted in hundreds of teachers exiting the pool for