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Friday, August 8, 2014

NYC DOE Press Office Issues A Press Release on ATRs

Wow. The press office is really impressive. Even though almost everything written in the press release below is false, I'm sure that many people believe what it says. One laughable point:

"Reducing the ATR pool and helping qualified teachers find permanent positions and helping those unfit for the profession move on to other careers continues to be an important priority for the Department".

If you believe this, I have a bridge to sell you.

What the heck does "helping qualified teachers" mean??? and what about "find permanent positions"?

The Department has no idea who is 'qualified' or what that means. They could not care less. DOE policy: A good teacher is a teacher who is under 30 years of age, asks no questions, and has a low salary. This is always a subjective judgment, seen through a prism of dislike, retaliation, budgetary concerns, etc. There are no facts or data in observations. (Elentuck v Green). Qualified means different things to different people. If you don't like someone, nothing this person does will be good, effective, professional, or proper.

The Department is helping someone? Quick - get on your computer and email me this story, because this is news to me.

Oh, I see, the Department is helping 'qualified' teachers find 'permanent' homes. How? In secret? No one knows about this. Quick - go to your computer and email me, this is news. Does this mean that the people at OPI (Office of Personnel Investigations) at 65 Court Street have stopped putting everyone who is charged or who has an allegation of wrong-doing, on the "problem code" list? I don't know about that. Quick, go to your computer......

No one is getting permanent positions unless you just graduated from Teaching Express, the new, 2-month course for young people under the age of 30. The Department of Justice is looking into the age requirement, so get your teaching license quickly. Signing up and paying the fees are easy - everything is paid for by David Welch, soon to be fighting in New York City for the end of tenure.
David Welch

'...helping those unfit [to teach] move on to other careers....' is an interesting concept. I wonder what exactly the Department is referring to? Other careers at the homeless shelter spooning food onto the paper plate? Driving a taxi? Who is unfit to teach, and how do you [the DOE] establish this "fact". Send them to me, I will help them appeal and fight. Ironically, the Department might be telling the truth on this one. They are 'helping' people get out of teaching by discontinuing anyone who asks a question about LODI or special education, and charging tenured teachers with anything anyone can make up.

The numbers of ATRs and the money "saved" is, at this point, hearsay. After countless calls to DOE administrators, no one knows how many people are ATRs. Oh, yes, I forgot: "there is no ATR pool over the summer". So, over the summer you are once again a tenured teacher!!! Yay, now back to that bridge you said I could sell you, let's chat.

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
President, ADVOCATZ
I fight to win 
                                                     NYC DOE PRESS RELEASE ON ATRs

Education Reporters,

I want to update you on the first phase of our effort to reduce the size of the Absent Teacher Reserve pool. As part of the new contract with the UFT, if eligible individuals in the ATR pool decided to leave, they got a severance pay-out that was a sliding scale based on years of service up to a maximum of 10 weeks of pay. In the one-time window to take the package that ended this week, 115 people in the ATR, including 97 teachers, opted for a severance package. The average compensation afforded to each was 9 weeks of pay.

Reducing the Size of the ATR Pool:

The deadline to apply for the buyouts was Monday, August 4. As of this spring, there were 1,131 teachers in the ATR pool, with around 1,300 including all UFT titles. Please note that there is no ATR pool over the summer—a new one is established each year when the school year commences. Based on those leaving the ATR as a result of these packages, we expect to begin the coming school year with a smaller ATR pool than last fall. Note: the ATR is historically at its highest point in the fall, as the hiring process is still underway. At the beginning of last fall, it stood at nearly 2,000 teachers.

Cost Savings:

These buyouts represent significant long-term cost savings for the Department. On average, employees who took the compensation package earn $93,000 annually and as a group, when fringe benefits are included, the cost of maintaining these teachers in the ATR would have totaled $15 million in the coming year alone. Instead, the Department anticipates paying around $16,000 per employee for a one-time cost of $1.8 million total.

Further Tools to Reduce the ATR Pool:

Reducing the ATR pool and helping qualified teachers find permanent positions and helping those unfit for the profession move on to other careers continues to be an important priority for the Department. The severance package represented the first step in our new procedures to reduce the ATR pool, and over the coming months, we will move forward with other measures to further reduce the pool based on tools in the new teachers’ contract, including:

· The DOE is facilitating interviews and introductions to help ATR teachers re-enter the teaching force. Principals retain the power to hire or decline to hire a teacher from the ATR. There will be no forced placements.
· If a teacher from the ATR fails to appear at interviews or fails to accept a teaching position he or she is offered, the teacher will be deemed to have resigned from the school system.
· Starting later in the fall, the DOE will assign ATR teachers to schools with vacancies where they can be used on a temporary, provisional basis to cover classes and be considered for the vacant position. Principals can remove ATR teachers from these assignments at any time.
· If an ATR teacher in a temporary, provisional assignment in a vacancy demonstrates documented problematic behavior more than once, the DOE will initiate a special 3020a process to expedite disciplinary action including potential termination.

Here is a quote for your use from Chancellor Carmen FariƱa: “We're developing a world-class school system, and to do that, we need world-class teachers educating our students. We are pleased that through this educator's contract, we were able to develop a process that is mutually beneficial for the DOE by reducing spending and for the teachers who have chosen to leave. And we are doing so while respecting mutual-consent hiring. There is no forced placement of these teachers.”

Kaye Devora <>

Please read Eric's post on hiring teachers on Craigslist:
Sunday, August 10, 2014

Principals Continue To Advertise For Teachers Outside The DOE Approved Process.