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draining the pool
August 7, 2017
Five things we still don’t know about who is in New York City’s Absent Teacher Reserve
The truth is, we know very little about the teachers in the pool.
draining the pool
July 20, 2017
New York City principals balk at plan to place teachers in their schools; some vow to get around it
Some principals say they’ll avoid any attempt to place teachers at their schools, even if that means obscuring open jobs from the city’s hiring systems.
By the numbers
March 20, 2015
Most ATR teachers who left system since new contract took buyouts, retired
In his fight to fend off Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the city is already cracking down on subpar teachers, pointing to 290 teacher exits.
draining the atr pool
December 6, 2014
Excessed teacher pool hits five-year low, but not because of more hiring
The number of excessed teachers who remained on the city’s payroll in September was smaller than it had been in five years, but that still left 1,676 teachers without full-time positions when the school year got underway.
April 3, 2014
Advocates to Fariña: More specifics on forced placement, please
Advocates looking to keep the teachers in the city's Absent Teacher Reserve out of classrooms say Chancellor Fariña hasn't said enough about her plans for those teachers.
March 20, 2014
Fariña’s message on ATR pool: No forced placement
Speaking at a City Council hearing, Chancellor Carmen Fariña was unequivocal that the city would stick with its current policy of not forcing teachers to work in specific schools or principals to accept teachers they don’t want.
October 4, 2012
For the first time, guidance counselors join ATR rotation system
Most teachers without permanent positions are looking forward to a greater chance of stability after the city and teachers union last month agreed to place them in long-term substitute slots before rotating them to different schools weekly, as happened last year. But the 300 guidance counselors and social workers in the Absent Teacher Reserve are gearing up to begin cycling from school to school for the first time. Last 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. Instead 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. Coming at a time when many schools have trimmed support services because of budget cuts, the change has some educators and researchers raising their eyebrows.
October 3, 2012
City-union deal restores ATRs to long-term substitute positions
Teachers without positions who have been cycling through different schools each week will be assigned to more stable positions again, according to a deal that the city and UFT struck a month ago. Under the terms of a different deal struck to avert teacher layoffs in 2011, the city last year sent members of the Absent Teacher Reserve, teachers whose positions had been eliminated, to different schools each week. The purpose of the rotation system, city and union officials said at the time, was to reduce spending on substitute teachers and increase the chances of ATRs landing a permanent job. But the union found that some principals were filling their long-term absences with regular substitutes instead of allowing ATRs to cycle into them, according to union officials, in less extreme examples of improprieties alleged at Fort Hamilton High School. The practice let principals maintain control over their staff and allowed them to avoid hiring ATRs, whom former Chancellor Joel Klein characterized as “teachers who either don’t care to, or can’t, find a job.” So the union filed a grievance against the city over the rotation system. The city agreed to negotiate policy changes rather than contest the grievance and risk having changes imposed by an arbitrator. The main change, city officials say, is that any absence of longer than 29 days will be filled automatically, at least at first, by a member of the ATR pool. Previously, ATRs were supposed to fill "long-term absences," but that term wasn't defined, so it often did not happen. So starting next week, ATRs will be assigned to fill absences of 30 days or more when the vacancy is in their geographic and license areas. Only if there is no appropriate long-term placement will the teachers continue to work as itinerant substitutes.
May 17, 2012
In lieu of new evaluations, city looks to options in union contract
Chancellor Dennis Walcott speaks to business leaders at the Association for a Better New York breakfast. After years of trying to win new powers to fire under-performing teachers, the city is turning to rights it has had all along. Speaking to a coalition representing the city's business elite this morning, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced that the city would move to fire any teacher who receives "unsatisfactory" ratings for two years in a row. He also announced that the city would ask the UFT to allow buyouts for teachers who have been without permanent positions for more than a year. Both policies are already permitted under the law and the city's contract with the teachers union — a fact that drew ridicule from UFT President Michael Mulgrew. "It's theater of the absurd. It's getting old," he said. "I think they believe that everyone's a fool. They've made an announcement about something they already have the ability to do." Mulgrew noted that the union contract already allows Department of Education officials to do exactly what Walcott's two plans announced today would do—incentivize teachers without permanent jobs to take buyouts, and require schools to remove teachers who receive consecutive unsatisfactory ratings. He also said the buyout plan was proposed by the union several times over the past three years, but the city rebuffed it.
October 31, 2011
After first month of weekly job rotations, 1 in 10 ATRs found jobs
In the last month, nearly 10 percent of teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve have found new positions, according to data the Department of Education released today. Chart showing the exit paths of teachers from the ATR pool during October The hiring took place during a time when the department shuffled teachers in the ATR pool to new positions every week, under the terms of an agreement with the teachers union. The city and UFT say the agreement is meant to match more teachers with open positions. But at a union meeting for ATRs last month, some teachers speculated that the weekly assignments were intended to frustrate ATRs into resignation. Numbers from the first month have not borne out that theory. Of the teachers who left the pool, 172 found new positions, 11 took a leave from the DOE, and 18 exited the school system entirely. Altogether, nearly 750 teachers have exited the pool since mid-August, when the city said 1,940 teachers were without permanent positions. The new numbers show that the pool of teachers without permanent positions has settled at roughly the same size every year for three years, even though principals faced with shrinking budgets have cut jobs each summer. There are currently 1,200 teachers in the ATR pool, 77 fewer than last year at this time and 47 fewer than in November 2009.
October 3, 2011
Union to detail ATR plan at meetings for position-less teachers
One month into the school year, the United Federation of Teachers is hosting a series of meetings for the teachers without permanent assignments in city schools who comprise the controversial Absent Teacher Reserve. Set for each borough over the next week, the meetings are meant to explain the deal the teachers union struck with the city this summer over the ATR pool to avoid teacher layoffs, according to Peter Kadushin, a UFT spokesman. Representatives from the union will also field feedback from teachers about the deal, which requires teachers in the ATR pool to be reassigned to different schools multiple times over the course of the year. In previous years, teachers whose positions had been eliminated were typically assigned to one school for the entire year. The first meeting was scheduled for today at the union's Bronx office — with meetings at UFT offices in other boroughs to follow. In the past, the union has held meetings for teachers in the ATR pool at its central office at the beginning of the school year, Kadushin said. Teachers in the ATR pool have been working in temporary jobs inside schools that were assigned by the DOE for the month of September. Next week, the teachers will begin rotating to substitute teaching positions throughout the school system on a weekly basis — assignments they expect to receive from the DOE later this week.
September 6, 2011
Comptroller's audit criticizes city's handling of ATR pool
Chart from Comptroller John Liu's audit of the Absent Teacher Reserve. The Department of Education could potentially be doing more to help teachers whose positions have been eliminated find new jobs. That's one conclusion of an audit conducted by Comptroller John Liu of the DOE's efforts to help members of the Absent Teacher Reserve, the pool of teachers whose jobs were lost to budget cuts, enrollment changes, or school closures. The audit concluded that the vast majority of ATRs — 95 percent — are working full-time in teaching jobs, but that the department doesn't maintain data sufficient to conclude whether its efforts to help the teachers find permanent positions are paying off. "Without such information, we believe that DOE is significantly hindered in its ability to evaluate the success of its efforts in helping ATR teachers find permanent positions," the report concludes. The audit is not meant to dictate policy and is intended only to draw attention to what the report said was an information gap within the DOE on the ATR pool. But an unwritten conclusion also seems to be that the city is wasting money by hiring new teachers when ATRs are licensed to do the job.
June 27, 2011
School budgets to be trimmed by average of 2.43 percent
With their schools' budgets for next year finally in hand, principals are now being tasked with cutting nearly 2.5 percent. Department of Education officials announced the cuts this morning in an online presentation to principals, many of whom had grown anxious about heading into summer vacation without knowing how much they would be able to spend next year. School-level budgets, usually announced in late May or early June, had been held up by city negotiations over Mayor Bloomberg's threat to lay off teachers. A deal reached Friday night averted layoffs with a mix of union concessions and City Council funds. Now, even though there will be no layoffs, schools will still suffer budget cuts of $178 million, or an average of 2.43 percent, according to the presentation. That follows a 4 percent cut last year, and school officials say many schools remain likely to trim their staffs. "Given the current budget conditions, we expect that many schools will be compelled to excess teachers," reads one slide of the presentation. "Many of the teachers placed in excess will be capable and effective teachers, and we are committed to creating opportunities for them to be promptly hired elsewhere." The DOE's central administration budget will fall by 13.5 percent, according to the presentation.
July 15, 2009
Second set of hiring restrictions lifted, this time in science
New teachers who have wanted to help the city address its severe shortage of science teachers can now be considered for jobs. Until today, the…
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