I was with my wife in Valhalla, having just gotten in the car, when the contract announcement came over the radio. I delayed our trip home to tweet and text information that was coming from the Farina/Mulgrew love fest. One thing was on my mind the most. And it wasn't the raises, it wasn't the retro. It wasn't any of the givebacks or little deals made behind our backs. The most important thing to me was the status of the ATR's (Absent Teacher Reserves). To me and The Crack Team that was the deal breaker.
At another time we can delve into the raise, the added hours, the merit pay, etc... But for this evening, the topic of discussion are the ATR's.
The Crack Team and myself have spoken and with and read the blogs of several prominent bloggers. Chaz, Reality Based Educator, and Urban Ed. Now remember, not all the details have been released about the ATR's, but we have been able to get a pretty good general idea. But remember, this post is open to any revision coming down the pike.
It seems that if one is an ATR, you will not be forced into a school that you don't want to be in nor will a ATR be foisted upon a principal. It is has to be mutual.
The ATR will have to interview and if offered a job will have (according to Chaz) a 50 day try out (If the principal thinks you have cooties you are gone), though Farina said it can be as little as 1 day. After that 50th or 1 day, the ATR gets one more chance at remaining in a school. If you flunk out again, that's it, your career is over. There is an expedited hearing to be had within 1 month that is not to be more than 1 day. See how this can be abused?
What is to keep a principal from being in cahoots with a higher up to "get" a teacher that is in the ATR pool? That principal can be directed to take on that teacher and than let him or her go. Repeat it again and that teacher, their salary, their pension, and their health benefits are off the books. Bye, bye to that ATR and bring on the next victim.
Now as Chaz mentioned;
In fact, principals are not required to hire ATRs for their vacancies until October 15th, by then all vacancies are usually filled.So there again is the double edged sword that will keep ATR's out of schools. But then again this might be a good thing, no?
But what can an ATR do to keep from getting terminated? It is so simple.
Remember, there apparently is no penalty for the ATR if her or she goes on the interview and does not get a position. The Crack Team cracked the numbers and came up with a simple solution.
Blow the interview. If you are a male teacher, come dressed as Corporal Klinger. If you are a female teacher, come dressed as Bette Davis. Come to the interview and answer the questions wrong, don't bring a portfolio, act as dumb as possible.
Be rude, be crude, share with the principal the number of time you were taken aboard the mother ship and went to the home world. Don't shower, don't shave. Share with the principal that you believe Jim Morrison and Andy Kaufman are still alive and you have tea with them every Sunday afternoon at the Blue Bay Diner in Riverdale. But remember, whatever you do, blow the interview.
And one more thing. VOTE NO ON THE NEW CONTRACT! Send a message. We need to look out for one another and we need to support the ATR's. They need it, the deserve it, and they have earned it.