The Crack Team received an exclusive email from an ATR regarding the sham hiring practices ATR's encounter in looking for a permanent position.
Last year I went on 15 interviews for positions in English in Brooklyn. In each case, I and other ATRs with English licenses were interviewed after a new teacher had been hired. In some cases I was told upon arrival to the interview, "Thank you for coming, the position has been filled."
In some cases, I was interviewed and told during the interview that they had already chosen a candidate and they were only interviewing me out of compliance with a mandate to interview ATRs. In other cases, I was interviewed but never heard back from the school.
Two of my placements as an ATR were in schools where I had interviewed. In each school I met the teacher who had been hired. In both cases, the teacher was brand new to the system. One was a new graduate from Ed school. The other had worked for a year in Suffolk County.
Were these probationary teachers more qualified? Absolutely not. I have a B.A and an MA plus 30.
Do they have more experience? One teacher had student teaching, the other had 1 year of experience in a suburban school. I have 18 years of experience in the district where I have taught urban populations. I have lived in this community for 25 years.
The new recruits were not from NYC, nor had they worked in an urban district before. Neither teacher had ever worked with a high needs population before.
What then do they have that made them the ideal candidate?
As regular substitutes, they can be paid $150 a day and fired without due process.
The issue is not about hiring effective teachers. It's about the DoE's decision to grant Principal's the autonomy and discretion to make all administrative and economic decisions without the constraint of union rules. It's also about the Department of Education's long term strategy drive down the cost of labor, while privatizing corporate services throughout the system, and generating profits for their wealthy investors.
There you have it. I was planning to compare this to would one rather have a heart surgeon right out of medical school or a seasoned heart surgeon who has done may heart operations. But I changed my mind.
I think the bigger picture is how there is not only a level of mistrust of the DOE--and the UFT--but a actual, rational anxiety that ATR's have to the new rules that govern them.
If they, and the DOE and UFT, can be manipulated in ways written of in the above email, then what is to prevent a unscrupulous principal in continuing to manipulate the ATR system?
Today Chaz wrote in his blog;
However, for ATRs, special rules already apply and if the ATR exceeds 10 days, the ATR will be automatically rated "unsatisfactory" by the field supervisor,And, problematic behavior has yet to be defined. Nor are there any checks and balances to be sure to keep rouge (Which suffice it to say is the rule not the exception) administrators from abusing the 50 day rule.
For ATRs, the new contract's special rules that will start in the 2014-15 school year will allow only two consecutive days for an ATR to not show up to the school and since the ATR is absent without notification the DOE will assume that the ATR resigned.
Worse, and this is a feeling I get, is that the ATR's feel worse about the lack of empathy and support from fellow teachers. Be it in the schools they go to each week or just system wide. This kind of behavior is somewhat expected by the DOE and the UFT, but to get it from your very own colleagues must be crushing.
Sadly, the lack of feeling from colleagues is staring to be pretty standard operating procedure and I am sure that shock and disappointment must be wearing off.