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A comment on ATRs and the New Teacher Project

May 12, 2008 am31 2:28 am

A week ago Eduwonkette posted about the New Teacher Project, “Why You Should Read the Fine Print in the New Teacher Project Report,” and I left a comment. I liked it, and reprint it here:

I think we have more than the evidence we need to conclude that the Department of Education has structured hiring to be discriminatory.

The “open market” may have had some features of “mutual consent,” but between a principal with a several-million budget, staff of dozens or hundreds, and the ability to slosh some cash around, and a teacher-applicant with an electronic resume, the inequality places a huge question mark over the idea of anything being genuinely mutual.

But now, “Fair Student Funding” destroys the last vestige.

The DoE will pay the salaries of all teachers in the system. That doesn’t change. Principals do not pay salaries. They allocate internal funding.

So the DoE saves no money through FSF. But by giving principals control over local allocation, the Dept encourages them to pass over senior teachers.

(continues beneath the fold)–>

In stronger schools, in schools in middle class and upper middle class neighborhoods, principals are somewhat constrained by needing to deliver to parents and kids. But in most of the City, esp in “that” half of Brooklyn and most of the Bronx, in the Blackest and most Puerto Rican and Dominican neighborhoods, there is no such constraint, and the discrimination has become rampant.

By pushing senior teachers (with higher salaries) into ATR status, by also throwing a handful of U’ed teachers into that status, the DoE seeks to conflate the two categories. They will, mark my words, seek to discontinue ATRs. That’s where $ savings comes. And by churning the teaching corps they work towards weakening the union (and, they think, getting more concessions next time, or the time after that…)

As to the New Teacher Project’s reference to the UFT analysis, I must state openly that I believe the analysis was self-serving, with the union not willing to admit having sent older members to the abatoir. As the evidence mounts, and it is mounting, we will be seeing franker analysis.

Which brings me back to the beginning. While we (I am a teacher, I support my union despite mistakes) must negotiate with the DoE, we have no real choice at this point but to assume that they are acting in bad faith at every turn, that they have hidden agendae, etc, etc.

The problem is an anti-teacher, anti-education Dept of Education. They actively promote hiring the newest teachers possible. They actively promote high teacher turnover. They actively promote instability in the schools. They are powerful and dangerous and must be countered.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2008 am31 12:19 am 12:19 am

    thanks for posting this.

    it’s inspiring to read somebody other than me
    saying we have to assume bad faith from
    high-level bureaucrats … this message
    needs to be *much* better known.

    it’d be helpful to those of us
    not in new york (e.g., … maybe
    even interested non-teachers) to remind us
    (routinely … i’m a slow learner) of stuff like
    “ATR” = “Absent Teacher Reserves”
    (= dirty trick for union busting;
    this part comes through loud and clear
    in the present instance, however).

  2. May 13, 2008 am31 12:20 am 12:20 am

    ah. here it is in your previous post. never mind.

  3. Manny Lopez permalink
    June 25, 2008 pm30 9:44 pm 9:44 pm

    FSF? Do you know anything about Oakland’s Results-Based Budgeting (RBB)? I know that Joel Klein has worked with Randy Ward (former OUSD State Administrator) on school finance issues. There is plenty of evidence of discrimination here. The more a teacher costs the more pressure they get from their administrator. Oh and good luck finding a job! It’s a real mess!

  4. Anonymous permalink
    September 28, 2009 pm30 5:23 pm 5:23 pm

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