Essentially they argue that the data that The New Teacher Project used in their report is wrong and that their data shows that the ATR problem is much less than TNTP would have you believe. The UFT argues that a lot of the teachers in question are actually teaching off-budget in schools. TNTP responds here and pushes back on the key points. (Update: The UFT responds to that here.) Read the entire thing but the punchline is that (a) the crux of the TNTP findings seem to stand-up although there may be some noise around the margins and (b) the UFT is using different criteria than TNTP did. To the extent that the dueling analyses become an issue, Eduwonk suggests getting an independent entity, for instance The Times or a panel of experts to put forward some criteria and then evaluate the data against it.
But, in the end, it’s not about the specific numbers per se, the buried lede is in the Green story:
For seven months, the administration has been holding private meetings with the union seeking some way to either fire or cut the pay of members of the pool. Such a change would be historic in city schools long ruled by union efforts to create air-tight job security. The meetings all ended in stalemate.
7 months? Wow, that must have been a good time…But this is the nub of the issue here and also where any compromise lies. The city won’t stand for forced placements (meaning putting these teachers in schools over the objections of principals) and the union won’t stand for just cutting them loose (TNTP recommends a period of time – different for novices and veterans- before that happens but it sounds like the UFT won’t go for it regardless). So what’s the deal — read money needed — to fix the problem?
School officials seem to think that they can wait this out and win it because this situation simply can’t survive public scrutiny over time. They’re probably right. Even taking the UFT’s numbers (it’s a crisis at fire sale prices, only $18 million! ) this would be, as they say, hard to sell at the Rotary Club. Paying people not to work, not temporarily but over time, when it’s documented like this just is not tenable anymore. The UFT is going to have to deal on this at some point and their position most likely gets weaker as time goes on.