Seven Different Kinds Of ATR Smoke!

In Gotham, it’s doomsday! This morning the UFT unleashed their rumored doomsday weapon in the debate over the absent teacher reserve (ATR) via Edwize and ATR chronicler Elizabeth Green.

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.

6 thoughts on “Seven Different Kinds Of ATR Smoke!

  1. Anonymous

    I find the tone of this post really disgusting, even more so than your usual sarcasm-laden holier-than-thou posts on lazy teachers and corrupt unions. (This from the blogger who claims to want to get districts and unions “working together”).

    Just another example of your willingness to defend a report–no matter how weak or no matter who paid for it–as long as it comports with your hostile view toward teachers and unions.

  2. john thompson

    As usual, Dean Millot said it well. Management wants to make things easier for management.

    Of course the meetings were secret, but what do you think? Were the central office staff chafing at the bit seeking authority to follow procedures and terminate ineffective teachers in a fair manner?

    Of course. the 360 degree evaluations of schools advocated by the UFT wouldn’t be easy either. But it. or something like it is necessary.

    The question is whether we want to continue simplistic quick fixes. and blame each other, or tackle the tough problems.

    I’m even more distant from this process and I don’t know any of the personalities. But I’ve seen the human dynamic in a smaller district. If you want good faith bargaining. we need a moratorium on bogus use of numbers.

  3. Chaz

    You seem to have failed to mention that the DOE knew very well that they would have a major ATR problem when they asked for the elimination of the seniority transfer system. They got their wish and now they whine about the consequences.

    Shame on you for your selective omission of the DOE and UFT deal that caused the ATR problem in the first place.

  4. suriyan nathan

    This problem was caused by the “divide and rule” mentality of
    the city! Had the UFT and DC37 sat down together, something the
    UFT is loath to do, senior workers, i.e., senior teachers, would not
    be in this horrible situation! Just think how precedent setting it will
    be to the other unions, if as some would want, ex. TNTP, would like to
    replace senior workers, i.e, senior teachers with young workers,
    i.e., new/junior teachers!

  5. Richard H

    Interesting post. A subject near and dear to my heart and one I’ve spent a fair amount of personal research on the past couple years. I can not agree with you in 100% regarding some thoughts, but you have got a good point of view. Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. buyinfo

    I’m even more distant from this process and I don’t know any of the personalities. But I’ve seen the human dynamic in a smaller district. If you want good faith bargaining. we need a moratorium on bogus use of numbers.

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