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Movement Afoot on N.Y.C. Reserve-Pool Placements?


From Guest Blogger Liana Heitin

After instituting an out-system hiring freeze, forcing principals to hire from within the Absent Teacher Reserve pool, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein may now be disclosing that he’s less than optimistic about the candidates available for hire. I recently heard whisperings that the Department of Education has begun the process of assigning ATRs to school placements, where they will be put on rosters as permanent substitutes. Why isn’t the DOE waiting until the end of the summer to see if these teachers find jobs? Since the ATRs are not assuming full-time positions, preliminary placements are not usually finalized until August.

Is this an attempt to get a jump on a long and prickly administrative process? Or could Klein be admitting that these teachers, many of whom are u-rated and have been in the pool for years, unlikely to find work?

Klein has provided incentives for schools to hire from the reserve pool, including subsidizing 50 percent of each hired ATRs salary for the first year, and has now implemented the out-system ban. Yet there’s still a possibility, considering pending budget cuts and the possible release of the freeze for hard-to-staff subjects, that the reserve pool will not diminish. And if teachers receive their assignments early, some may be tempted (or content) to stay in the pool rather than apply for full-time positions. A few months down the road, a loaded reserve pool could serve as evidence that the current ATR policy, without time limits or salary caps, is ineffective.

Despite their agreement on the hiring ban, the ATR is not an issue Klein and the unions generally see eye to eye on. This could all build an interesting case for upcoming contract negotiations.


The use of the phrase "many of whom are U-rated" has been debunked by Jennifer Jennings (eduwonkette.) I think the number of U ratings was a fairly small percentage of the total. This is defaming hundreds of teachers who were working at schools closed by the DOE or who are lower in seniority and were excessed due to cuts.

If you want to refer to the U rating issue try to use some facts.

I found the post by Eduwonkette:

Eduwonkette on the New Teacher Project Report
A point of clarification on this point from the New Teacher Project’s report that you cited, i.e. “By September 2007, unselected excessed teachers from 2006 were six times as likely to have received a prior “Unsatisfactory” rating as other New York City teachers.”

If you read the footnotes in their report, 81 percent of teachers in the ATR have never received an Unsatisfactory rating. Only 6 percent of all teachers in the ATR - about 14 teachers - have received an unsatisfactory rating more than once in their careers.

Beyond these facts, I have no idea to what extent this pool represents great or terrible teachers, and the important point to remember is that no one really knows. It’s not reasonable or fair to indict the entire group based on the very misleading “six times” TNTP sound bite. If someone else applied this kind of statistical discrimination to other groups - for example, by establishing the probability of an outcome like incarceration or welfare receipt by gender, class, or race and characterizing the entire group - we would all be up in arms.

posted at Gotham Schools

5 excellent teachers from my school are being excessed due to budgetary reasons. Of the 5 only one has a U rating on file and the U is not due to poor teaching. These people are young, bright, and enthusiastic about teaching. My school will suffer a great loss due to the excessing of these teachers. I have been encouraging these teachers to find solid positions in other schools, as opposed to being placed in the ATR Pool. I have a feeling that included in the new contract negotion talks, the mayor and chancellor will want a time limit placed on ATR status. Everyone is happy now because there are no layoffs but I do believe that in the near future, ATR's are going to be laid off or fired. If you look at it, principals budgets have been slashed forcing them to excess. Most schools can't hire because they have no money. Many teachers will end up in the ATR pool. This is not at all cost effective because all these people are still getting full salaries as well as benefits. At some point, this bubble is going to burst. I think its going to burst resulting in an ATR time limit. This is the reason why any excessed teacher needs to find a permanent placement even if its only for 10 months. You can always go to the Open Market System next year and get a different position, or maybe your old school may have openings, You never know. What I do know is that it is imperative for all ATR's to find placements because I think that the mayor's way of cost effectiveness(layoffs) will be through getting rid of all ATR's in the next contract.

"because I think that the mayor's way of cost effectiveness (layoffs) will be through getting rid of all ATR's in the next contract" was a recent quote and one very real and scary possibility. I am in this very situation and I've been excessed from a school that is closing. I feel that it is an unfortunate result of my decision to have remained in a struggling and challenging school. I was offered a job in district 11 (after being interviewed, doing a demo lesson etc) and promised by the AP that they had money in the budget to hire me. After two weeks, I received a call with "bad news" from the AP. All of a sudden, there are problems with the budget and no money to hire me. I'm wondering if they finally realized that with 11 years of teaching experience and two master's degrees, they could not afford me. Why would any principal pay for an experienced and costly excessed teacher (no matter how talented, and qualified), if he/she can hire a cheaper one? This entire excessing/ATR paradigm is inherently flawed for this reason and because an ATR is paid for by the DOE. So why would any principal, who is reaping the benefits of the ATR working in his/her school actually hire this ATR if it means having to pay out of the school's budget to do so. I cannot express how demeaning and insulting it has been being treated by the DOE monstrosity after having worked so hard for them and the children in NYC these past 11 years.

Why are people atill allowed to refer to the ATRs as unsatisfactory teachers up to this time? I believe with all this negative stereotyping principals many of whom are young are scared to even continue an interview if you say you are an ATR Believe me I have been in this position at interviews where principals whole demeanor changes when they find this out There are very good teachers in the ATR pool.

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