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N.Y.C. System Considers Placing 1,200 Unassigned Teachers in Classrooms

A decade after then-Chancellor Joel Klein pushed to end to forced placement of teachers, the new leader of the 1 million-student school system may be reversing that policy, according to the New York Daily News.

More than 1,200 teachers are in what's called the "Absent Teacher Reserve" pool. Such teachers receive full salaries and benefits but don't have permanent positions, instead rotating as substitutes. The pool is the product of the city's 2005 teachers' contract.

The city's new chancellor, Carmen Farina, is apparently considering the idea of placing most of those teachers into permanent classroom positions, the paper reports. The idea also has surfaced among Mayor Bill de Blasio's transition team.

According to the Daily News, about half of teachers in the pool have earned "unsatisfactory" ratings; others have committed infractions or have lost their jobs during reorganizations—such as when a regular school was converted into a charter school—and haven't been able to find new jobs in the school system.

In the past, the United Federation of Teachers has claimed that principals retaliated against many of those teachers and unfairly gave them low ratings, and that principals don't want to hire veterans in the pool whose salaries are higher.

The pool's cost is estimated to be up to $100 million annually. That was enough to cause even Klein, at one point, to restrict new hires from within that pool and the list of teachers who planned to transfer.

Don't confuse ATR teachers with those formerly in the city's reassignment centers, or "rubber rooms." Those were limited to teachers banned from classrooms as their malfeasance cases were handled.

The city's education department wouldn't confirm the discussions with the newspaper.

Follow along on Twitter at @Stephen_Sawchuk and @TeacherBeat.

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