Absent Teacher Reserve
Absent Teacher Reserve refers to teachers that have lost their daily teaching positions, but are reassigned to substitute for absent teachers or to perform clerical work. Most of the job losses have been due to the ongoing NYC DOE school closings / reorganizations. When a school is closed and immediately reopened (smaller schools within a school) experienced teachers must reapply for their jobs. With new school leaders (@ $120M + ) held responsible for budgets experienced i.e. expensive teachers are not considered.
The term is used in the New York City Department of Education. Frequently, the teachers had lost their positions because the Department of Education had closed their school. NYC as of late has had a strategy of closing large middle and high schools in favor of smaller schools and offering up space to charter schools. The program developed from the 2005 contract between New York City and the United Federation of Teachers. A very small minority of ATRs are exonerated teachers formerly assigned to reassignment centers.
The non-profit organization, New Teacher Project, issued a report on September 22, 2008. The report revealed that the city would spend $74 million in the 2008-2009 school year on the unassigned teachers. Most of the ATR teachers are assigned to classroom duties on a daily basis. If the pool did not exist the city would be hiring poorly trained substitute teachers at incremental expense. For this reason the $74 M expense claimed by the City of New York is highly suspect. The pool of ATR teachers tend to be older, more highly paid than average and more active / aware of their contractual rights.
Older teachers criticize the program. They say that it is difficult to apply for a transfer to another school because they receive higher salaries. The city does little to assist or place ATR's in permanent positions. For the most part they are on their own to locate a new position. There is a NYC BOE web site, which often has outdated and previously committed teaching positions listed. Hundreds of teachers remain unplaced, according to the civil service newspaper, "The Chief."
On November 19, 2008, the Department of Education and the city's teacher union, the United Federation of Teachers, reached a one-year agreement on incentives for principals to hire ATR teachers and guidance counselors on a permanent basis. The program would be reviewed one year later.
- "Is Anyone Listening? An Open Letter From An Excessed E.L.A. Teacher Who Is Now An ATR" Leo Casey "EdWise" http://www.edwize.org/is-anyone-listening-an-open-letter-from-an-excessed-ela-teacher
- http://gothamschools.org/2008/09/26/uft-launches-let-us-teach-campaign-to-support-excessed-teachers/ UFT launches “Let Us Teach” campaign to support excessed teachers
- http://www.nysun.com/new-york/report-absent-teacher-reserve-draining-city/86316/ Report: Absent Teacher Reserve Draining City of $74M in 2008
- Entry citing Meredtih Kolodner, "The Chief" "Hundreds Still Not Placed: Transfers Lead To Teacher Turmoil" http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/2007/09/teh-chief-transfers-lead-to-teacher.html
- "UFT and DOE reach agreement on ATRs" United Federation of Teachers http://www.uft.org/news/issues/press/atr_agreement/