ATR's: What's Next?

    ..... there’s a clause in the contract especially for you.

    If you are an ATR, fill out our info form here:

    NOTE: The author of this post has posted an important revision - see comment 9

    11. Voluntary Severance For Personnel Excessed More Than One Year

    The DOE may offer excessed personnel who have not secured a regular assignment after at least one year of being excessed, a voluntary severance program in an amount to be negotiated by the parties. If the parties are unable to reach agreement on the amount of the severance payment, the dispute will be submitted to arbitration pursuant to the contractual grievance and arbitration procedure. Such a severance program, if offered, will be offered to all personnel who have been in excess for more than one year. In exchange for receipt of such severance, an excessed person shall submit an irrevocable resignation or notice of retirement.

    To a lot of us, a "voluntary severance program” means Boss offers Worker cash for his resignation, which he accepts or declines. But that's not what this is saying, and it's so lawyer clever. If Worker doesn’t agree to leave, he’s still given the boot, regardless of that “for show” arbitration stage they’ve shoved in between “You’re outa here” and “Bye-bye.”

    This is the end of the line for anyone who's landed up as an ATR for a year - be the person good, boring, talented, workaholic, brilliant, sluggish, helpful, above average or below, maligned, ordinary, wrinkled, bi-focaled, bleached blond or tattooed.

    It’s not been determined yet whether this severance program will be offered, but Randi Weingarten has to tell us right now:

    Why she thought this was good for us (especially when so many of us landed in ATR positions through no particular fault of our own),
    What we got in return that's equal to our careers,
    Whether it's going to happen at all, and
    What kind of money it involves.

    Because some of us have to plan the rest of our lives.

    That's not to say we didn't already try to do this already.

    By choosing the NYC public school system to work in, we knew the classes would be huge and the pay less than the suburbs, but at least we’d get to really teach and really make a difference in kids’ lives, be free from administrative abuse as long as we did our job, and what was that other thing? Oh, yes, and have tenure.

    The above was sent to Ed Notes Online by a newly minted ATR - Absentee Teacher Reserve for the uninitiated, a category of teacher established by recent contracts signed by the UFT which effectively ended seniority rules, allowing principals to hire newer (and cheaper) teachers while senior teachers are forced to be day-to-day subs. The UFT sold the idea that "isn't it wonderful to be an ATR - no paperwork and they can only send you to a few other schools but aren't you lucky, you can stay in the district" while downplaying what increasingly looks like a non-voluntary severance program. And even if the DOE doesn't use that clause, they can "counsel" people out of the system by assigning them the worst classes and giving them U-ratings for incompetence.

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ATR's: What's Next?

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