Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ATRs and Seniority: An Historical Perspective

I was asked to give a presentation at yesterday's GEM (Grassroots Education Movement) meeting yesterday on ATRs and Seniority: Historical Perspective

Too bad I didn't see Jamaica HS teacher Marc Epsteins must read piece at Huffington:
Cathie Black's Tenure Trap

I just could have read it out loud.

I used the very excellent ATR Q&A put together by Julie W. that she posted on the ICE blog as a reference. No one knows more about this issue than Julie.

Here are some of my notes - which I will expand into prose later if I have time.

ATRs and class size- a direct relationship - why not just give them regular jobs - but we know ATRs have a political purpose - a wedge against teacher seniority and LIFO.

Seniority pre BloomKlein

Excessing and layoffs by license - could bump others but generally with scarcity of teachers not an issue.

Early 70's signs of tightening up - surplus social St teachers in HS
1975 crunch - only mass layoff in history - 13-15,000 - order of seniority and massive excessing and bumping of teachers - my school a little more senior than neighbors - 13 people.
Next 10 years - not many hired other than special ed which went from 0 to 60.

Seniority transfers allowed- 5-700 a year took advantage
Public - big advantage for teacher but reality - 5 choices - given one, principals covered up, if refused couldn't reapply for 2 yrs. Most took to be closer to home - also to move from very difficult schools to middle class schools where despite princ opposition - exp in tougher schools often gave them advantage in discipline
Needed princ to sign off if want to leave - most did - if not like - good ridance. If like

Klein- 2002, Aug
Dual attack on Sen Trans from almost first days:
Loss of senior teachers from poor schools drained them of exp, good tchrs
Senior trnsf forced principals to accept bad senior tchrs.

Klein made these contradictory points all over - city council
Randi followed - no defense - UFT not only didn't call them on this but agreed there needed to be changes.

It was clear there needed to be some reforms and here is a major one:
SBO - School Based Options: 400 schools out of 1200: Teachers/union and princ outside contract - interv transfers and didn't have to take them.This gave teachers in schools where the principal didn't totally control things to have a say in which teacher transferees were coming into the school.

UFT Agreed to cut number of seniority trans - 2003 contract (I believe)


2005 Contract: End seniority, create ATR
Open market - princ couldn't stop you from leaving but also didn't have to accept you - if excessed or school closed - had to get job on own. No more placement

Had to get own school

2005 Accel school closings because it allowed Klein to not worry about having to place the teachers in a way that can cause bumping.

Life as an ATR
Not equal rights for after school jobs, and other rights.
sub out of lo

Fair School Funding
Charged school for cost of teachers - incentive to get rid of higher priced teachers
Debate often framed as newbie vs senior but more insideous:
COST EFFECTIVENESS - 10 yr/22 yr diff in salary vs. experience benefit.

Have to pay ATRs - Investment by Bloomberg - view to ultim not have to pay -
Part of Cathie Black Mission. Use budget crisis and public pressure.

Nov. 2008: ATR Rally at Tweed
UFT side agreement day before, wine and cheese party
Tale of 2 rallies
Central will pick up salary if ATR hired -
ATR vilified and tainted.
Agree expired Dec. 1 2010.

Current attack:
No LIFO for layoffs, no tenure
Open season on ATR agreement.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest:


  1. Norm:

    A great historical perspective of the ATR origins. However, the key is what is going to happen from here on in? My December 4th, 2010 post on the ATR issue tried to answer that question.

  2. Thanks Chaz. I'll update and flesh this out when I get some time - crazy for a retiree to not have time.

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