Saturday, August 29, 2009
According to an article in the New York Times, some principals are circumventing the hiring freeze in order to avoid hiring ATRs. The article is mostly fair, and one of the few I have read in the media that places much of the blame at Klein's doorstep for maligning teachers in the Absentee Teacher Reserve pool.
It appears that principals, who refused to be named, "...were circumventing the restrictions by offering new teachers jobs as long-term substitutes or hiring them as specialized teachers but placing them in regular classrooms. Some said they planned to eliminate open positions from their budgets rather than take on teachers they considered undesirable..."
These principals are thumbing their noses at both Klein's freeze and the teachers' union. One wonders whether there is any penalty should they be caught in violation. I suspect not, but there should be. I wonder why they didn't get a quote from Anthony Lombardi, principal of PS 49 in Queens. His comments in the New Yorker on the rubber rooms alone should enshrine him forever in the anti-teacher hall of shame when he said, "...by making it so hard to get even the obvious freaks and crazies that are there off the payroll, you insure that the teachers who are simply incompetent or mediocre are never incented to improve and are never removable.”
Again, it boils down to whether Klein has an actual backbone. He should immediately direct all principals to fill all open positions with ATRs, and Mulgrew should direct all chapter leaders to evaluate whether principals have filled those positions or endeavored to hide them. If evidence is found of mass evasion of the rules, Mulgrew should shout it to the rooftops.
The Times says that the city is currently paying more than 200 million dollars to ATRs in a time of fiscal crisis. It's time for Mulgrew to turns the screws on the DOE and expose this massive waste of money and talent. Put the ATRs back in the classroom.