PDQ: Pretty Darn Quick Blog (retired)

New York: They may be bad, but they're still ours


New York City schools Chancellor Joel Klein once described teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve (excessed teachers unable to secure another placement) as so undesirable that no principal would want to hire them. But with budget cuts looming and an exorbitant price tag to keep teachers in the ATR (when vacancies remain open) the district has reconsidered. The deal with the United Federation of Teachers consists of a series of financial incentives designed to encourage principals to take a second look at the 829 teachers currently in educator limbo.

Principals get two options:

Option 1. Principals who hire teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) will receive two subsidies. The district will pay the schools the difference between the ATR teacher's current salary and the salary of a starting teacher--and will continue to do so for the subsequent eight years. In addition, the district will give schools that hire an ATR teacher an additional lump sum bonus of nearly $25,000--half of a current new hire's salary.

Option 2. Principals willing to hire teachers from the ATR but who choose not to accept them permanently on their staffs can instead hire these teachers on a provisional basis. The school will need to pay for the teacher's full salary for that year, but should the principal and teacher later agree to a permanent placement, schools will receive the two subsidies outlined in Option 1.

As previously reported by The New Teacher Project, teachers in the ATR are six times more likely to have unsatisfactory ratings on their performance evaluations, so it's hard to predict whether the new incentives or assurances from Klein will facilitate placements for these teachers. And if they do work, unfortunately, it's the kids that stand the most to lose.

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