Monday, October 24, 2011

One Week

ATR teachers are now being rotated faster than the speed of light. Five days here, and ZAP! They're off to another school. This was a by-product of the agreement the UFT made with the DOE that precluded teacher layoffs (until next year).

UFT sources at the time told me they did not think the DOE had the wherewithal to carry out this plan. After all, they're inept. They hired Cathy Black. They can't give a coherent rationale that anything they do will actually improve education, if you actually look at, well, statistics, studies, reality, or any of that other stuff that Bill Gates and Arne Duncan can't be bothered with.

But now that the DOE is actually doing this, I'm hearing now that this will give principals wider exposure to ATR teachers. In a way, that's true. Last year, your school got only a handful of ATR teachers, but this year you can factor that by up to 40. So there's a wide assortment. You have to wonder, though, how many principals actually have the time to run around observing those teachers passing through their halls. After all, principals already have others to observe, sometimes in the hundreds, and it's possible that an extra 50% worth of observations may not be precisely what they're looking for.

On the other hand, last year the principals didn't have to pay ATR teachers out of their school budgets. This year, if they want to keep them around more than a week or two, it appears they do. With their budgets slashed for the last few years, principals may not be jumping on that ATR bandwagon so quickly. Thus, in the city that places "Children First, Always," the Spanish class might well be taught by the science teacher who doesn't speak a word of it today, and the English teacher who doesn't speak a word of it tomorrow. Maybe they'll have a real Spanish teacher next week, but the week after that? Are you kidding?

And then there are the ATR teachers themselves, wandering week to week, school to school, program to program. They're largely precluded from having regular classes, from developing meaningful teacher/ student relationships, pretty much from doing everything or anything that brings joy or professional fulfillment. And on top of that, they're now precluded from long-term friendships with peers, going into some strange lunchroom every day and leaving by the time they get to know anyone.

You'd think the DOE was trying to discourage them, demoralize them, and make them quit.

Gee, would Mayor Bloomberg really do such a thing?
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