Friday, August 18, 2017

Reformy Chalkbeat Has Another ATR Report with No ATRs

Kind of amazing that an education publication can write for years about a group and never bother to talk to a member, or learn anything when finally pressured into it. But that's no issue for Chalkbeat NY. Naturally the first person they interview is from Students First NY, because they have her on speed dial. (Norm Scott notes this same person supports no certification for teachers.) And who better to assess a situation like the ATR than someone who's paid to shill for charter schools? How many ATRs does Students First NY know? My best guess is zero.

In fact, I've heard from an ATR who spoke with Chalkbeat for an hour. This happened after several blogs, this one included, pointed out how ridiculous it was that they wrote about ATRs without interviewing any. So Chalkbeat's move, evidently, was to interview one single solitary ATR and report virtually nothing about it. (Update--A commenter informs me they interviewed two, thought evidence in the article is scant.) After all, you could always get someone reformy to say the same old crap they always do, and that's what passes for journalism over at Chalkbeat NY.

One of the cool things about just asking reformies what they think is it makes your Gates/ Walmart funders happy. ATRs are bad for kids. They're no good. It's bad policy. It's so bad it's shocking. Why? Who knows? Chalkbeat doesn't ask and doesn't appear to care. That would entail digging more deeply than the Students First NY position, getting real quotes from real teachers, and who wants to do that? Why that would be, you know, like work or something.

Teachers in the ATR have argued that their higher salaries are one reason principals avoid hiring them — a concern that principals voiced in a recent Chalkbeat report

It's interesting that Chalkbeat makes this reference plural, while offering no evidence they've spoken with even one ATR, let alone two or more. You'd think they'd have a quote. After all, they have a quote from the single person from Students First NY whose remark is of more importance than any UFT member. Where's the quote from a UFT member? And while we're on the topic, this contradicts UFT leadership, which seems to feel otherwise. (Why on earth are they advertising on Chalkbeat?) It's time to get rid of so-called fair student funding, so principals don't have to worry about salaries of those they hire.

“This is part of the injustice of the ATR placement,” said Scott Conti, principal of New Design High School in Manhattan. “Schools might not want them and they will cost schools more in the future, taking away from other budget priorities.” 

I wonder if anyone wants that principal. I've been up close and personal this year with schools and people who didn't want principals. Oddly, their salaries never came into play. Rather, it was their demonstrated cruelty, self-centeredness, and incompetence, none of which has been established for a single one of the ATR teachers generally ignored by this piece.

Once again, Chalkbeat puts out the argument that it's inconvenient to pay teachers. It's pretty interesting to hear that a principal is troubled by having to do that. What is more important for children than teachers? A big screen TV in the principal's office? A gala luncheon at the Marriott? Getting a teacher with the lowest possible salary regardless of quality? Who knows what they hell principals like that find important?  For me, teaching kids is important. That's why I'm a teacher.

If I were a journalist, it would be important for me to talk to teachers. In fact, I talk to teachers just about every day. I also talk to students every single school day. I'd be a terrible journalist by Chalkbeat standards. I don't know anyone from Students First NY, E4E, or "Families for Excellent Schools." I'd probably go around talking to real participants instead of paid shills.

What could I possibly know about education?
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