The UFT reached agreement on June 1 with the Department of Education on a voluntary severance package for UFT members who are in the Absent Teacher Reserve for at least one school year. The agreement sparked several newspaper editorials attacking the ATRs.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew issued the following statement in response:
Our recent ATR agreement generated its share of teacher-bashing editorials. Whether the media will print any of our rebuttals is an open question, but what is not up for debate is the UFT’s conviction that members of the ATR pool provide needed services to schools and that their work should be respected.
Teachers whose schools have been closed or downsized will fill vacant classrooms in their chosen subjects this fall. Members in the ATR pool will also continue to play a valuable role in schools by filling in for teachers who are sick or on another form of sick leave.
The real problem facing New York City schools is the thousands of teachers in good standing who walk out the door every year for other systems or other professions because of large classes, lack of supplies and managers who do not support their efforts to help children learn.
Perhaps one of the editorial writers will accept my offer and join me on one of my school visits. Facts and time spent in the city's public schools would make for more accurate editorials.