Parents Demand Answers from Mayor on ATR Cover-Up

District Parents Launch Campaign to Find Out Where Ineffective Teachers Are Being Placed

New York, NY — More than one hundred district school parents stood outside the Department of Education’s headquarters today to demand equity for their children – and full transparency from Mayor de Blasio. For five months, the de Blasio Administration has been stonewalling parent efforts to find out where ineffective teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) are being placed. The parents called on the Mayor to end this ATR Cover-Up and provide real answers to their requests for information.

The parents leading the effort represent communities with the highest rates of teacher vacancies – the same communities that are disproportionately impacted when hard-to-place teachers are pushed back into hard-to-fill teaching positions.

The Parents' #DeserveDetails Campaign includes:

“The Mayor promised transparency, but he won’t give parents basic information about the teachers in our children’s classrooms,” said Brooklyn parent Camille Artemus. “If the Mayor really cared about equity in education, he’d release details about where ineffective teachers from the ATR pool are being placed.”
“My son is stuck in a school where from year-to-year, I can’t count on him having a top teacher in his classroom,” said Queens parent Crystal Lee-McJunkin. “Given where we live, I worry that the DOE will dump an unqualified teacher from the ATR in my child’s classroom.”

In November 2015, StudentsFirstNY filed a Freedom of Information request on behalf of parents and it has now been five months and no information has been released.

The DOE has claimed it has placed 500 ATR teachers into regular positions this year, but the City failed to divulge where those teachers were assigned and how they determined why those teachers should return to the classroom. Presently, more than 1,000 teachers remain in the ATR, costing taxpayers at least $100 million.

StudentsFirstNY has requested the following information about the ATR:

  • The number of ATR teachers assigned to schools in years 2013 - present.
  • The teacher evaluation ratings for ATR teachers.
  • The number and percentage of teachers who have been in the ATR pool for less than a year, 1-2 years, 2-3 years and more than 3 years.
  • The number of teachers in the ATR who were accused of misconduct and the nature of the offense.

“Parents have been waiting for five months to find out whether ATR teachers are in their children’s classrooms, but the DOE continues to hide the truth,” said StudentsFirstNY Senior Director of Organizing Tenicka Boyd. “If this mayor cares about leveling the playing field, he has to prove that he’s placing the most effective teachers in low income neighborhoods and frankly, that’s not what these parents are experiencing. Parents deserve better than this and we won’t back down until the ATR cover-up ends.”

To read and sign the full #DeserveDetails petition calling on the de Blasio administration to end the ATR cover up, click here

To read the complete letter sent by Brooklyn parent Camille Artemus to Mayor Bill de Blasio, click here.

To read the StudentsFirstNY Freedom of Information request on behalf of parents, click here. 

Michael Nitzky
StudentsFirstNY is a grassroots education advocacy organization dedicated to improving public schools throughout New York State.


Join StudentsFirstNY

Connect With Us

New Report