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[Susan notes: Good for this teacher for speaking out against the ongoing attempt to smear teachers.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published

To the editor

Your article, Schools Chief Bans Hiring of Teachers From Outside (May 7), cites a report by the New Teacher Project claiming that ATR [Absent Teacher Reserve pool] teachers âwere six times as likely to have received an unsatisfactory ratingâ as other teachers. The NTP, which has received multi-million dollar contracts from the Department of Education to train new teachers, is hardly independent or unbiased. Teachers are in ATR status not because of âUâ ratings but because their schools or programs were shut down or downsized. The NTPâs own figures show that of teachers âexcessedâ in 2006 and not placed by December 2007, 80 percent never received a single unsatisfactory rating in ten years.

The answer to more than 1,400 experienced, capable, licensed educators being denied a position is to place them, not fire them. There should be a total hiring freeze until all ATR teachers who want positions are placed, and restore seniority.

The writer is a New York City teacher and member of the United Federation of Teachers active in the Ad Hoc Committee to Support ATRs.

Marjorie Stamberg

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