Educators for Excellence-New York and The Education Trust–New York today filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the New York City Department of Education seeking the public release of data on placement of teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve . (For New York School Talk coverage of ATR, go here.) The full FOIL request is at the bottom of this post.
“Achieving educational equity demands that we address disparities in teaching quality because every child deserves a strong educator,” said Ian Rosenblum, Executive Director of Ed Trust. “We share the deep concerns of parents, educators and advocates that New York City’s decision to fill staffing vacancies using the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) will do the opposite: assign struggling and less effective teachers to disproportionately serve students of color and low-income students. More than a month has passed since the city’s announced policy took effect, and parents and the public deserve full and immediate transparency on how the administration’s decisions are impacting students.”
Evan Stone, Co-CEO of Educators for Excellence, added,
A key factor in achieving equity and excellence is ensuring that every student has access to high-quality schools, principals, and teachers. New York City’s decision to fill staffing vacancies using the city’s Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) moves our nation’s largest school system further from this goal. Currently, the highest performing, most qualified teachers in New York City are disproportionately teaching in the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods and schools, while schools serving low-income and students of color are disproportionately assigned the least qualified, lowest performing teachers. This problem will only be exacerbated by filling vacancies in high-need schools using the ATR. Our school communities deserve to know when and where these teachers are being assigned in order to ensure that our students have the high-quality teachers they need to be successful.
Here’s the FOIL request:
Dear Records Access Officer:
As part of our organizations’ commitment to educational equity, we seek to ensure that every child has equal access to high-quality schools, principals, and teachers. To that end, we submit the following FOIL request regarding your announced policy of placing teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) in schools with vacancies as of October 15, 2017.
For each school where teachers from the ATR have been placed on or after October 15, 2017, please provide the name of the school and for each school:
- The total number of teachers placed from the ATR;
- Of the total in #1, the number of teachers by reason placed in the ATR (e.g.,school closure, budget cuts, legal/disciplinary);
- Of the total in #1, the number of teachers by most recent effectiveness rating;
- Of the total in #1, the number of teachers by range of length of time in the ATR (e.g., were in the ATR 5 years ago, were in the ATR 2-5 years ago, were in theATR less than 2 years);
- Of the total in #1, the number of teachers by classroom assignment/subject; and
- Of the total in #1, the number of teachers by certification area.
If you conclude that any individual data element cannot be provided at the school level due to the need to protect personally identifiable information as the result of a legal requirement, we request an explanation of the legal requirement and that such data element be provided at the NYC district level. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. We look forward to your response within 5 business days and ask that the requested information be provided electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ian Rosenblum, The Education Trust
Evan Stone, New York Educators for Excellence