I like the idea of a buyout, but not if it is forced.
I resent that we, the "ATR's" are being labelled as underperforming teachers. I am sure there are a few who do not pull their weight, but that is certainly not the case with the majority of teachers that I have come across.
As reported in the NYT story, if the average salary of the teachers in the ATR pool is $84,000, then the majority of these 830 teachers have been in the system for at least 10 if not 15 years or more. In a system with at least 75,000 teachers, why are 830 being scapegoated in this way? How much is it really bringing the system down to continue to pay less than 2% of it's workforce until retirement?
Being an ATR is not an easy job. Since September, I have been assigned to 30 different schools. Every Thursday at 2:00 PM I get an email telling me which school I will be subbing in the next week and the school gets an email letting them know someone will be coming. Some schools have given me a very full schedule, other schools, less so. I rarely know from one day to the next what classes I will be teaching and my schedule is often changed during the course of the day. Rarely do I get a key to the bathroom or a place to leave my coat. I have had to be enormously flexible and ready to adapt to a new school culture, new age group, new subject matter in the blink of an eye. I have become an excellent classroom manager.
The majority of us ATR's have not found placements because of the budgeting changes of the past several years which gives schools a disincentive to hire a teacher with any significant experience. In addition, as people in our 40's, 50's and 60's, we understand the value of the Union in securing our jobs and benefits in ways that childless recent graduates in their 20's do not. This makes us more willing to speak out against injustices and less able to be pushed around by administrators who are in line with the new "business model" of education.