Press Release

In response to the New York City Department of Education’s decision to permanently place teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) in schools with vacancies as of October 15, 2017, Ed Trust–NY and Educators for Excellence raised concerns that teachers from the ATR pool would be disproportionately placed in high-need schools serving low-income students and students of color. We called for full and immediate transparency and for policies that ensure that historically under-served students have access to the strongest educators.

We also filed a FOIL request on November 21, 2017, seeking information about where teachers from the ATR had been placed and key details including why they had been in the ATR pool and their level of effectiveness.

The NYC DOE released the count of teachers by school on December 7. Our analysis found that the 41 teachers from the ATR who had been permanently placed into classrooms were disproportionately assigned to schools that serve Black students, schools that serve low-income students, and schools with significant academic needs.

On January 23, 2018, NYC DOE provided limited additional information in response to our FOIL request. The newly released data shines a light on two questions:

Number of teachers by reason placed in the ATR

Reason Number of teachers
BUDGET REDUCTION 12
REGISTER LOSS 9
CLOSED SCHOOL 7
CENTRAL OR REGIONAL PROGRAM ENDING 4
NO REASON DOCUMENTED 3
SCHOOL PHASING OUT 2
CENTRAL POSITIONS WITH RIGHT OF RETURN 1
MANDATED POSITION NO LONGER REQUIRED 1
REASON NEEDED – ROLLOVER 1
TRANSFER TO ANOTHER LOCATION 1
Total 41

Certification area

Certification area Number of teachers
COMMON BRANCHES DES 8
MATHEMATICS DHS 6
EARLY CHILDHOOD CLASSES DES 5
PED SPECIAL POSITION 5
ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE SEC 4
SPANISH DHS 3
PHYSICAL EDUCATION DHS 2
SOCIAL STUDIES DHS 2
BIOLOGY AND GENERAL SCIENCE DHS 1
CHEMISTRY AND GENERAL SCIENCE DHS 1
FINE ARTS DAY 1
GENERAL SCIENCE JHS 1
READING DAY 1
SOCIAL STUDIES JHS 1
Total 41

UPDATE: On January 29, 2018, NYC DOE provided one additional piece of information in response to our FOIL request, addressing the teachers’ length of time in the ATR before being permanently placed into vacancies this fall:

Length of time in ATR

Length of time in ATR Number of teachers
0 to 1 year ago 20
1 to 2 years ago 8
2 to 3 years ago 2
3 to 4 years ago 2
4 to 5 years ago 3
5 to 6 years ago 3
6 to 7 years ago 3

In providing this data, NYC DOE noted that it “may include teachers who have been hired repeatedly as provisional (or even permanent) basis and were subsequently excessed” and that the data “is based upon the date the teachers were initially reported as being in excess.”

We are pleased that this data was released, but it addresses only a small portion of the information we continue to believe the public has a right to know:

  1. In order to analyze the data from an equity perspective, we asked that it be broken out by school, or by NYC district if NYC DOE “conclude[d] 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.” This request was not addressed in the response.
  2. We asked for the number of teachers by most recent effectiveness rating. This request was denied in order to protect “personally identifiable information,” which we did not request since we only sought aggregate data.
  3. We asked for the number of teachers by classroom assignment/subject. This request was denied because NYC DOE stated that “there are no existing records to disclose,” even though there is presumably a record of each teacher’s current assignment.

We will continue to seek these data elements and update this page as additional data is provided.