The Teachers' Scrounge

News and comments from the world of public education. A middle school math teacher shared what he learned today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Rubber Room" Teachers Earn Salary, Do Nothing

Imagine you're a teacher in New York City. Now imagine that you run afoul of your supervisor for some reason. Perhaps you tattled on some irregularities in the state testing or maybe you are always late for duty. And let's say that your supervisor is fed up enough that he/she tries to get you removed from the classroom. Then you better prepare yourself: get out your board games and water colors.

Here's what will happen -- your principal will request a disciplinary hearing. (The unions are fighting for you -- you can't be fired without due process.) So pending the hearing, you are reassigned. To what are nicknamed "Rubber Rooms." You will remain here for months or even years awaiting your hearing. Why so long? Because the arbitrators only work FIVE DAYS EACH MONTH.

The union contract says that you cannot be given new assigned duties while you await your hearing, but the district wants you out of the classroom. So you are assigned to a "temporary reassignment center" where you do... NOTHING. According to the FoxNews story, rubber room teachers pass the time by reading, writing, painting, doing yoga, sneaking over to the bar across the street, or playing board games.

There are about 700 teachers assigned to these rubber rooms, and each draws a salary of about $700K. Now, before you think that this may be a cushy assignment, keep in mind that most of the teachers assigned to rubber rooms really do not belong in the classroom. So some of these folks are tough to get along with. There are reports of many near fights ("Hey, that's my chair!").

You know what else I learned from this article? There is a National Association for Prevention of Teacher Abuse.



Anonymous Elizabeth Avis said...

A timely method of administrative review much like this blog: Initiate an open transparent systematic public-private complaint filing which issues an in class observation the week following the alleged infraction.
Rebuttal and fact finding are web based and terminate within a week of the alleged infraction. A roundtable of the superintendent, school psychologist, and principal evaluate the arguments and the observation notes. Immediately, a planned intervention is issued for both the teacher and the student.

January 27, 2010 at 3:27 PM  

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