Fiddling while our kids don't learn  AUG 26 2009

A truly maddening article about the NYC school system and its interactions with government and the teacher's union.

These fifteen teachers, along with about six hundred others, in six larger Rubber Rooms in the city's five boroughs, have been accused of misconduct, such as hitting or molesting a student, or, in some cases, of incompetence, in a system that rarely calls anyone incompetent.

The teachers have been in the Rubber Room for an average of about three years, doing the same thing every day -- which is pretty much nothing at all. Watched over by two private security guards and two city Department of Education supervisors, they punch a time clock for the same hours that they would have kept at school -- typically, eight-fifteen to three-fifteen. Like all teachers, they have the summer off. The city's contract with their union, the United Federation of Teachers, requires that charges against them be heard by an arbitrator, and until the charges are resolved -- the process is often endless -- they will continue to draw their salaries and accrue pensions and other benefits.

Nobody comes out of this looking good.

Update: This American Life did a segment on Rubber Rooms earlier this year in cooperation with a group of filmmakers making a movie about them. (thx, @hautenegro & heather)

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