Last year, the New Yorker ran a story on NYC’s Rubber Rooms, the common name for the rooms which house NYC schoolteachers accused of classroom misconduct.
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.
Yesterday, the Rubber Rooms were finally closed down. It seems like a purely cosmetic move; the real problems outlined in the NYer article remain unaddressed. Shouldn’t the Times article at least mention that?