Sunday, April 18, 2010

Teachers Set Deal With City on Misconduct System

It's great news that the rubber rooms are being closed and the process for dealing with these few hundred teachers is being streamlined (at least a bit), but let's be clear that the underlying problem of absurd protections for even the most incompetent and/or dangerous teachers (who number of the thousands in NYC alone) isn't even close to being solved.  And as an advocate, I'm going to miss the rubber room because few things made it so blindingly clear how the system and the unions are focused entirely on protecting mediocrity (or far, far worse) and, in general, doing what's best for adults, not kids (most notably, see Steven Brill's famous New Yorker article from last August:  Here's an excerpt from the front page story in today's NYT:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the city's teachers union have agreed to do away with "rubber rooms" and speed up hearings for teachers accused of wrongdoing or incompetence, ending a disciplinary system that has made both City Hall and the teachers' union subjects of ridicule.

Under the agreement, teachers the city is trying to fire will no longer be sent to the rubber rooms, known as reassignment centers, where the teachers show up every school day, sometimes for years, doing no work and drawing full salaries. Instead, these teachers will be assigned to administrative work or duties outside classrooms in their schools while their cases are pending.

The centers have been a source of embarrassment for both the Bloomberg administration and the United Federation of Teachers, as articles in newspapers and magazines detailed teachers running businesses out of the rubber rooms or dozing off for hours on end.

"Given the amount of press that this subject as gotten, to say that this is a big deal is probably an understatement," Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference announcing the agreement.  "This was an absurd an expensive abuse of tenure.  We've been able to solve what was one of the most divisive issues in our school system."


Teachers Set Deal With City on Misconduct System

Published: April 15, 2010

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