NYC Teachers Are Paid to Sit in Rubber Rooms
As an employer, would you ever consider paying an employee their full salary for up to ten years when they were not working?
What if they were not working because they had been put on suspension for “excessive lateness or absence, sexual misconduct with a [minor], physical abuse, incompetence or use of drugs or alcohol?”
You would never do that right? Well, you obviously are not the New York City teachers’ union.
The New York Public School System has been paying teachers their full salary to sit in “rubber rooms,” Monday through Friday, during school hours. These teachers are under observation and told to “do whatever they like, so long as it has nothing to do with teaching.” This is costing the city of New York at least $30 million dollars a year.
What is going on here?
All of these teachers are stuck in a limbo state, waiting for their court cases to be filed and adjudicated. This process can take two or three years, and sometimes much longer. And while they are waiting, teachers’ unions are insuring that they are paid their full salaries to sit in a room and not teach.
“Fixing this broken process gets us all back to what we want to be doing, giving our kids the education they need and deserve,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Michael Mulgrew agrees with Bloomberg: “The rubber rooms are a symptom of a disciplinary process that has not worked for anyone – not the kids, not the schools, and not the teachers.”
Luckily, this system will be replaced in September. Teachers who are facing minor charges will be reassigned to non-teaching jobs inside the school system. Those who are facing criminal charges will be sent home without pay, but those charged with sexual or financial misconduct will be allowed to stay at home with full pay.
To avoid this happening again, all new cases must be brought to court within 60 days, and hearings within 15 days. If these conditions are not met, the teacher will be allowed to resume his or her position in the classroom.
Now that sounds more like what I would do, if I were the employer.
Via The Guardian