May 5, 2008

New York teachers unions and Reassignment
July 9th, 2007
Has your favorite presidential candidate even remotely touched on this issue–public school waste?

( A philanthropist who just gave $22.5 million to help the city’s low-income children who attend Catholic schools suggested that if it weren’t for the teachers union, he would have considered supporting public education.

Upon hearing of the donation, United Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten described the gift as “tainted.”

What actually taints New York City’s schools, however, is the union’s leadership and the collective bargaining agreement it has negotiated with the city. Thanks to that contract, New York City wastes millions of dollars each year on union perks that could instead be spent on improving public education.

In fact, the $22.5 million donation pales in comparison to what the UFT draws from the city’s taxpayers.

Consider Gotham’s infamous rubber rooms, which the city euphemistically calls “Reassignment Centers.” There are 13 of these rooms across the district, housing nearly 700 public-school teachers each day. As of March 2007, there were 662 schoolteachers assigned to city Reassignment Centers. These teachers have been removed from the classroom amid accusations of wrongdoing. Since they cannot be fired until their case has been fully investigated, they sit in these rooms until their case has been resolved. Yet, in the meantime, they continue to receive their salaries.

Some of these teachers stand charged with rape or acts of violence, others with simple incompetence, and others with inappropriate conduct. Some teachers are innocent, of course. (more)

I have heard of these Reassignment Centers (Rubber rooms) before. Let’s do a quick Google search on this.

( The UFT and the DOE each claim no knowledge of the origin of rubber rooms. One longtime employee says they have existed since at least the late 1960s, but in a different form.

Teachers at that time who were accused of wrongdoing were reassigned to their district office where they were put to work filing, typing up reports, and organizing data.

Today, teachers simply rot.

When Argyris reported to 333 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan , one of 13 rubber rooms the district euphemistically refers to as Reassignment Centers, she soon realized that her “job” now consisted of joining about 70 other reassigned teachers in daylong sessions of staring at a wall.

“I felt like a vegetable in a chair,” she says.

Rubber room hours match that of a typical school day—Argyris would sign in at 8:30 a.m. and be released at 3:20 in the afternoon, with a 50-minute lunch break. Like something out of a dystopian fairy tale, however, this school had no children, just a few cafeteria workers, social workers, and custodians who shared the same lot.

In 2000, there were 385 teachers assigned to rubber rooms. Last month, that number had climbed to 662. Argyris, while she sat and stared at a wall, was paid $62,646 a year. The DOE pays about $33 million a year just in salaries to the teachers in rubber rooms—an amount that doesn’t include the salaries of investigators working on the cases of rubber room teachers, the upkeep of the reassignment centers, or the substitute teachers who replace employees like Argyris.

Because teachers in rubber rooms are awaiting their cases to be heard, they aren’t technically being punished. But they are restricted from numerous activities—they can’t use MP3 players, telephones, or laptop computers. (Most flout those rules, however, and use various devices openly.)

Teachers say they soon learn that their peers are territorial and often cranky. One young teacher serving his fifth month tells the Voice the first thing he was told by a supervisor was not to sit in seats claimed by others. Fights have broken out over less, he was told.

“It’s high school on steroids,” he says. “Or maybe a mixture between a minimum security prison and a senior home.”

To keep occupied, teachers read, play games like Scrabble or chess, or work on their screenplays. Art teachers work on paintings. Masters degrees get completed. Last year at the Seventh Avenue rubber room, a group of teachers taught each other to knit. Exercise is a popular activity (more…)

With all the millions spent on this kind of crap, no wonder these schools are in a constant need for more of YOUR money.


Rubber Room Movie


Chaz said...

Just discovered your blog and added it to mine. Good luck.

Clix said...

Re: Nurse Ratched -

Very much like The Trunchbull, only less over-the-top.