This blog began 6 years ago as a personal account of 3 long and painstaking years of incarceration in one of the NYCDOE's worst Rubber Rooms. This blog gave me a place to vent my frustration and retain my sanity. In return the support that I received from the EDU bloggers was priceless. I can safely say that one cannot imagine the emotional stress and everlasting damage that the DOE's reassignment process is capable of inflicting on a DOE employee and their family unless they have lived through it themselves. Three years after the DOE 'claimed' to have closed its Rubber Rooms, I and hundreds of union members are still suffering at the hands of the DOE and the Mayor's career ending and abusive policies. I say 'union members' because that's what we are.
Subsequently, many of my fellow RR inmates paid fines to keep their jobs or were terminated as a result of unfair 3020A hearings. I say 'unfair' because without a 3 person panel as specified in the contract, there was only one arbitrator hearing and deciding the outcome of a case. First hand experience tells me that many of these arbitrators weren't very well versed in the field of "Education Law" which remains to be in a 'class by itself'. Most teachers who survived the hearings managed to retain their jobs but were not returned to the traditional classroom setting that they once knew. Instead, they were branded with a new scarlet letter known as ATR status(Absent Teacher Reserve). As the former Rubber Roomers joined the ranks of hundreds of excessed teachers from failed schools(schools that were set up to fail by the DOE), the ATR pool quickly grew and now stands at roughly two thousand members. (The DOE / UFT will not reveal the actual numbers.) Pick up the daily paper on any given day and you will read Bloomberg and a number of other politicians describe ATRs as 'no good', 'useless' and 'lazy' teachers who are not fit to be in the classroom. You will also notice the deafening silence and inaction of the UFT on behalf of the ATR. Hmmm. 2,000 plus tenured teachers/union members without actual classrooms and not a word from the UFT... while the DOE disperses them throughout the schools within their districts to work as glorified subs.
As an ATR, I feel compelled to resume my voice in the blogger community after struggling through a long and agonizing silence.