In the time it is taking Mayor Bloomberg to handle the rubber room situation, we could have sent the teachers in the rubber rooms to Mars and back.
The Reassignment Centers, otherwise known as the rubber rooms, house teachers that administrators and the union agree need to be out of the classroom for one reason or another. Because NY has a tenure law which treats tenure as a property right, there is no way to fire these teachers without a lengthy and costly 3020a hearing.
In 2010, when the existence of these rooms came to light, Mayor Bloomberg promised to end the practice. The union agreed. Bloomberg called rubber rooms an “expensive abuse of tenure.” [HuffPo]
In October of last year, one teacher videotaped himself sitting in a rubber room all day doing nothing for full pay. You can watch it here.
The union and DOE are locked in battle about what to do with these teachers.
The only thing that has changed is the teachers don’t sit in large rooms any longer and it costs taxpayers more than it used to cost them. The teachers are now housed in mini rubber rooms.
The hearings to fire the teachers are not taking place because the arbiters haven’t been paid in years. They are owed millions. A couple dozen have quit and another dozen are refusing to hear any cases until they are paid.
Maybe Bloomberg should spend less time worrying about Big Gulps and put more effort into solving the problem of rubber rooms.
Way to go Bloomberg.