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Good Move

No more “rubber rooms.” 

The union and the mayor have agreed to abolish the long practice of assigning New York City teachers under discipline review to centers where they played board games, read, and just basically hung out while waiting for their cases to be resolved.  Mayor Bloomberg called the practice “an absurd abuse of tenure.”

About 650 educators, 500 of the teachers, are currently assigned to the centers.  Altogether they earn about $30 million in salaries.  Some have been waiting years for resolution of their cases.New_york_city_1  

I know from experience that bringing charges against a teacher not only takes a long time, but it also costs money because the district not only continues to pay the teacher charged, but also his or her substitute.  Add in the attorney’s fees, and you understand why smaller districts are reluctant to attempt to remove a tenured teacher. Still, the rubber rooms were an embarrassment for the city and for the union.

The practice of assigning teachers to centers was a lose-lose situation, unfair to taxpayers and unfair to the teachers waiting there.  Under the new agreement, the timeline to file charges of incompetence or misconduct has been greatly shortened.  Even teachers assigned to rubber rooms welcomed the changes.

Teachers accused of serious charges will be suspended without pay.  Others will do work outside the classroom including "administrative duties".  I think this arrangement is a great improvement, but I’m wondering what those administrative duties might be.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Practical Leadership are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.