Rubber Rooms

Jarrett Skorup mentioned in a recent post that it was difficult to fire tenured teachers.  Some paces are having trouble getting rid of any teachers.

About 700 New York City educators are currently sitting in designated “rubber rooms” doing yoga, painting, and playing Scrabble all day.  And, they are getting paid to do so.

These teachers have all been accused of some type of misconduct ranging from insubordination to sexual misconduct. Currently, they are sitting in off-campus sites waiting for their disciplinary hearings.  It is not unusual for these teachers to spend 2-3 years waiting, and some have been  there for 6 years.

All the while they are collecting full salaries of $70,000 and up.  An estimated $65 million is being lost to by the city school district to pay these patient teachers.

Why the wait? There are only 23 arbitrators to hear the cases.  They work a mere 5 days a month. Union contracts are involved in making it extremely difficult to fire teachers.

The rooms’ name is a reference to the padded walls of insane asylums, and many of the teachers are said to be depressed, just sitting with little productive to do.  Other make use of the time to pursue graduate degrees, read, or even plan summer vacations.

Thanks to Marginal Revolution for the tip.

Adam Rule – MCPP Intern


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