N.Y.C. to Close ‘Rubber Rooms’

By Stephen Sawchuk — April 15, 2010 1 min read
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The New York Post has the scoop that the city and the United Federation of Teachers plan to announce the closing of the infamous teacher reassignment centers, or “rubber rooms,” for teachers accused of malfeasance and incompetence. Teachers will instead report to the central office to perform clerical duties and other assignments.

The Post takes some of the credit for the agreement, but the real nail in the coffin may have been Steven Brill’s highly critical piece in the New Yorker last year.

No word yet on the future of that other pool of not-working-but-still-getting-paid teachers, the absent-teacher reserve pool. The ATR was a byproduct of the district’s move to a mutual-consent placement system, rather than central slotting, for “excessed” teachers.

It’s an interesting question to consider how places like Colorado and the District of Columbia will attempt to head off the creation of things like the ATR as they change seniority and tenure rules.

You can see the footprints in D.C., where the contract now on the table would allow “excessed” teachers 60 days to find a placement and a couple of other options after that (buyout, early retirement, or one year additional time to find work). But after the additional year, it would remove those teachers from the rolls.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.