Search the Site

Clearing Out the "Rubber Rooms"

Photo: iStockphoto

Steven Brill‘s excellent 2009 article on New York City’s “Rubber Rooms,” classrooms filled with teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence, provoked understandable outrage at New York’s beat-up school system.  Now, two years later, it seems many of these teachers are being returned to the classroom.  “Many teachers accused of incompetence or misconduct sidestep termination hearings and take city Department of Education deals in which they admit some wrongdoing, pay an average $7,500 fine and return to the classroom,” reports the New York Post. “Some also agree to take college classes, study how to handle stress or even undergo testing for substance abuse.
In some cases, the DOE gets rid of accused teachers in deals that change their ratings from ‘U’ (unsatisfactory) to ‘S’ (satisfactory) if they agree to quit — thus helping them get jobs elsewhere.”  One thing the DOE doesn’t seem to be doing is firing many teachers: “Of 744 educators formerly in exile, only 33 have been fired after administrative hearings.”