New York Rubber Room
In the state of New York, rubber rooms are used throughout many of the boroughs. The occupants are diverse, yet depressed in nature. They are not, however, admittees of mental hospitals. They are New York City teachers. A long-standing practice, “rubber rooms” are used for teachers on suspension. These teachers occupy the rooms and are ordered to do anything they want, as long as they are not teaching.
Among the rubber room practices are sleeping, yoga, running small businesses via laptop and playing Scrabble. And these former teachers are on full salary as they while away the hours.
The practice has come to light in New York and a movement is now underway to put it to an end. Unions and education department leaders squabble over the fault. Union leaders claim the city has not provided enough resources to bring a speedy trial to teachers accused of misconduct, and education department leaders accuse the unions of creating so many obstacles that it becomes nearly impossible to fire bad teachers.
Local media outlets have descended upon the problem, finally bringing it to light and igniting action to put a stop to it.
“Fixing this broken process gets us back to what we want to be doing,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “…giving our kids the education they need and deserve.”
A new system has been implemented and will be put in to practice in September. Under the new structure, any teacher accused of a criminal act will be suspended and sent hoadmitteesme without pay.