A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by acts of corruption and fraud. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, and re-assigned. The terms "rubber room" and "ATR" mean that you or any person has been targeted for removal from your job. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
The United Federation of Teachers’ and Department of Education’s efforts to eradicate the “rubber rooms” that staff facing disciplinary charges would languish in for months or years have flopped, according to Mayor Bloomberg, but UFT President Michael Mulgrew accused him of not looking at the big picture.
The DOE and UFT agreed to end the use of “temporary reassignment centers” in an April 2010 accord that reformed the disciplinary system to put a 60-day cap on the amount of time Teachers could spend out of the classroom without being charged with misconduct, and put Teachers to work in administrative jobs while they awaited hearings.
‘Didn’t Work So Well’
But during the Oct. 19 broadcast of the John Gambling Show on WOR-AM, Mr. Bloomberg said that the administrative-jobs concept hadn’t worked out because the Teachers are rejected at their new posts.
“Can you imagine just how accepted they are when they walk into these schools? And so, you know, it didn’t work so well,” he said. “I know it’s galling, and it is real money, but you’ve got to put it a little bit in perspective,” he added, addressing the cost of paying Teachers who could face termination for misconduct. “The system has improved dramatically.”
Mr. Mulgrew said the Mayor was concentrating on isolated cases that have attracted press attention. “It’s worked out extremely well. You’re talking from 800 cases down to 200, [with] a couple of outlying cases which I won’t speak about individually” taking longer than 60 days to complete, he said.
“The cases themselves are moving very quickly; by and large they’re sticking to 60 days, and they’re getting in and out,” Mr. Mulgrew continued. “The Mayor will talk about one case he read about in the news, but he won’t check the other 200.”
He noted dissonance between the Mayor’s position and that of his Schools Chancellor, Dennis Walcott. “The Chancellor is out there saying it’s worked out wonderfully. Maybe they should get together and talk,” he said.