A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by these actions and programs. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, people who have been re-assigned from their life and career. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew has enshrined failure by winning an arbitration that blocks Chancellor Dennis Walcott from overhauling 24 persistently terrible schools. For now, one hopes.
Those 24 schools are among the lowest-performing in the city. Day in and day out, year in and year out, they have let thousands of children down. Everyone agrees they need reform, including Mulgrew — except if anyone dare try to hold his members accountable for performance.
Mayor Bloomberg attempted to use the schools as a proving ground for testing out a system of teacher evaluation as a precursor to the one that is supposed to be introduced citywide.
This could be done only with Mulgrew’s agreement. He shot the idea down, costing the schools thousands of dollars in special funding.
Bloomberg then exercised authority that seemed clearly his under the teachers contract: He ordered the schools closed so they could be reopened with reconstituted teaching forces. Principals would offer jobs to half the incumbent instructors based on merit, let the others seek employment elsewhere and replace those let go with more promising hires.
Mulgrew sued, alleging a contract violation. The matter went to an arbitrator, Scott Buchheit, who ruled that all the teachers must keep their jobs regardless of their ability to impart learning.
Bloomberg will appeal while Mulgrew happily sacrifices the futures of kids in defense of teachers who have been found wanting by their principals.
Teacher quality doesn’t matter. Student success is irrelevant. All that counts is that UFT members keep their jobs.