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.
Here in America we as citizens are expected to have faith in our Government. We work and pay our taxes that keep our Nation or this US Empire going. Education of our Nation should be a priority right? I mean you can’t have a nation of ignorant people trying to govern themselves right? We need smart Americans. We want smart Americans. We deserve a smart America. More than once I have heard someone say that “America is #1 and that is why all the other countries hate us.” Are we really number one? Not even close.
Out of 34 Countries around the World the US is ranked14th in Reading , 17th in Science and 25th in Mathematics.So what is the problem? I do not think it is one problem that can be identified and corrected. But I can point to a general direction and let you decide for yourself. The City of New York has the biggest school system in the US and it will actually pay teachers 22 Million Dollars next year, their full salary, to not teach.
Now hold on you may be saying. Breaking rules? Abusing Kids? I did not report to you that the teachers had to be convicted of these offenses, only that they be accused. It takes only one upset, emotional and confused accusation from a teenager to start an investigation process that pulls a teacher from their class and places them in a room with nothing to do. The Rubber Room. They still get up, go to school for work then sit in a room and count the seconds until 4 o’clock when they can go home. The process could take weeks, months and sometimes years to conclude. Millions and millions of dollars from the Department of Education each year go to rooms full of teachers with no students in front of them.
Once assigned to a Rubber Room, teachers are often shunned by their peers and former school administrators. A general atmosphere of taboo will in many cases follow them for the remainder of their careers, long after they have returned to regular teaching and even, in many cases, after having been fully acquitted of their accusations.
Unfortunately it was made in 2008. What have we done since then? Oh the room still exists. It lives now in broom closets, unused offices — even stinky locker rooms — in school buildings all over the city and I am afraid the nation.
Some of you may say that The Rubber Room allows teachers guilty of criminal misconduct to remain on the public payroll, being paid a full salary to sit and do nothing. On the other side, there are those of you who see the entire process, although initially created as an instrument to protect child safety, has now been expanded into a lethal weapon, used by principals and other administrators to remove teachers from their classrooms based on minor insubordination, personality conflicts, or even for budgetary reasons such as making way for a new replacement teacher who will be paid a far lesser salary.
Although your opinions vary with respect to Education in America or lack there of and The Rubber Room, they do seem to share one common denominator: they are impassioned, sometimes inflammatory, and never positive. Let’s look at it another way, it would be extremely difficult to find an individual, either working in New York City education or not, who thinks The Rubber Room is a system that works even moderately well.