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.
As the wave of anti-tenure lawsuits are about to move from California to NY and other states where teachers unions are strong, it would be instructive to think about the staggering amounts of money very wealthy people have spent to demonize teachers unions, teachers and public schools. In addition to the tens of millions poured into campaigns for local school boards, and into mayoralty races to make sure the "reform" strategies of charter school favoritism and test based school and teacher evaluations are to prevail, millions have also been poured into a documentary "Waiting for Superman" and a full length Hollywood Film "Won't Back Down." And that was followed by a multi-million dollar billboard campaign against teachers unions featuring a twenty foot high picture of AFT President Randi Weingarten mounted in Times Square!
If anyone bothered to compute the amount of funding that has gone into these campaigns and these films, I am sure the amounts would go into the hundreds of millions of dollar, perhaps into the billions. Which begs the questions Wouldn't this money have been better spent on funding arts programs and after school centers in schools in high poverty areas? Or reducing class size? Or increasing the number of librarians and school counselors? But no, it has all gone into what is basically a giant propaganda campaign against teachers unions
Now with these lawsuits, millions more are going to be spend on this campaign, even if some of the legal expertise is going to be donated pro bono. Doesn't anyone here have a sense of proportion? A sense of irony?
This is a huge, even criminal waste of money at a time when so many public school budgets are being reduced, and when class size is rising, and vital services are being cut.
Something to think about as the witch hunt against teachers unions moves into a new phase