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.
Rubber Roomer's May 25, 2010 Letter To UFT President Mike Mulgrew
To all readers of my blog:
I was just sent the letter sent below from a former 335 Park place "rubber roomer", and thought I would post it.
Mike Mulgrew did not reply.
In July 2010 I was told that no UFT members needed help any more, as there were no more 'rubber rooms', so my agreement to represent members ended. Ellie and Mike wrote me that they loved my advocacy for the members.
I started my own company, ADVOCATZ, which shows that everything happens for a reason. Betsy Combier Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter President, ADVOCATZ
May 25, 2010
Dear Mr. Mulgrew,
I am writing to thank you for providing the Reassigned Teachers at 355 Park Place in Brooklyn with the unwavering advocacy of your staff member, Betsy Combier. I feel fortunate to have met Mrs. Combier at this center when it first opened two and a half years ago. As frightening as it was for me to be removed from my school, nothing could have prepared me for the stress associated with being in the TRC. Like most of the teachers that I have met, I felt scared, alone and unable to help my situation. I had hundreds of questions and concerns about my future. Betsy’s genuine commitment to the teachers in our center not only alleviated some of the burdens associated with reassignment, but also served as an ongoing source of support and comfort. She spent her time listening to our concerns and provided sensible advice. Her positive spirit and boundless encouragement to stay focused on the resolution of each of our individual concerns made her weekly visits a time that we all looked forward to.
Now that the “Rubber Rooms” are closing, the future has become even more uncertain. Many of us are scared and concerned about where we will be placed in September. What type of work will we be assigned? What if we find ourselves in a less than fair situation? Who will be available to listen to our concerns? Will there be a support system provided to attend to our specific needs? Will there be someone assigned the responsibility of tracking where we are sent and whether or not the work assigned to us is appropriate?
Mike Mulgrew, Carmen Farina, Bill de Blasio
Unanswered questions, confusion, fear and anger will surely accompany the opening of the 2010-2011 as teachers who have been unfairly re-assigned are their new locations. Teachers reassigned randomly will still need ongoing support from someone with knowledge and experience in the reassignment process who understands the mental stress those of us who have been sitting in the rubber rooms have endured. In the past seven years, Betsy Combier has generated an infallible trust with the reassigned teachers and I believe that the continuity she is able provide would greatly benefit them. Please consider utilizing Mrs. Combier’s experience and knowledge in a way that would continue to support the UFT members during and after the reorganization process. I would very much appreciate a response to this letter. Thank you so much.