Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Rubber Rooms

Tags: , ,

Another article on the New Yorker about the incredible inefficient bureaucracy that creates the situation of the Rubber Rooms, but even more incredible is the sense of entitlement in some of the teachers in it. To quote,

Neither the Mayor nor the chancellor is popular in the Rubber Room. “Before Bloomberg and Klein took over, there was no such thing as incompetence,” [elementary school teacher] Brandi Scheiner, standing just under the Manhattan Rubber Room’s “Handle with Care” poster, said recently… “Before Bloomberg and Klein, everyone knew that an incompetent teacher would realize it and leave on their own,” Scheiner said. “There was no need to push anyone out.”

*cough cough BULLSHIT*

It takes between two and five years for cases to be heard by an arbitrator, and, like Scheiner, most teachers in the Rubber Rooms wait out the time, maintaining their innocence. One of Scheiner’s Rubber Room colleagues pointed to a man whose head was resting on the table, beside an alarm clock and four prescription-pill bottles. “Look at him,” she said. “He should be in a hospital, not this place. We talk about human rights in China. What about human rights right here in the Rubber Room?” Seven of the fifteen Rubber Room teachers with whom I spoke compared their plight to that of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay or political dissidents in China or Iran.

Except, y’know, the full pay, vacation time, union-supervised arbitration and the lack of torture. The rest of the article speaks to the ridiculously high satisfactory ratings (98.7%) and the difficulty even in dealing with those who fail to make it – along with a list of probable causes, ranging from Teach for America to the United Federation of Teachers – but my money is still on the tenure track and the lack of any direct relationship between student success and teacher retention.

As an aside, this isn’t to say that I want the UFT’s back broken. Amidst the hiring freeze and budget crunch thanks to the economic downturn, I’ve been in the unenviable position of witnessing the layoffs of five teachers (including the UFT rep), three in the maths and sciences… while the school band got new uniforms and instruments. I’ve also been in the awkward position of having to serve as a witness in the arbitration of a rubber roomed teacher – it was settled out of court; I don’t want the blood of somebody’s career on my hands – that largely boiled down to politics. It’s a dirty world out there.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

© 2009 Big Smoke. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by Wordpress and Magatheme by Bryan Helmig.