Monday, March 28, 2011

Not clear getting rid of the rubber rooms is an improvement

New York City has a big problem with not being able to fire horrible teachers.  Rather than spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to fire one teacher, only to lose in court, the adiministration has been paying the teachers to sit in rooms and do nothing.  These are infamously known as "rubber rooms."

Teachers Set Deal With City on Discipline Process says an agreement has been made to get rid of the "rubber rooms."  But it doesn't seem like things are really any better:

The union did not appear to sacrifice much in the deal. While the agreement speeds hearings, it does little to change the arduous process of firing teachers, particularly ineffective ones. Administrators still must spend months or even years documenting poor performance before the department can begin hearings, which will still last up to two months.

As the schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, has increased efforts to get rid of teachers the city deems ineffective, the number of teachers in rubber rooms has grown. There are now about 550, costing the city $30 million a year.

While teacher unions claim to care about the students, they really only care about the dues teachers pay them.  And the unions will block the firing of even teachers who have committed crimes. 

It is a sad state.


Ina's 5 and our Native Homeschool Blog said...

I have heard about this. Not just NY either but other places also. It is a terrible state if things and would not occur in other professions.

Henry Cate said...

Yeah, it is a funny world. On one hand most teachers want to be viewed and treated as professionals, but on the other hand they don't want to be treated as other professionals.

Outside of government when someone messes up in a job generally they are moved out of that job. They might be fired, they might be demoted, they might be given a chance to look for another job.

You would never expect a hospital to keep a surgeon around who was killing most of his patients. Society wouldn't tolerate a pilot who kept having landings where planes broke and some people died. In general most people understand and accept kicking people out when they do a poor job.

Yet for some reason our society has come to accept that bad teachers should be kept in government schools. The result is that for one bad teacher dozens of students will suffer each year.