Tuesday, October 02, 2007

New York City Paying 757 Teachers To Do Absolutely Nothing, And Even The United Federation Of Teachers Doesn't Like It

KFQD's conservative talk show host Dan Fagan, who has the highest ratings of any talk show host in Anchorage, is fond of complaining about unions. He frequently pans the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and a provision in one of their contracts that a worker who is required to work on his birthday will get paid triple-time.

But at least the IBEW worker will actually work for that triple time.

This is not always the case for New York City teachers. Currently, 757 of them - paid from $42,500 to $93,400 a year - report each day to a facility called a "rubber room". At 9 A.M., they punch in time cards or sign time sheets, and then do absolutely NO WORK for the whole day. Seven hours per day, five days per week. Some immediately pull out crossword puzzles or books. Some knit. Others hold golf-putting contests. One takes out his guitar and strums. One day last week, another, wearing a leotard and tights, spread out on the floor and stretched before practicing ballet against a wall in a corner. They'll bring in lounge chairs to recline, talk on their cellphones and watch movies on portable DVD players, according to interviews with more than 50 employees. One teacher, 62-year old David Pakter, has been in a rubber room for a year for buying a plant for his school and giving students watches he'd made. Click HERE to read three-page original story in the New York Post.

And why is this? It's because the Department of Education (DOE) says it's handcuffed by a clause in the teacher contract saying rubber-room residents cannot be given any "non-teaching duties", even though the president of the United Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, does not object to such teachers being given administrative duties, and has expressed an active interest in further compromise to fix the system. The city once assigned teachers in this predicament administrative duties, but that ended with the 2002 school reorganization when district-run "rubber rooms" were turned into larger, citywide cells. Note: The United Federation of Teachers is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers rather than the National Education Association.

But how do teachers end up in this predicament? Any Department of Education employee accused of official wrongdoing - ranging from buying a plant for a school against the principal's wishes to inappropriately touching a student - are suspended from their normal jobs. However, they cannot be laid off either with or without pay, and they cannot be fired pending an investigation.

In an investigation inside the nine reassignment centers called "rubber rooms" where these employees are sent, the New York Post has learned that the number of salaried teachers sitting idly waiting for their cases to be heard has exploded to 757 this year - more than twice the number just two years ago - at a cost of about $40 million a year, based on the median teacher salary. On top of that, the city pays millions more for substitute teachers and employees to replace them and to lease rubber-room space.

And why are these investigations necessary? Some say the teachers themselves are to blame - their union contract requires a hearing before any tenured employee can be fired. "The reason the rubber room exists is because of worn-out and, quite frankly, irrelevant union contracts that do more to protect people's jobs than they do to protect kids," said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, based in Washington, D.C.

Adding to that issue is the fact that the 20 arbitrators who review cases meet, on average, five times a month, or twice a month in the summer, making for a painfully slow and inefficient system.

Meanwhile, some teachers feel they're being attacked in a "guilty until proven innocent" atmosphere in which more powerful principals can easily remove teachers who question the system and students can easily get teachers they don't like removed by making up accusations. As a result, the union now counsels its members to avoid becoming too involved - including even in breaking up student fights - because it could land them in a rubber room.

"Teachers are scared. The system wants to cover itself, not protect us," said Lenny Brown, a physics teacher who landed in the rubber room over accusations that he touched a student's breast in front of the class - a charge he vehemently denies.

Commentary: This is no surprise. In most schools, the students are considered equal to the teachers in status and authority. Case in point: The Voice of Deseret blog is reporting on an incident in Holladay, UT, where a bunch of middle-school kids started acting up aboard a school bus. The driver snapped, verbally "aired them out", and now the students are exacting revenge by claiming the driver made "racist" remarks. And you know what? The Granite School District is bowing down and kissing the kids asses, while threatening to fire the driver.

But teachers unions don't just hinder education by featherbedding and inaction. They also undermine education through the imposition of political correctness and full-blown social engineering. In June 2006, during their national meeting, the National Education Association overwhelmingly passed a resolution endorsing homosexual "marriages" and adoptions in states where they are already legal. The resolution was a watered-down version of an earlier one that would have endorsed same-sex "marriages" everywhere. However, the clear-cut intent is to mainstream homosexuality.

One of the recommendations is for "gay," lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues be required content for teacher credentialing. Teachers would be forced to undergo sensitivity training concerning homosexuality before they could be certified to teach. The resolution recommends that "NEA advocate for the inclusion of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues in the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) teacher education program review process." The NEA has already contacted NCATE about this.

Peter Brimelow was right. Teachers' unions are probably the biggest "worm" in the proberbial apple.


  1. Marxism at its finest example. The USA will be a anarchist society in a few more years.

    Pity the young kids that will have to try to exist in this environment.



    I am that New York City educator who "bought a plant" but that is not the real reason I was banished to one of New York City's infamous Rubber Room gulags which are being used predominantly in New York to retaliate against Whistle-blowers or teachers in general who expose corruption and mismanagement in the 17 Billion dollar New York City Dept/Board of Education.

    The NEW YORK POST, which recently ran the very slanted story in that paper regarding NYC "Rubber Rooms" approached me a month before the story ran maintaining they wanted to expose what was the real reason these reassignment centers existed.

    Despite that newspaper's well known history for bashing teachers in New York and in particular their union, the United Federation of Teachers, I agreed to be interviewed, in the hope that maybe a small iota of the actual facts would see the light of day.

    Alas, that was too much to be hoped for and thus the story that is now the talk of the country on numerous blogs is what is making the rounds in the world of education.

    Should anyone wish to know the real reason/s I was removed from my position, it is only necessary to visit the following website:


    There one will see a photograph of me being Decorated by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in New York's City Hall, as a "Teacher of the Year" for Exceptional Achievement in Education. I had designed, built from the ground up, and personally funded, the first premiere Medical Illustration Program in the United States for gifted Minority students. The program's goal was to serve as a launching pad to propel those students from deprived socio-economic backgrounds into Ivy League Universities and into careers as Physicians and Scientists.

    But once I became a Whistle-blower the New York City Dept of Education went after me with a vengeance not witnessed in decades and has led to a $ 30,000,000 Notice of Claim and Lawsuit against those responsible.

    To see just a small example of what New York's students are now being deprived of visit my personal website:


    I welcome being contacted by any member of the news media in any country who is interested in getting the real story behind the skewed and embarassingly slanted story that ran in the NEW YORK POST on Sunday, September 30, 2007
    which pretended to pass itself off as "news".

    As I wrote the following day, that NEW YORK POST article can only be referred to as "A Black Sunday for Journalism in New York City".


  3. I have been following this story since I am writing a book to explain the real reason education reform is stalled. Granted the unions are a huge part of the problem, but as long as the public focuses solely on the unions in an out of context way, the real "bad guys" prevail. My book will explain who they are beyond a doubt. It should be out in January. Contact me via EndTeacherabuse.org and join our group if you really care about our schools. Book information will be available at that site.

    David Pakter is one of thousands of teachers being used as a scapegoat by EducRAT$; the NY Post, as the media in general, has once again let us down. Understanding this takes a book! I read Brimelow's book and it is correct about the union, but doesn't connect the dots. My book will! The public will be duly ashamed once it finds out what our country has been doing to teachers, with the help of the unions.

  4. First of all, we dont know that there are 700+ people in the 8 "rubber rooms" of NYC. Principals are now hiding people in their schools, in the basement, or corner closet. I have now spent 4 years listening to the stories of people imprisoned in the reassignment centers, and I can say with the certainty of a reporter for more than 30 years: 97-98% of the inmates of the NYC rubber rooms are great people who I would want to teach my 4 children anytime, anywhere.
    Please see my blogs:


    Betsy Combier

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