Remember back in April when the city and the United Federation of Teachers announced that by the end of the year teachers accused of misconduct would no longer be sent to the infamous "rubber rooms" (where they would collect their full salaries while sitting around)? The NY Times checked in yesterday and finds that for all intents and purposes little has changed. “There are indeed still rubber rooms,” one teacher accused of sexual harassment told the paper. “They just don’t call them that.”
Now instead of being sent to a single room to wait around teachers under review are being asked to do busywork for the Department of Education since their qualifications to teach are up in the air and they have to do something. Those jobs can include processing invoices, arranging schedules, answering phones, scanning documents and helping with chores at the Department's external affairs office in the Tweed Courthouse. One teacher currently not teaching told the Times about the time she was sent to measure every classroom, auditorium, athletic field and parking lot for the School Construction Authority. Some others still work in some of the city's dozen truancy offices around the city—but as they aren't necessarily provided with computers to access the DoE's system even that doesn't always work out. But others are still simply sitting around, doing nothing, making sure they clock in for their required six hours and 50 minutes per day.
Now, thanks to people like the hooker-turned-teacher, we already knew the rooms were still kicking—and of course it is going to take a system as large as the DoE some time to figure out exactly what to do with teachers who aren't teaching—but at least the story, though painting a depressing picture, does offer one bit of evidence that things are already getting better: "Despite the difficulties of finding the teachers actual work, cases are moving much faster than before the April agreement...In mid-November, there were 236 teachers and administrators still in reassignment, down from 770 when the deal to close the rubber rooms was signed."