The NY Post has an article about how even though the NYC DOE has taken down the rubber room, many teachers are still in the ‘rubber room’ until their trials are brought to light
The “rubber rooms” have bounced back. They’re just smaller and scattered now.
More than 200 NYC educators suspected of misconduct or incompetence are hidden in offices all over the city.
In the infamous rubber rooms that closed in 2010, up to 770 castoffs were jammed into several giant rooms. Now no more than a handful sit in exile at each place.
They are tucked into cubicles, ignored at empty desks or confined to lunchrooms. Some do clerical work, like answering phones and making copies, but many are still just warehoused — and just as idle as their predecessors in the old holding pens, inmates told The Post.
A total of 187 tenured teachers have been yanked from class, plus 20 others, such as supervisors and social workers, said Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg.
They’re supposed to do “administrative” work, but one teacher in an office on Fordham Road in The Bronx said he almost begs to fill the water coolers and do other gofer tasks.
“I try to kill time by doing that. I get bored sitting on my butt,” he said.
On another floor, two teachers are “reassigned” to a lounge from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with an hour for lunch.
“We just try to keep busy by reading a book or listening to music,” one said.
Under a 2010 agreement between the Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers, disciplinary decisions should take no more than 30 days after a hearing has ended.
But some rulings are late by a year or more, sources said.
“The arbitrators are not abiding by the agreement. Nobody is,” said Betsy Combier, a paralegal in teacher cases.
Feinberg said at least 28 “fully litigated” cases await rulings.
Francesco Portelos, a tech teacher at IS 49 Bertha Dreyfus in Staten Island, is furiously blogging about his banishment. One entry at www.protectportelos.org is addressed “Dear Taxpayers” and shows money being dumped down the toilet.
He commutes an hour to a “basement copy/mail/cafeteria/storage room” at 8201 Rockaway Boulevard in Queens. Instead of teaching robotics in his STEM lab, he’s forced to sit at empty tables next to stacks of packaged paper.
“So imagine this: We are getting paid, the substitutes covering our classes are getting paid, the investigators investigating our cases are getting paid, the lawyers working against the teacher and for the teacher are getting paid, the arbitrators hearing the cases are getting paid, and all with your tax dollars,” he wrote.
Portelos was expelled on April 26 after complaining that Principal Linda Hill broke DOE rules requiring parents and staff to review the school budget.
Portelos said he’s joined “in my rubber room” by two other teachers — both not charged for months — and left to linger all day.
“I won’t play Minesweeper or Fruit Ninja. I have asked for work but was told there is nothing for me right now.”
Feinberg said Portelos was removed “pending several investigations.”