The Rubber Room

May 29th, 2013. Filed under: Reruns.


First Posted March 18, 2009

I listened to an NPR program on the way home from work last Saturday night that taught me about an incredible place in New York City.  It’s called the rubber room.  A site about The Big Apple gives us the definition so we’ll know why the “reassignment centers” for NYC teachers are called rubber rooms.  A teacher can be sent there for any reason and might be there days, weeks or months without knowing why.  Some have even spent years in the rubber room.  They are sent there for both real and perceived wrongs against students, other teachers or administrators.  And there they’ll stay, getting paid, but not being allowed to teach.

The Village Voice calls this “the Guantanamo Bay of the school world.”  Initially, it sounds great.  Just sit around and read or do whatever to entertain yourself and get paid.  But being in limbo is not such an easy thing.  Some of them who have spent years there want to form a chapter of the teacher’s union, United Federation of Teachers, for those teachers who are “employed” in the rubber rooms.  You can read some of their stories here at The New York Times and a teacher story.


These rooms closed at the end of the 2001-2010 school year. You can read that story here.

But did they? One teacher was still making over $100,000 yearly as a rubber room “leftover” in 2012. You can read more about him here.  Would you want to retire if you were paid salary and benefits like Alan Rosenfeld?

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