Friday, August 28, 2009

The Ridiculous "Rubber Rooms"

How did I not hear about this until today?

This morning, something in the news sparked a discussion of the evils of teachers' unions and tenure. It may have been the story of an Alabama teacher who continues to draw pay while sitting in prison. Her crime? Oh, only attempting to entice a 14-year-old boy for sex.

(Honestly, for our purposes, it doesn't matter what her crime was. If she's in jail after being convicted of any crime, she's unable to perform her duties as teacher and isn't earning her pay, though the nature of her crime does add a nice dash of insult to injury, doesn't it? However... Maybe I oughtn't to say it, but if you look at her mug shot, which accompanies this article, it's clear that it probably would have taken a whole lotta enticing. . .)

Anyway, one way or another, Donald mentioned the "rubber room teachers".

Me: (blank look) ". . . The what?"

Him: "You know, those teachers in New York that they pay just to sit around a rubber room all day."

Me: (more blankness) ". . . Really?" (Thinking: "How do I get in on that deal?!" Ok, ok. Not seriously.)

Him: "Yes. Look it up online later."

Well, I did, and here it is.

Below are some excerpts from the article. (They're here primarily for future reference, when the article has long since gone bye-bye and an older version of me is reading this, scratching her/my head and saying, "Well?? Was he right? Details-- I need details!")

"The roughly 700 workers accused of various wrongdoings collect their full salaries for spending seven hours a day in low-ceilinged, over-heated rooms, playing cards, doing puzzles, reading magazines and sleeping."

"Most of the school employees banished to what are officially called Temporary Reassignment Centers are awaiting disciplinary hearings on offenses ranging from excessive lateness to sex abuse."

"...Nine people have lingered in a rubber room for more than four years. Twenty-six have idled there for more than three years.

"Eighty-six have been collecting public salaries for more than two years..."

"The data identify the longest-serving person stuck in a rubber room as a teacher who was accused of sexually abusing a child and yanked from his classroom 5-1/2 years ago.

"Because the allegations were never proved, and because he refuses to quit his job, he collects his full annual salary - up to $95,000."

Makes perfect sense, just like everything the government does.