More than Half of Rubber Room Teachers Bounce Back to Classrooms

The reassignment centers known as rubber rooms may be a thing of the past, but the city's Department of Education has yet to fully eliminate the number of teachers awaiting disciplinary proceedings. And most of those who were in limbo are now back in schools.

The department said 83 teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence are still waiting for final decisions and are working in district offices. But that's down from the 744 teachers who were doing nothing while continuing to receive their full pay in rubber rooms, or reassignment centers, as of last fall. The city and the union agreed last year to get rid of the rubber rooms and to speed up the hearing process.

Of the 661 teachers whose cases were settled, the department says 181 are no longer employed by the city for various reasons, including resignations, terminations or signing stipulations. Another 474 were returned to service and six were permanently reassigned. About 150 of those teachers who kept their jobs had to pay fines and many must attend additional training sessions.

According to Department of Education spokeswoman Barbara Morgan, “Ending the rubber rooms was certainly a critical step. However, we have much more work to do to ensure we put in place policies that allow us to keep our best teachers, quickly move the worst out of the system, and put our kids first. That includes ending Last in, First out.”