Newsday reported last week on yet another bureaucratic nightmare in New York City: over four hundred teachers are currently reporting to "borough suspension sites"--empty rooms where allegedly "abusive and inept" teachers wait for their cases to be ruled on by the NYC Department of Education.
They're commonly referred to as "rubber rooms" because the teachers in them have nothing to do--sort of a grown-up detention period. It's a detention period that can last for months or even years, though, and teachers get paid the whole time. The City is spending over $20 million a year on paying these teachers--a lot of money to pay people who are doing nothing.
While the Big Apple may engage in this practice on a grander scale than most school districts, it's a problem that all school districts live with. It's a practice the private sector wouldn't tolerate even if businesses could afford to let fired employees languish around the company lounge for months on end.