Rubber rooms deflated

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Less than a year after Steven Brill exposed the disgraceful reality of New York City's rubber room scene in his August 2009 New Yorker piece, Mayor Bloomberg and the teacher's union agreed to get rid of them once and for all.

Starting this fall, teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence will stop clocking in at rubber rooms, where they collected paychecks for doing literally nothing at a cost of $30 million a year to the city. Instead, these teachers will remain in their schools to do administrative tasks, but are allowed no interaction with students, while they wait for their hearings.

Bloomberg also claims that all pending cases will be resolved by the end of this year, having recently brought on board 16 new arbitrators.

The district still has the problem of the absent teacher reserve pool, currently comprised of 1,100 teachers who lost their positions due to school closures or budget cuts, not misconduct or incompetence, but have been unable to find other positions. The contract prevents School Chancellor Joel Klein from laying these teachers off and, unlike traditional practice of school districts, he is refusing to force schools to take a teacher they do not want. With more than twice the number of rubber room teachers, the absent teacher reserve pool also collects full paychecks.