Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rubber Room Redux

In an incredible reversal of Union policy, Randi and the New York Teacher are using the term “Rubber Room” to refer to the those staff that have been removed from their schools, most without knowledge of the reason for their removal and almost all without formal charges. In the past we were told to only use the DOE term "Temporary Reassignment Center."

While the terms have reverted the Union’s handling of this issue has not changed.

The New York Teacher article, September 20, 2007 at page 7, reveals the true low priority that our reassigned teachers receive from our Union. While quoting the Sixth Amendment and the right to a speedy trial and witness confrontation Randi would have us believe that the Union is an effective advocate for our teachers. Her solution to burgeoning numbers of teachers sent to the rubber room; get three more Union over-paid reps to act as a team to “help” the borough reps.

Help them do what?

Last year ICE warned that with newly gained power over our members, principals would remove our us from schools at an ever increasing rate. Well we are here. The numbers in the Rubber Rooms are exploding. At one site, 25 Chapel Street in Brooklyn, the numbers have nearly doubled from just 2 years ago.

The opposition on the Executive Board moved to have true representation of our members. We sought paralegals, investigators and a true legal defense team to aggressively defend our members.

When a teacher or para is removed from their school they are entitled to know the reason. A basic tenet of speedy and fair trials is notice….the principals and the DOE know why a Union member is removed, why don’t we?

We encourage a policy to empty the rubber rooms but Randi would have it done by ill-prepared NYSUT attorneys who don’t get your case until the DOE decides and then months have gone by without out any real investigation being done on behalf of the member.

The Three Stooges will not be investigators, paralegals nor will they have any incentive to aggressively defend our members.

As Dostoevsky once said, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." The effectiveness of the UFT as a true Union and advocate for its members can be judged by entering the Rubber Rooms.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jeff is right. Due process entitles an accused to know the charges against which he/she must defend in order to have a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present a defense and not be taken by surprise at trial. Our Brothers and Sisters deserve the right to know their charges. Very few recover completely from the degrading experience of being temporarily assigned.

Anonymous said...

And even if you come out of an attack that has been PROVEN to be untrue -- whether you've spent time in the rubber room or just been under a school-based "investigation" where they take witness statements and follow a set of very demeaning and prejudicial procedures -- they never ever do anything to help you heal from such an attack.

The kid who has maligned you is never made to apologize, face to face or otherwise. The principal never expresses any regrets, nor have the administrators who are privy to the case. You kind of go off in the corner and lick your miserable little paws, then go back to face the possibility of more of the same kind of treatment, day after day.

They could spend some time devising a system whereby kids who make false statements have to go through a process of apology and redemption. That seems to elude them, though. I guess they don't think that kind of socialization is of any value to society.

Anonymous said...

That's why we have to stand up and fight as a union chapter in each school.

Anonymous said...

well you don't have to be in the notorious "rubber room" or to face charges to be abused by students, aides, and other DOE lackys as well as administrators - and some backstabbing "colleagues"- EVERY SINGLE DAY and have little to no redress. I think required viewing of every person who resides in our supposed "free" country is the German film THE LAST DAYS OF SOPHIE SCHOLL - truly one of the most harrowing films I have ever seen - to teach us what happens when tyranny rules and people are too afraid to do anything; and when they do they're beheaded. Literally.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why tenured teachers are afraid to speak out. it's not like they're shooting people. How many were fired last year? I'm sure the numbers aren't that high.

Anonymous said...

I was recently told from a Unity highup that tenured teachers are not getting fired. There has to be serious charges against you, ones that you can't fight.
On the other hand....
They can certainly hound you out, lower your quality of life til you resign on your own. You probably can't get figures for that, but it's happening.

Anonymous said...

The point is that the chances of you getting fired are very low. Why not speak up then and stop comparing it to any German stuff? Those people literally had their lives on the line. What are we fighting: a trip to the rubber room and a possible fine? Come on folks, fight for your rights and stop being intimidated by the idiots at the DOE.

Anonymous said...

Only the DOE seems to have the right to file 30-20a charges against teachers based upon phoney or ticky-tac charges. That is why so many teachers are in the "rubber room".

How come the UFT has not filed a complaint to the State documenting the DOE abuse of the state regulations. Further, how does a DOE supported OSI/SCI investigation be fair? Most of these investigations are one-sided and biased against the teacher.

The UFT should not be expiditing cases but should demand that only serious charges should be subject to the 30-20a process.

Anonymous said...

Force the union's hand. Organize people to fight together. What is there to lose?

Anonymous said...

The union should do this the UFT should do that. What are the members doing? Start your own organizing effort and cut out the wholesaler.

jw said...

I just went to the PEP meeting, and TAGNYC made a protest. Teachers Advocacy Group. They read a long statement (split between 3 people) about the sins of the rubber room, excessing, ATRs, hounding, vilification, etc. Inspiring . Well-written stuff. We started to call out things to Klein, made some noise. Check out their website, and see if you can find time to support them. They're good people, articulate.
http://teacheradvocacygrpnyc.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

It's time that victims of the DOE get help from the ACLU. Maybe a class-action lawsuit or something.