Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Teachers in Dire Straits: Money For Nothing In New York City

This story has popped up previously, but the Associated Press has again reported on New York City's "rubber rooms" for teachers who are awaiting disciplinary action. Of course, the first reaction is how the overly-powerful teacher unions keep these teachers on full pay for months or years. They focus on the difficulty of firing incompetents and the mis-used concept of "due process." Those are all fair criticisms. Believe me, as a teacher it was enlightening when I quickly realized that the NEA didn't give a rat's colon about what goes on in the classroom. They exist for the interests of teachers, not for the good of education.

While many of the teachers probably deserve removal, reading some of the brief descriptions of offenses in the AP article and others tell us there is more to the story. Many of the situations are the result of the cesspool that urban school districts have become. This particular episode caught my eye:

Judith Cohen, an art teacher who has been in a rubber room near Madison Square Garden for three years, said she passes the time by painting watercolors of her fellow detainees.
"The day just seemed to crawl by until I started painting," Cohen said, adding that others read, play dominoes or sleep. Cohen said she was charged with using abusive language when a girl cut her with scissors.

Full disclosure, if a kid cuts me with scissors I will likely use some abusive language if not physical abuse. How difficult can it be for an administrator to deal with such a situation? That problem should be handled completely in minutes not years. That is pretty much a no-brainer. Suspend (or expel) the kid and patch up the teacher.

Every issue that comes up in a public school classroom needs a full courtroom adjudication. Most are fairly simple. That is, if there is some level of institutional control in the schools. The bigger issue goes way beyond paid daycare centers for teachers. The real problem is that urban school districts spend ridiculous amounts of money with pathetic results. And no one cares except for the children and parents. However, the Democrat political machines control urban education and their constituents blindly keep putting the same incompetent fools in positions of power. Maybe the sheeple in cities should demand results from the Machine. And, maybe they could even think outside the box and allow some new ideas to crush the dead ideologies that are leaving their children without hope.

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