While bad teachers are unusual, they are not unheard of. This led to most states requiring a college degree and a mentored student-teaching internship before being allowed to teach in the classroom. But did you know that there is a place for bad teachers that are already in the public school system?
The Rubber Room is a term used to refer to the reassignment centers teachers accused of misconduct are kept in. They can’t be fired, so they are sent to sit there and do nothing. They still get paid while awaiting the resolutions to their cases.
Is the Rubber Room Real?
Teachers who are waiting on disciplinary action by the school district are made to spend time in reassignment centers. These centers are called Rubber Rooms. It was named so to symbolize what was wrong with the public education system. Most teachers in reassignment centers are accused of various issues like drug abuse, sexual harassment, or general misconduct. They are sent to these facilities to do nothing but still get paid a monthly salary, benefits, and even accrue time toward a pension.
Several of the people I know in rubber rooms have been there two years, some people as long as five years. ou don’t just sit there. You can’t do anything. Think of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, with a paycheck.Leonard Isenberg, Los Angeles Unified School District Teacher
In New York alone, more than 600 teachers are accused of misconduct, while there are 161 throughout Los Angeles. All of whom are assigned to a center.
Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, John Deasy, is trying to change the policy for cases like Mark Berndt’s, the Miramonte Elementary School Teacher who is accused of child molestation. Several educators in the public school system support removing reassignment centers for different reasons.
Traditionally what the district has done is to say we put you in an office, we pay you, and we wait for all the stuff to happen. I am not acting that way.John Deasy, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent
(Source: New York Post)
Are All the Teachers in Reassignment Centers Guilty?
Leonard Isenberg taught in Los Angeles for over 25 years. He was assigned to the Rubber Room after repeatedly complaining that his school, the Central Continuation High School, allowed students to graduate from secondary education with a second-grade reading level. According to Isenberg, the principal was offended, which led to false accusations of him yelling at students and watching pornography in class.
During his time in the Rubber Room, Isenberg created a website that criticized the district, reassignment centers, and their protocol. The district makes the teachers feel that they are guilty until proven innocent, which makes it complicated for teachers like him who are falsely accused. The district eventually fired him.
The students know they can get teachers in trouble by just saying anything.Leonard Isenberg, Los Angeles Unified School District Teacher
(Source: NBC Los Angeles)
Are the Rubber Rooms Here to Stay?
According to Larry Sand, a retired teacher and the California Teachers Empowerment Network president, the reassignment centers are necessary and won’t be phased out any time soon.
There’s arbitration and hearings and all sorts of things that have to take place before a teacher would actually lose his job. If he’s not in the classroom, they have to put him somewhere.Larry Sand, President of California Teachers Empowerment Network
(Source: NBC Los Angeles)