Monday, September 24, 2007

Q&A From a Chapter Leader on Rubber Room

CL: Due process/speedy trial and all that it entails are rights that we as citizens have. Those same rights cannot, as a matter of course, become abrogated by a contract. Our own contract states that even if any part is deemed illegal, the rest of the contract stands.

So, why is it that teachers can be pulled out of the classroom without even knowing why?

Shouldn't that be totally illegal????

EdNotes: Of course. The argument by the DOE and the UFT is that they are getting paid. A proactive union would never allow this and would raise so much hell about it. But the UFT/Randi is worried about image and a potential article in the NY Post that they are protecting a child molester. So, they would rather let 50 innocent people be railroaded than risk the 1 bad apple. There is a % of guilty people but the union should be saying publicly that it is their job to provide a rigorous defense to everyone but they don’t do that. Instead they make public pronouncements about how they want to "help" the DOE get rid of people. Thus Randi gets points nationally from the anti-union forces for being a "progressive" union leader, meaning she is perfectly willing to make "adjustments" to contractual rights.

On the other hand, the screams of the people are beginning to be heard and with the potential national impact of blogs calling Randi a sellout, she is trying to make it look like they will do something-- she has assigned Ron (back-stabbing worm) Isaac, Betsy Combier and reporter Jim Callahan to visit the rubber rooms and come up with suggestions - I hear Staten Island RR people are organizing with tee shirts and something might explode at some point as much against the UFT as against the DOE. So she is trying to let the air out of the balloon.

CL: The argument that one is getting paid is irrelevant. People in jail still are able to earn income from their investments, yet they are in jail.

They have been removed, and I am curious if they (union and board) are liable for any health problems that are exacerbated by these tribulations - ala if one robs someone, and that person has a fatal heart attack, the perpetrator is guilty of homicide.

There is no need to go to rubber rooms for suggestions. Any constitutional lawyer can tell you that the process, as it stands now, is flawed. The union should send some of their retainered lawyers to work on this.

The union should be defending the people, realizing that there is always the bad apple, just as there are bad cops, bad doctors, etc. does not permit the warehousing of teachers. The damage done cannot be undone by licking one's paws.

EdNotes: One day soon we must explore how Ron and Betsy got jobs at the UFT.


  1. I think you have over simplified things. The rubber rooms are not composed by loads of innocent people and the ocassional child molester. There are a great number of them who are there for very serious civil or educational/doe infractions, a very small number who are there for no good reason, and an even smaller percentage who are there accused of child molestation or similar things.

    I wouldn't necessarily blame the union for this, and I can't blame the doe either. I wonder if you have children? If you have children, I don't think you would want your children to be taught by someone who beats his wife, sells crack on a street corner, or is a completely incompetent teacher. I don't know. Maybe it's just me.

    Having said this. There is the ocassional teacher who is there because he was a pain in the behind to the principal. This teacher should get a lawyer and sue the heck out of that principal and the DOE. It should not be the job of the union to decide who is a legitimate "innocent" person and who is not.

    In your silly hatred of the UFT and Randi you just simply refuse to see what is really happening. Please step down your soap box and be constructive for a change. You are playing with the emotions of members who are very vulnerable.

    I've met Betsy and Ron and they seem to be nice people. They were curtious and helpful. I really don't care how they got the job.

  2. You SHOULD care how they got the job.

    PS: You haven't said how you know this: "There are a great number of them who are there for very serious civil or educational/doe infractions" and this: "a very small number who are there for no good reason"

    How on earth could you know this with such authority?

  3. What is your constructive solution? And why do you assume I am playing with the emotions of vulnerable people and how am I doing so when I print a UFT chapter leader's points on due process?

    There's no question you raise some valid points here and indeed a close colleague who was sent to the RR unfairly and spent 6 months there he wouldn't want his own kids being taught by people who are guilty. But he was railroaded as have been so many others I know. Your numbers seem to be way off and actually reek a bit of the NY Post.

    Are you saying that most rubber room people " beats his wife, sells crack on a street corner, or is a completely incompetent teacher?"

    This statement bothers me:

    "There is the occasional teacher who is there because he was a pain in the behind to the principal. This teacher should get a lawyer and sue the heck out of that principal and the DOE. It should not be the job of the union to decide who is a legitimate "innocent" person and who is not."

    It is the job of the union to defend the innocent and guilty to the fullest extent and it is the job of the DOE to prove otherwise.
    But the union in taking your hands off position in effect assumes guilt just as you think it is the "occasional" teacher. I have run across too many "occasionals".

    Do you also assume every U rated teacher deserves it?

    Should these teachers get a lawyer and bankrupt themselves to sue the DOE? It seems you are saying that it is more important to get rid of people even if innocents get caught up. I think the union should provide more support like even investigate with paralegals and not leave teachers in the hands of a biased DOE.

    My arrested friend who had 5 cops take her out in handcuffs for putting a child in her seat (parent instigated by principal who hated her) and then being told by UFT she had to do it all herself to defend herself even after the police told her it was nonsense after they did their own investigation.

    Shouldn't the UFT move to get this police investigation on the record? They said no. It was up to this very vulnerable person after her experience to do it herself. So who is taking advantage of vulnerable people here?

    It is incidents like the above that fuel my political crit of the UFT. As to my soapbox and my "hatred" of the UFT and Randi. That is the line Unity puts out. Like it's all an emotion with no grounds of criticism. Your words are so familiar that I will assume you have some connection to Unity Caucus.

    Funny, but when I was chapter leader battling my principal her supporters said the same thing - I hated her. What a strange word to use. The criticism I have is political, not personal. I have no reason to hate Randi and actually personally think she is fine. But people who can't take criticism always try to characterize political disagreements as personal "hatred."

    As for Ron and Betsy, I've known them for years and Betsy has always done good work. You do not care how or why people get jobs but if you are a UFT member paying dues to an organization that will use your dues to attempt to cover up malfeasance within the union that might be important. If you're hired for a certain reason then I suspect the ultimate result. The question is: are they being given busy work in visiting rubber rooms, where most teachers blame the UFT as much as the dOE? IS this a way to deflect any militant action in these places?

    Based on your post that assumes most are guilty, how do you feel about a UFT position on rubber rooms?

  4. At 8:27 PM, October 01, 2007 Someone wrote

    "The rubber rooms are not composed by loads of innocent people and the ocassional child molester."

    This person is someone without knowledge or experience or compassion who is just repeating what he hears. Please disregard this rubbish. Clearly, this person is not in the least knowledgeable about what is really going on in the Rubber Rooms. Or, worse, I syspect he has taken on the perverse role of smearing all of the 750+ brothers and sisters sent to the Rubber Room.

    Nevertheless, If even one UFT member is there due to administrative abuse, then all UFT members are diminished.

    Shame on you!

    Reader, If you are ever sent to the Rubber Room do not wait one minute for your union to help you. It will not provide substantive, qualified help. Regardless of why, It will not or cannot. Ednote's, ICE's, TJC's or whomever's concern will not give you one bit of qualified help when you need it right NOW. (Hopefullly they are vehicles of change, but this is not your concern at the present).

    Simply waiting to see if 3020a charges are filed is a crapshoot at best. If 3020a charges are filed then you'll most likely get an overworked NYSUT attorney who has actually are part of the good old boy system. Experience counts, but from what I have seen they are all to ready to have you compromise because the DOE will play hardball with your careet. Nevertheless, relying on the system may be follhardy. If you can afford to get an experienced Rubber Room attorney and get one before you are interviewed. *Before* you are interviewed; this is imperative!*

  5. The chapter leader who posted the original question responds to anon Oct 1 8:27:

    One of the reasons why blog communication is lacking is because one does not receive the nuances of language that can be found in direct discourse. So I am curious as to why my question received the answer it did. I am not on a soapbox. Nor do I hate anyone. I am confident that I did not type those words or even imply that feeling.

    I wrote the original item. And after reading your response, I still maintain what I wrote in my first sentence. The question here, in its simplest form, is one of due process. The union, as an institution, should defend due process rights. And it should do so with objectivity.

    And yes, you are absolutely right. It is not the union's job to determine if someone is innocent or guilty. That is the responsibility of the legal system. Until someone either admits to something, or is convicted, the union should fall back on the presumption of innocence. It has served people well for a long time, and will continue to help people IF we fight for it.

  6. So now you assume that someone who disagrees with you is on the take and has never seen a rubber room, or writes for the NY Post. Yet another reader assumes he/she has never visited the rubber room. Ohhh, you are so good at demonizing your critics! I was sent to the rubber room for a brief period of time on a false allegation. Anonymous 8:27 nailed it! Everyone in that room talked and talked about what wonderful teachers they were. They all claimed to be innocent. Many acted very strange. I wouldn't want my daughter to be taught by the overwhelming majority of them. By the way, I am very pleased with the help I got from the UFT, although I never got to meet any of the people you mentioned.


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