Wonder why tens of thousands of parents in NYC have placed their children on waiting lists for charter schools? Charter schools are free to hire and fire teachers on individual teacher merits, not by union diktat.
The United Federation of Teachers, which wholly owns Mayor Bill de Blasio, protects teachers who are in the Absent Teacher Reserve. ATR includes teachers who “drink too much, have abused students or for some other misconduct that renders them unfit for classroom.” The ATR, a.k.a. the rubber room, is no longer a physical room; rather it is a form of employment limbo, writes the WSJ.
Some teachers are there because their last school closed. But trained, licensed teachers in ATR can apply for vacant positions in 1,700 other public schools. If a teacher can’t find another job in such a large system, there’s probably a good reason principals don’t want him.
The underlying problem is a tenure system that makes it all but impossible to fire teachers after they’ve spent four years on the job. Those suspended for misconduct continue to receive pay, pension contributions and benefits as disciplinary hearings stretch on and on, sometimes for years. Unions have the power each year to approve or reject the arbitrators who decide misconduct cases.
Under this rigged system, New York fired a mere 61 of its 78,000 teachers over a decade, the American Enterprise Institute found in 2014.
Each teacher in ATR costs taxpayers about $100,000 a year, so no wonder many have declined the city’s $50,000 buyout offers.
Read more here.