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The Teacher Reassignment Centers (“rubber rooms”) were an affront to taxpayers, a waste of productivity and an insult to human rights. At last they have been busted up. Much has been written about the agreement that ended them and there is a lot of speculation about what the future will bring.

Certainly the reaction to the abolition of the TRCs has been on the whole celebratory. The terms of their dissolution have been presented and analyzed at length. This post will not add to the discussion or make judgments about the settlement’s conditions or make observations about the DOE. Instead I will share a concern and make an appeal to our Edwize readers.

Many of our fellow professional educators who are currently in a TRC will before long return to schools and be amongst their former colleagues. This return has the potential to be a very joyous occasion but also a quite stressful one. Much depends on the sensitivity and discretion of the personalities in the school environment. It is important that our colleagues be welcomed back with a full and embracing spirit and be graciously supported in every way.

Such “open arms” would be a defining moment and finest hour for every school family.

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3 Comments:

  • 1 Phyllis C. Murray
    · Apr 24, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Closing Rubber Rooms

    By Phyllis C. Murray

    New York City Department of Education Reassignment centers AKA rubber rooms are currently housing approximately 500 teachers. There are 13 reassignment centers where teachers await resolution of their cases. The Rubber Rooms to my knowledge do not reflect democracy in action for our members. The rubber rooms are basically unconstitutional.

    As citizens of this great country, we are entitled to basic rights which are afforded under the United States Constitution. Therefore, it is my opinion that the Rubber Rooms should be closed immediately. Why wait until June!

    As United States citizens, UFTers should enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the incident or crime was committed. These members should be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. The members should be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for defense. These are basic rights under the law.

    Surely delay of a year or more from the date on which the speedy trial or the date of arrest or indictment, whichever first occurs is termed presumptively prejudicial. That is what our laws tell us. And surely for members who must wait months and years for a decision, justice is denied. Justice delayed = justice denied.

    Our union of organized men and women can ensure fair treatment in the workplace and beyond the perimeters of the workplace. Our union must continue to be extremely effective in advocating for the basic civil rights causes of their members in the halls of government at the federal, state, and county levels 24/7.

    John Henrik Clarke said,“History is a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. History tells a people where they are and what they are. Most importantly, history tells a people where they still must go and what they still must be.”
    Today, there is a need for courageous men and women, who to find themselves on the map of human geography, to address the crisis in basic civil rights because it continues in the workplace and outside the workplace. Our union of organized men and women can ensure fair treatment in the workplace and beyond the perimeters of the workplace. And since we are the union, WE must roll into action and advocate for the basic civil rights of our members in the halls of government at the federal, state, and county levels.

    The Rubber Rooms are a blight on the body politic. They should be closed immediately and removed from the lexicon of human decency.
    Phyllis C. Murray, UFT Chapter Leader
    P.S. 75X

  • 2 Love to Teach
    · Apr 24, 2010 at 8:13 am

    I agree with you, and if this leads to a better contract for us, all the better.
    It is apparent that the rubber rooms and ATR issue was an impediment to our contract aims.
    So, hopefully all’s well that ends well, and we see our raises in our lifetimes.

  • 3 Richard Skibins
    · Apr 25, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Now we must focus our efforts on protecting the ATRs at all costs. To make the mistake of allowing their terminations, or limiting the amount of time one may remain an ATR, would allow Klein to undo tenure protection. Principals, especially those from the Leadership Academy, would be emboldened to finding any excuse to make veteran teachers ATRs.

    Let’s not make the same mistakes as DC. We must NOT give in one inch on the ATR issue.