More teachers paid to do nothing: 700 in New York City alone

In early May I wrote about an LA Times article on teachers being paid to do nothing while their fitness to teach is under review. Now the Associated Press is digging into 700 New York City teachers who spend their days in “rubber rooms” occasionally fighting about seating assignments.

The story from May is here, and it does refer to similar practices in New York. The AP dives in with the most current information today.

Hundreds of New York City public school teachers accused of offenses ranging from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid their full salaries to sit around all day playing Scrabble, surfing the Internet or just staring at the wall, if that’s what they want to do.

Because their union contract makes it extremely difficult to fire them, the teachers have been banished by the school system to its “rubber rooms” — off-campus office space where they wait months, even years, for their disciplinary hearings.

The 700 or so teachers can practice yoga, work on their novels, paint portraits of their colleagues — pretty much anything but school work. They have summer vacation just like their classroom colleagues and enjoy weekends and holidays through the school year.

Nice work if you can get it.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air notes this is an extreme example, but goodness grief… they are getting paid their full salary of $70,000 to $80,000 per year! Plus they get the summer off!

When an employee performs poorly in the workplace, normally employers let them go and find better replacements, or sometimes just reduce headcount and save costs to keep prices low.  When a union gets involved, and especially when the employer is the government, the dynamic changes — dramatically.

End this madness, please. This would never happen at a private school or the private sector.

If teachers and others who have contacted me asking me to stop bashing teachers have something to say… the comments section is open.

Posted in

Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Dimsdale on June 23, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    The usual excuse for the appalling performance of the government schools is that "they have to take everyone."

    Little did we know that it was the teachers, and not the students they were talking about!

    At least we know they are doing it "for the children."

    • skepticalcynic on June 24, 2009 at 7:24 am

      Take those same teachers and put them in glastonbury or wh or some other suburban school….chango, presto…..they become good teachers. It happens OVER AND OVER AND OVER. WHERE you teach is by far, the most important factor of whether or not your students learn.

      I'm sure there's sucky teachers, thats a given, but its time to stop making them the scapegoats for all the ills of education.

      Oh, and if their cases are IN REVIEW,they SHOULD continue recieving salaries. If a cop is under investigation and assigned desk duty, he or she will continue getting paid until proven guilty. Its the was it should be, imo.

    • Steve McGough on June 24, 2009 at 8:58 am

      We're talking about a teachers union and local government in collusion to put together contracts that are devastating to city budgets. We're talking millions of dollars here. This would NEVER happen in the private education system, NEVER. THAT'S the point.

  2. skepticalcynic on June 24, 2009 at 12:20 pm


    I saw that point NOWHERE in Dim's post. It was that post to which I was responding.

    As far as it never happening, I don't know. City officials can be bribed, they have in the past, they will in the future.

    Colonial Reality was a private company. City officials, bank officials, OFFICIAL officials were all bribed. Privatization is a good thing, I agree, but a bullet proof vest against corruption is most certainly is not.

    • Steve McGough on June 24, 2009 at 1:11 pm

      Sorry skeptical – I was reading/responding on a smart phone and did not see the indent on your reply.

      Concerning it never happening, I was specifically referring to teachers in the private school system sitting in a room eight hours a day getting paid while waiting for some sort of hearing for months and months.

The website's content and articles were migrated to a new framework in October 2023. You may see [shortcodes in brackets] that do not make any sense. Please ignore that stuff. We may fix it at some point, but we do not have the time now.

You'll also note comments migrated over may have misplaced question marks and missing spaces. All comments were migrated, but trackbacks may not show.

The site is not broken.