Teachers on both coasts paid to do nothing

I remember reading about this a couple of years ago. Now seems like a good time to bring it up again to see if there would be any backlash, and the Los Angeles Times has the story written by Jason Song. Teachers across California and in New York City are being paid their full salary and benefits – in some cases for years – while education bureaucrats try to figure out if they are fit to teach.

From the Times, with my emphasis in bold.

Every school day, [Matthew] Kim’s shift begins at 7:50 a.m., with 30 minutes for lunch, and ends when the bell at his old campus rings at 3:20 p.m. He is to take off all breaks, school vacations and holidays, per a district agreement with the teacher’s union. At no time is he to be given any work by the district or show up at school.

He has never missed a paycheck.

In the jargon of the school district, Kim is being “housed” while his fitness to teach is under review. A special education teacher, he was removed from Grant High School in Van Nuys and assigned to a district office in 2002 after the school board voted to fire him for allegedly harassing teenage students and colleagues. In the meantime, the district has spent more than $2 million on him in salary and legal costs.

Last week, Kim was ordered to continue this daily routine at home. District officials said the offices for “housed” employees were becoming too crowded.

Do read the entire article at the Times’ Web site. It also includes a video report.

Why? Union contracts. Previously, these teachers were assigned duties that did not involve teaching students, but district officials are…

…prohibited from assigning chores under the contract with the teachers’ union. Although there is no specific reference in the contract to housed employees, an attorney for L.A. Unified pointed to Article 9, Section 4.0, which defines the “professional duties” of a teacher, such as instructional planning and evaluating the work of pupils.

With no mention of photocopying, stuffing envelopes or answering telephones in the contract, the district and union have interpreted this provision as prohibiting clerical duties.

“Why would we denigrate [teachers] by forcing them to do something they’re not supposed to do?” said A. J. Duffy, who is now president of UTLA, adding that housed teachers are entitled to a presumption of innocence.

Look, either they are fit to teach or not. If not, they should find another job.

Would this work in the private sector? Hell no, unless of course your backed by the United Auto Workers, they too seem to get paid for doing nothing. These union contracts are unsustainable and destroying the productivity of this country.

As Malkin says

Nice non-work if you can get it.

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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. Chas on May 7, 2009 at 4:23 am

    Comment in regards to the proposed policy in Suffolk County. One word. Can you say….MEXICO!

  2. skepticalcynic on May 8, 2009 at 10:56 am

    God, you guys just LOOOOVE hassling teachers. Pointing out that there are teachers who take advantage of a good deal really says NOTHING.  There are lousy lazy sorry excuse for human being in EVERY profession, doctors, lawyers, COPS, FIREMAN, yes EVEN INDIVIDUALS IN THE ARMED FORCES.  Lets see REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATS….uhmm writers, construction workers, engineers, state workers, city workers.  Enough with the teachers because you hate their union.  Every profession has its perks that seem unfair to those not eligible to them.  The good teachers I know work 6 days a week, 5 of them until 9 or 10 at night.  And they all know they got a good deal, so they give it their all. Give it up with hassling them already.

    • Steve McGough on May 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm

      Again we see a perfect example from skepticalcynic – he or she can't take the time to respond to the actual content of the post, so the standard procedure is to toss out the "you hate teachers and teacher unions" defense.

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