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Radio Diaries

The Rubber Room

The New York City public school system is huge. More than a million students, all being taught by 75,000 teachers. Except, a few hundred of those teachers are being paid NOT to teach. These are teachers who are accused of misconduct. Often without warning, they’re removed from their classrooms and sent to a Department of Education reassignment center. Teachers call it: “The Rubber Room.”

The truth is, some of these teachers haven’t done anything wrong. And sometimes they don’t even know why they’ve ended up in the Rubber Room. But the worst part is that teachers can remain there for years while their cases slowly creep through the system. Not guilty, not innocent… just doing time. In 2010, the NYC Department of Education made an agreement with the Teachers Union to close the Rubber Room. Turns out, that hasn’t been so easy.

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