Educational Links

Can there be any doubt that The New Yorker is among the top five magazines in the United States? What a feat to put out a product of that quality every week! My laudatory words are justified by most every issue, but a particular story has inspired them today: the excellent Steven Brill piece on “rubber rooms” in New York City. These are the places that teachers go to collect full pay for doing nothing as they await performance hearings.

The most egregious practices:

— On average teachers spend 3 years in the rubber rooms before their cases are resolved.
— The actual adjudication process often takes longer than a criminal trial.
— Arbitrators are reluctant to dismiss even those teachers who’ve been found incompetent by the process.
— This is because arbitrators, who are handsomely paid for their work, must be re-approved annually by the teacher’s union.
— The union contract “dictates every minute of the six hours, fifty-seven and a half minutes of a teacher’s work day, including a thirty-seven-and-a-half-minute tutorial/preparation session and a fifty-minute “duty free” lunch period. It also inserts a union representative into every meaningful teacher-supervisor conversation.”
— New York City pays 1700 teachers who aren’t in the classroom at all.

Read the whole thing. And also see these excellent thoughts on merit pay offered by Matt Yglesias and Megan McArdle, who dispute the merit-less argument that those who advocate it are anti-teacher.