Closing the educational gulag

An end is near to one of the most bizarre practices in the history of public education in America. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city’s teachers’ union announced a deal to close the infamous “rubber rooms,” where teachers who are accused of wrongdoing are sent to live out their working lives by sitting in a room all day, sometimes for years.

The deal expands the list of charges for which school officials can suspend teachers without pay to include violent felony crimes. Those who aren’t suspended will be given administrative work to do.

Public Radio’s “This American Life” presented a segment on the rubber rooms in 2008.

The timing of today’s announcement is curious. The premiere of the movie, The Rubber Room, is tomorrow.