NYC teacher making $100K in rubber room refuses to retire
posted at 4:38 pm on January 29, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
How broken is the educational system in New York City? Broken enough that a 66-year-old teacher relegated to one of the city’s “rubber rooms” after being deemed a danger to his students refuses to leave. To add insult to injury, the teacher, Alan Rosenfeld, is still pulling down $100,049 a year in salary, plus health benefits, a growing pension, and vacation and sick pay. Oh, and he’s worth a cool $10 million.
Because there is no mandatory retirement age for teachers in New York State, the city Department of Education has no recourse but to let Rosenfeld stay as long as he likes.
And he likes. The New York Post quotes a friend of Rosenfeld as saying of his refusal to quit:
It’s an F-U. He’s happy about it, and very proud that he beat the system. This is a great show-up-but-don’t-do-anything job.
The city has only itself to blame. Rosenfeld was accused in 2001 of making lewd comments to students and ogling eighth-grade girls’ behinds. These were grounds for dismissal that even the powerful American Federation of Teachers would have had a tough time defending.
But the DOE failed to produce enough witnesses at a hearing to make the charges stick. The only choices available were to return Rosenfeld to the classroom or send him to a rubber room. Officials opted for the latter and Rosenfeld—a licensed attorney and real-estate broker—continued to draw a paycheck from the city while enriching himself by managing a portfolio of lucrative investment properties.
After the DOE closed down its rubber rooms in 2010, Rosenfeld was permanently reassigned to a Division of School Facilities warehouse in Long Island City, Queens, where he is asked to do occasional light clerical work. But even that has not been sufficient to unseat Rosenfeld whose pension grows by $1,700 annually. If he quit today at full retirement, his pension would total around $85,400 a year.
The paper quotes Marcus Winters, a Manhattan Institute expert on teacher evaluation, as saying:
It’s a tremendous waste of money. While we don’t want to remove people just because they’ve been accused, we also want the school system to cut ties with teachers it’s not going to put in the classroom.
Rosenfeld is currently one of six hangers-on in a broken system that is draining $650,000 a year from the city coffers.
What makes the situation even more outrageous is that, according to the education reform documentary Waiting for “Superman,” one out of every 57 doctors loses his license to practice medicine and one out of every 97 lawyers loses his license to practice law. But in New York City between the years 2007 and 2010, just 88 out of some 80,000 city schoolteachers lost their jobs for poor performance.
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