In a troubling, but not unprecedented example of the abuses that come with radical teacher unions, the Associated Press reports that 700 public school teachers in New York City are enjoying full salaries of $70,000 to not teach:
Hundreds of New York City public school teachers accused of offenses ranging from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid their full salaries to sit around all day playing Scrabble, surfing the Internet or just staring at the wall, if that's what they want to do.
Because their union contract makes it extremely difficult to fire them, the teachers have been banished by the school system to its "rubber rooms" — off-campus office space where they wait months, even years, for their disciplinary hearings.
The 700 or so teachers can practice yoga, work on their novels, paint portraits of their colleagues — pretty much anything but school work. They have summer vacation just like their classroom colleagues and enjoy weekends and holidays through the school year.
With the economy continuing to struggle and local and state governments facing budget shortfalls, the "rubber room" program's hefty $65 million per year bill to the taxpayers raises serious questions -- even putting aside the institutional problems of a compulsory unionism system that prevents individual teachers from discussing terms of employment with principals and school boards.
Let me see if I understand teacher union bosses' priorities correctly. Teachers exercising their right to refrain from union membership? A fireable offense. Sexual misconduct? $70,000 a year and a free place to hang out and play board games. Shameless.