Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I Could Do A Job Like This

NewsAlert points to this story about Los Angeles teachers who get paid not to teach. Their statuses are in some sort of limbo; New York's "rubber rooms" also get a mention in the story.

For seven years, the Los Angeles Unified School District has paid Matthew Kim a teaching salary of up to $68,000 per year, plus benefits.

His job is to do nothing.

Every school day, Kim's shift begins at 7:50 a.m., with 30 minutes for lunch, and ends when the bell at his old campus rings at 3:20 p.m. He is to take off all breaks, school vacations and holidays, per a district agreement with the teacher's union. At no time is he to be given any work by the district or show up at school.

He has never missed a paycheck.

In the jargon of the school district, Kim is being "housed" while his fitness to teach is under review. A special education teacher, he was removed from Grant High School in Van Nuys and assigned to a district office in 2002 after the school board voted to fire him for allegedly harassing teenage students and colleagues. In the meantime, the district has spent more than $2 million on him in salary and legal costs.

Last week, Kim was ordered to continue this daily routine at home. District officials said the offices for "housed" employees were becoming too crowded.

No, they can't be assigned "office jobs" because the union's interpretation of their contract forbids such work.

I wonder how Michelle Rhee handles this situation in DC.


Anonymous said...

"I could do a job like this"? I couldn't. A man needs to be useful, sitting around and getting paid for doing nothing would drive me crazy.

Darren said...

I enjoy all the time I have during the summer, and I'm not even getting paid then. But I do concede your point.

maxutils said...


mazenko said...

This is nothing but a glaring example of a poorly managed, poor administrated, poorly run district. Administrators are, or in theory should be, paid to manage their school which, first and foremost, means their employees.

How sad.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Well then public education seems to be poorly managed, poorly administered and poorly run as it's basic mode of operation since the "rubber room" phenomenon can be found in every large, metropolitan school district and probably many smaller districts as well.

The "rubber room" is an inevitable result of the structure of public education and has little to nothing to do with the quality of management.

mazenko said...

Some districts have no need of rubber rooms because they effectively deal with personnel, and they have the success rate to prove it.

In some districts, tenured and union teachers are regularly dismissed for misconduct and ineffectiveness. Those are well well run models. Most, sadly, don't do this because it appears management is a much rarer quality than we expect.