By Dennis Romero, LA Weekly Blog
Tuesday, Feb. 16 2010 @ 6:03AM -- A teacher who posts regularly about his experience at the Los Angeles Unified School District on the blog perdaily wrote recently that he's one of the latest at the education system to be told he could stay home and still collect his paycheck as officials there decide the fate of possible discipline against him.
The teacher alleges that he's been kicked out of LAUSD facilities because he's been blogging from them: "I have to get up at 7:30 a.m. Monday-Friday and call [a district supervisor] -- then spend the day at home -- and call her again between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., for this I will receive my regular salary at the top of the LAUSD pay scale until LAUSD tells me otherwise. All this because I continued to blog from the rubber room."
The post indicates, however, that the teacher was already being paid not to teach. The LAUSD had apparently run out of room to house allegedly problem-prone teachers it had pulled from class -- so it started sending them home. The district's cost of paying teachers not to teach is $10 million a year. This comes at a time when the LAUSD is in a contentious battle with the teacher's union over budget cuts and a possible compression of the school year.
Only last week, LA Weekly reported about how hard it was for the district to fire low-performing teachers -- it spent $3.5 million just trying to fire seven of its 33,000 teachers -- and that district officials and principals have all but given up trying.
The quagmire recalls a similar situation in New York City schools, where even more teachers are sent home and paid not to teach. The Aug. 31 issue of The New Yorker had a fascinating look at the Big Apple's bad-teacher problems.