• The City or more precisely the NYC Department of Education is the horse’s ass on this one. They were the ones that wrote and signed the contract with the union that led to this perceived problem. And they were the ones who bungled a hearing before a body that is so notoriously pro-administration that said body is often called a “kangaroo court” by teachers who are accused of fabricated offenses yet receive dismissal from their jobs because there is an effort in DOE to get rid of older, higher paid, more experienced teachers under the “Fair Funding Program” See http://www.edpriorities.org/Info/CityBudget/Fair_Funding-WEB.pdf . Losing with a stacked deck and loaded dice is a feat that only City lawyers and administrators can do. They were the ones that failed to present their alleged “inside” information that this guy is a predator. Maybe there wasn’t any. Their only witness and evidence was:

    “A girl testified that Rosenfeld stopped at her locker, where she was standing with a friend, and ‘said I love him because I talk to him so much.'” [It is unclear who made this comment from the story]. But if that were the only evidence, suspending Rosenfeld for even a week without pay was too much. Maybe Rosenfeld is pissed and it gives him personal satisfaction to be an albatross around the neck of the DOE.

    Do you actually believe that Joel Klein based his decision to have “kept the scruffy 64-year-old in a Brooklyn rubber room, deeming him too dangerous to be near kids” on any legitimate investigation? Or was the decison made based on quadruple hearsay from his underlings trying to cover up their own incompetence in falsely charging Rosenfeld to begin with?

    The DOE [through Chancellor Klein] were the ones that sent this teacher to the “rubber room” instead of having him teach typing, or other gainful endeavor.

    Alan Rosenfeld seems to be making the most of a bad situation! Maybe the City should put all their competent teachers in the ‘rubber room’ to work on their own projects as the best use of their time. The tax income alone, and economic spillover from Rosenfeld’s direct investment in City situated property should offset his salary.

    The only thing that hurts the City, the DOE and its incompetent chancellor is the bottom line, especially when their follies are exposed in the NY Post in the wake of a financial meltdown in the public schools.

    The editors (and readers) of this blog painted Martha Coakley as an evil prosecutor (and I believe rightly so) when she or her ADAs presented evidence in a court of law that had the stink of taint. Here, with no evidence whatsoever, except a statement by a student that “I love him because I talk to him so much,” the editors jump on the NY Post’s bandwagon and vilify Alan Rosenfeld for refusing to cave into the DOE’s antics.

    Mr. Rosenfeld is not alone. As another person in the “rubber room” said: “If the City want’s to pay me my salary to read books, I’ll be happy to oblige; it sure beats teaching and getting hounded by the nincompoop illiterate principal who criticizes my English class lessons.”

  • Lost in all this insanity is the profound damage to children caused by this corrupt public teachers union.

  • I’ve not enough background to judge the details of VMS’s complaints, but it’s painfully obvious that the whole process is a bureaucratic nightmare.

    I come from Britain, not exactly a hot-bed of right-wing ideology, and principals can fire teachers in the same way that bosses can fire employees in any other job. Do you end up with some jerks firing people unjustly? Sure, but that’s the same as any other job, and we don’t set up complex systems to second-guess the decisions, we just accept it’s the price we pay for allowing bosses to lead.

  • When I asked to get an incompetent teacher fired out here in flyover country, I was told:

    “Yes, we know he is incompetent. But we have no grounds to get rid of him, and in two years he will have 33 years and he is going to retire.”

    33 years of incompetence!!!

    As least he wasn’t a pervert or anything, just incompetent.


    You hit the nail on the head- and I mean perfectly.

    Mr. Rosenfeld, Esq. and I shared the same table in the Chapel Street “Rubber Room” for over a year. He is a brilliant man who has been crucified, vilified and slandered by the NY POST at the behest of the Educationally uncredentialed faux Chancellor Joel Klein, Esq, to distract the public’s attention away from the failed policies and unbridled personal rampant corruption in the NYC Dept of Education.

    I ended up in the “Rubber Room” because I obeyed Federal, State and City Laws that require the immediate Reporting of corruption and a long laundry list of behavior deemed illegal within the NYC schools system. In short I became a Whistle-blower. I am still battling the NYC Dept of Education to this day

    Both I and attorney Rosenfeld are 64 years old and have both been in the schools system for over 40 years. In both our cases, our Pensions far exceed our contractual salaries. Indeed, in my case I am losing tens of thousands of dollars per year (after all taxes adjustments etc) by refusing to retire until my Lawsuits against the school system in US Federal Court are settled re Whistle-blower Retaliation that went on for 7 (seven years).

    It should be a point of great interest that the NY POST does not mention that people such as myself and the horribly victimized Mr. Rosenfeld are collectively saving the City a significant amount of money by NOT retiring. Saving the City money, NOT costing the City money.

    People tell me I am crazy to NOT retire but any person who has ever been criminally Railroaded and wronged understands why people such as Attorney Rosenfeld will not make Life easy for those who wronged us by disappearing meekly and quietly into the sunset. Why should we ?

    I am represented in my Federal Lawsuits by the brilliant former Micro-biologist and US Supreme Court Qualified Attorney, Dr. Joy Hochstadt, Esq. of Manhattan. (Attorneys and /or Reporters may contact her at 212-580-9930 for further information)

    Incidentally, I was personally Decorated by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a NY City Hall Ceremony as a TEACHER OF THE YEAR for Exceptional Achievement in Education. I designed, financed and built from the ground up- the first Medical Illustration program in America for Gifted “inner city”, at risk Minority High School students.

    But once I reported serious Federal Civil Rights violations in the NYC Dept of Education school system, the system came after me with a vengeance not observed in decades that borders on the Pathological.

    Google my name and learn what happens to Whistle-blowers in New York City. The Financial Times of London did just that and ended up running a full page First Person lead page article about my story in their FT Weekend Magazine Edition on January 2, 2010.


    Further information:

    For Those Interested In The Truth About New York City’s Rubber Rooms….

    I am that New York City Educator mentioned in Roy Edroso’s VILLAGE VOICE story who is charged with “bringing a plant to school” but that is not the real reason I was banished to one of New York City’s infamous Rubber Room gulags.

    These Big Apple “Guantanamos” which represent abominations that exist no where else in NY State, are being used more and more in New York City to retaliate against Whistle-blowers or teachers in general who expose corruption and/or mismanagement in the 23 Billion dollar New York City Dept/Board of Education.

    Under the Dictatorial reign of Mayor Bloomberg and the Faux Chancellor Joel Klein, Esq., (a former Federal Prosecutor, who had to have strings pulled in Albany to get appointed via a “Special Waiver”, since Klein lacked any of the normally required credentials for the position of Chancellor), the NYC Board of Education has increased its power and ability to intimidate its critics, exponentially.

    Although many people in the News media have written stories dealing with the Rubber Rooms, the clear bias towards the teachers sitting in the City’s legions of Rubber Rooms is always evident to any impartial reader.

    There is always that lingering insinuation and/or subtle, or not so subtle suggestion that while a few teachers may not belong in the Rubber Rooms, by and large, allegedly and supposedly, the vast majority of the hundreds and hundreds of teachers sent there, often for years, probably did “something” to deserve this Fate.

    In my case the reasons offered for my removal are so ludicrous, bordering on the preposterous, that one must actually attend one of my State Teacher Trial Hearings to believe that the charges even exist.

    Let me say here that I fully and openly confess to the “charge” I brought some plants to my school to decorate the lobby. But that is not the real reason I was removed from my position.

    Should anyone wish to know the real reason/s I was removed from my position, it is only necessary to visit the following website/s :






    There in the first website above, one will see a photograph of me being Decorated by the former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in New York’s City Hall, as a “Teacher of the Year” for “Exceptional Achievement in Education”. I had designed, built from the ground up, and personally funded, the first premiere Medical Illustration Program in the United States for gifted Minority students.

    The goal of the program was to serve as a launching pad to propel those students from socio-economically deprived backgrounds into Ivy League Universities and into careers including Medicine, as Physicians and research Scientists.

    The success of this unique program was such, that it attracted the attention of Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist, Clara Hemphill.

    But once I became a Whistle-blower the New York City Dept/Board of Education went after me with a vengeance not witnessed in decades and has led to multiple Federal Lawsuits against those responsible for the blistering amounts of Whistle-blower Retaliation that has been directed at me for the past 5 years.

    To see just a small example of what New York’s students are being deprived of please visit my personal website:


    I would welcome being contacted by Mr. Roy Edroso, who ranks among the few reporters who does not buy into all the smoke and mirror propaganda constantly put out by Chancellor Klein’s personal public relations machine stooges.

    Any member of the news media who is interested in getting the real story behind the skewed and embarrassingly slanted slurs and smears directed at the countless teacher/victims of the NYC Board of Education under Bloomberg and Klein, can with very little effort, explore and research the reality of what New York’s “Rubber Room” system is really all about and learn how these Rubber Room “reassignment centers” are used to bludgeon, retaliate against and crush any teacher who has the temerity to Whistle-blow and/or otherwise report corruption and/or wrongdoing of any kind, within the 23 billion dollar New York Dept/Board of Education.

    The building is situated directly across the street from the huge marbled and Palatial size, Tweed Courthouse, which is now the headquarters and seat of power from which a non- Education credentialed individual named Joel Klein, rules his vast 23 Billion dollar Public schools Empire – with an iron fist it should be noted.

    That immense edifice to the vast unbridled corruption and theft of Public resources, perpetrated by the notorious “Boss Tweed”, in the last Century, before he was finally hauled off to jail, is perhaps a fitting and perfect business address for today’s present NYC Board of Education.

    Klein and his willing lackeys and confederates are guilty of many ill conceived acts and decisions that have done incalculable harm to the dedicated Teachers, Parents and Public School children of our beloved City. But the tide is slowly turning and New Yorkers are starting to fight back.

    And Bravo and bravo encore for that because our Children are not for sale, not even to a Billionaire and his “Legend in his own Mind”, Faux Chancellor.

    Attend a former “Teacher of the Year” turned Whistle-blower’s Trial in April. See how your hard earned Tax Dollars are spent to crush dissent in a free Society.

  • I have no real opinion about the abilities of the teachers under discussion in this thread, but I do have a possibly illuminating story about the management of the New York City School Board,

    About twenty or thirty years ago I got a call from a friend who wanted to know where to buy school supplies. I asked him why and he told me that one of the secretaries in the office pool had seen Johnny Carson reading letters garnered from Operation Santa Claus, which takes the letters addressed to Santa Claus at the North Pole and makes them available for people to provide the gifts. My friend had found a letter from a kindergartener, to which had been stapled a letter from his teacher: they had no crepe paper, no paints, no scissors, all of the things which had been commonplace when I was a kindergartener. So we took the subway out to Brooklyn where the school supply stores were, got out and looked across the street to where the Board of Education was headquartered. There was no chalk for the children, but there were three limousines for the higher-ups of the Board of Education, run then by Robert Wagner Junior.

    We spent about $500 and went to the school on the Lower East Side. The student was thrilled to get his Christmas gift, but the teacher looked as if she believed in Santa Claus again.

    I am quite willing to believe that there are some awful teachers in the New York school system. I am quite willing to believe that the Union there is out of control. However, I am convinced that the school system is corrupt. And every year I take part in Operation Santa Claus.


  • To: Bob Lipton

    Dear Bob:

    Just read your comment and I am most impressed. Your extreme generosity has really touched my heart and I am certain all other people who are regular visitors to this website.

    People sometimes (but not nearly as often as they should), wonder where those 23 billion dollars that constitute the budget of the NYC Dept of Education, go.

    As someone who has taught in NYC schools for four decades I can assure you that a vast portion of those 23 billion dollars do not get spent on educating the more than one million, mostly socio-economically, at risk, inner city children in our City schools.

    If I gave you examples of how those billions of dollars disappear into a “Black Hole”, your mouth would drop and most people would say it is impossible to skim off that much money from a supposedly audited government budget.

    My response is just do some research on the subject of what the Iraqui “war” has cost to date and how much of that money actually ended up being used as intended.

    You know the drill. And as to those Dept of Education Limousines you observed when buying art supplies for inner city children- hold unto your seat. Enough of those 23 billion dollars disappears each year to create a ring of Limousines around the world.

    Nevertheless the Mayor of NYC has just announced that due to budget problems, the City may have to lay off 2,500 City Teachers with families to feed and rent to pay, (and children to teach).

    One is hard put to know if one should laugh or cry.

    But then isn’t all this the story of the world ?

    In the midst of all this massive corruption and theft, it is an honor and a priviledge to be reminded of the fact that there are still people like you in the world, Mr. Lipton.

    Long Life and Blessings on your generous Soul kind Sir.

    Kindest personal regards,

    David Pakter, NYC

  • It may be that Mr. Pakter and Mr. Rosenfeld have been unjustly treated. Neither Mr. Pakter nor VMS suggests that none of the teachers confined to the “rubber rooms” is incompetent or unfit, so the larger point made by this post and the NYPost seems to stand – this is an absurd way to deal with teachers who deserve to be fired.

  • It may be more of a liability issue in the case of Rosenfeld: now that the city has “warning,” it can’t ever risk letting him teach students ever again (even if the city thinks he’s entirely innocent), because any accusation that a jury believes in a civil suit would surely result in substantial punitive damages.

    In any event, it’s Rosenfeld’s fellow unionized teachers who perhaps have the most to complain about: if the union is insisting that the city spend $10M a year on teachers who the city wishes to fire, that’s $10M in salary that the union could have extracted that isn’t going to working teachers, because the union’s negotiators thought it more important to provide protections against being fired than to ensure that teachers maximize their wages.

    Even if Rosenfeld is entirely innocent and unjustly placed in the rubber room, it’s certainly problematic if he is using his time there to run outside businesses.

  • If I understand the prior comment by Ted Frank correctly, the purported injustice to Mr. Rosenfield is driven by the inability of “the system” to separate out frivolous charges – the zero tolerance effect combined with the “females are absolutely credible” silliness – together with the observed gross incompetence of American jurors.

    Certainly a Union has a duty to defend its members from injustices.

  • The Department of Education has a right to administratively reassign teachers — for a limited period of time and to an assignment commensurate with the dignity of the profession. That they regularly ignore this is a fact. However, realistically speaking, no judge in his or her right mind is going to be the one to order a teacher that could be a threat to children back into a classroom. As for the persecution of senior teachers — a neutral hearing officer’s decision that a teacher was guilty negates claims of discrimination — that, too, is the law.

  • I find the comments on this website to be written on an extremely high and erudite level so congratulations to one and all.

    If I may respond to Mr. Ted Frank’s comment above:
    “Even if Rosenfeld is entirely innocent and unjustly placed in the rubber room, it’s certainly problematic if he is using his time there to run outside businesses.”

    I spent an entire year sharing a table with Mr. Rosenfeld in the Brooklyn, Chapel Street Rubber Room. While many of the Teachers just read the newspaper of try to make the long day go by faster by playing cards or dominos or engaging in discussions, each Teacher has to get through the day as best he or she can.

    Teachers in a school are free to make calls between class assignments and on their breaks or at lunch time. Having sat with Mr. Rosenfeld on a daily basis for an entire year I can vouch for the fact that he used his cell phone no more than any teacher still at a school would do.

    What logic or sense would it make to prohibit this man from using his cell phone any way he chose. He did ask to be incarcerated for an insane decade or be given the “Life Sentence” meted out to him by a vengeful Chancellor who was/is in need of a Scapegoat to deflect the Public’s attention away from the massive failures of that same Chancellor.

    History is quite replete with Dictators selecting from the population, Scapegoats to manipulate the Public’s anger.

    I might add that during the year I sat next to this falsely alleged “dangerous” individual, I began writing down my experiences as a Whistle-blower under the present Regime, If this book/memoir/expose of rampant corruption and waste of Tax payer dollars is eventually published (which is a good possibility) will the NY POST vilify and crucify me also with the 42 Point Type Headline:

    “Former Teacher of the Year used his time in the Rubber Room to write Best Seller / Expose/ Personal Memoir”.

    Will I be referred to as a degenerate human being because my time spent in the Rubber Room later translated into huge Royalties ?

    Will I be required to surrender the Movie Rights and attendant profits to NYC or perhaps the Chancellor will claim a percentage since it was he who forced me to spend years in 4 (four) different Rubber Room gulags all over NYC.

    It is perfectly possible that the way I used my years in the Rubber Room will garner far more wealth than Mr Rosenfeld’s so-called Real Estate “Empire”. Imagine- now the POST would have its readers believe a few millions acquired over 30 years constitutes an Empire.

    I live just down the block from Mayor Bloomberg’s forty million dollar Limestone Mansion at 17 East 79th Street near Fifth Ave. To my knowledge if that were the Mayor’s sole real estate holding, I very much doubt anyone would accuse the Mayor of possessing or controlling a “Real Estate Empire”. And that Mansion is worth six times what my friend Alan Rosenfeld possesses, all of which houses in Queens may all carry huge Mortgages still to pay off.

    I very much appreciate being allowed to comment here and would certainly be interested in any and all reactions to what I have just stated above.

    Thanks in advance to those who wish to respond.

  • Uh—I’ll do whatever the hell I want in the rubber room. What–are we supposed to sit there with our hands folded and not move for seven hours like detention in Catholic School????? I didn’t ask to be put there–and did nothing to deserve it. And, yeah, if I want to write a best seller and self-publish and market it myself and make a million while I’m in there–I will so I can get the hell away from that sh**ty, corrupt system run by what seems to ironically be former Nazi war criminals. The people of the city should thank me for having ambition–as soon as I can afford it–I’m out of there–I’m not holding my breath for justice. Next time, people of NYC, don’t vote for such a schmuck for Mayor. Get your head out of your keesters!!!!

  • I didn’t think it possible for me to have less sympathy for the beneficiaries of union and taxpayer largess who get paid to sit in the rubber room, but the ludicrous sense of entitlement in the last two comments managed to do it. Talk about an echo chamber.

  • I must disagree with Ted Frank about whether the Rubber Room inmates have a right to use their time in whatever way they deem fit. I have a dear friend who has been persecuted for the past 20 years by his Garden State school district employers. He’s an award-winning educator, who always put kids and their parents first. Recently, the district escalated the struggle and suspended him without pay. He cannot even receive unemployment or look for other work for legitimate reasons I cannot enumerate. After witnessing my friend’s financial and psychological devastation, I say Bravo to those imprisoned educators who are trying to salvage an intolerable situation. I taught College English and Humanities for more than two decades, and I’m among the first to rail against ineffective teachers, who were paid plenty, while I always had to settle for scratching out a pathetic $20,000 a year gross income at various colleges/universities, teaching adjunct courses year round. I told my nearly illiterate students, most of whom lacked the most rudimentary core knowledge, to go back to their public schools and raise holy Hell. At the same time, I know from bitter experience, professional jealousy and fear often make the best teachers targets of administrators’ and colleagues’ wrath. Having a higher degree or writing one’s own courses seldom engenders admiration, but rather suspicion and dirty tricks. The public must wake up to these issues and work with the unions to reform the tenure system, as well as the woefully inadequate American curriculum, which relies all too heavily upon standardized tests. All the best to the innocent teachers trapped in the Rubber Rooms.

  • […] Angeles has trouble getting rid of problem teachers too [L.A. Weekly, Brian Doherty/KCET] Our post a couple of weeks ago about New York City’s “rubber room” stirred considerable […]

  • What EnragedEducator is describing is an argument for breaking up the public-school monopoly, rather than for sticking taxpayers with an expensive bill for teachers who spend their days running their own businesses.