Tuesday, June 09, 2009

First cut of "The Rubber Room"

Greetings All,

Five Boroughs is pleased to announce that we have completed the first cut of our documentary The Rubber Room. We have been receiving a lot of emails over the last few months inquiring about the release of the film. Although we don’t have a specific date at present, we have never been closer. So to our eager audience we say thank you for your support and interest and just hang in there a little longer!

Although the editing process is not quite complete, we are looking for some help from those of you who have had the unfortunate experience of being reassigned to the Rubber Room. So, we are putting out an APB! We would love to review any photos or videos from inside the Rubber Room for potential use in the documentary. Some people have already provided us with some invaluable images from inside the Teacher Reassignment Centers, which has really proven to elevate the quality of the film. Although we will not be able to provide financial compensation for the usage of such images, proper consideration will be given (if desired) to any individuals providing materials used in the final version of the film.

We are specifically looking for images (photo or video) inside the Rubber Room. More specifically, individuals engaged in everyday activities, images that demonstrate the conditions of the room, or simply images that convey the space in which working professionals are being kept. Also, please be assured that considerations can be made for concealing the identities of any persons appearing in, or providing the images.

To this point, this has been a real grassroots project that would not have been possible without the participation, generosity, and courage of people who have been reassigned. We are calling out to you once more to really help make this project a success!

All digital content can be emailed to me at jeremygarrett@rubberroommovie.com.

Jeremy Garrett
Executive Producer
Five Boroughs Productions


Peter Eisen said...

As an retired educator with forty- one (41) years in the system, twenty-eight (28) as a supervisor, I am familiar with the operation of the "rubber room." My first expose being in the High School Superintendent's offices and later following the elimination of the school district offices.

Over the years part of my role involved representing the administration at labor relations, appeals and review, PERB, and at arbitration. I am concerned that this documentary presents a balanced and accurate insight into the rubber room and its current retainees.

In the past, residence of the rubber room consisted of individuals who were brought up on charges that required them to be removed from the classroom or their school entirely. These individuals as well as current similiar individuals are entitled to a quick resolution of the charges against them (for their sake, that of the taxpayers as well as the students). This was not, and has not been the case and certainly should be the main focus of your story. One must keep in mind that in many cases these individuals have been, or will be proven guilty of the allegations just as others will be declared innocent.

In today's "business oriented" school environment where the Bloomberg model of funding schools is based on dollars rather than units, another problem has surfaced. With principal's directly in charge of the school's budget based on dollars, the cost of a veteran teacher in some cases is double that of an inexperienced teacher. This has resulted in veteran teachers being assigned to the rubber room rather than the classroom, to the detriment of the student. It must be recognized that the teacher's union has failed its senior members in allowing this to take place. The concept of seniority and retention rights to a position seems to have faded away.

Everyone is entitled to their "day in court." This day should take place as promptly as possible and certainly should be highlighted in your production.

The NYC educational system should insist on making use of the most qualified dedicated teachers that are available without considering the payroll consequences. This should be an important part of your documentary.

Rachel Grynberg said...

I agree and I want to add that I found the trailer disturbing because it seems to use the possibility of guilt as the "hook" and not the horrible injustice of the system overall.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned that the first responder is completely out of the loop as far as the use of rubber rooms today. Quite simply they are a dumping ground for educators out of favor with principals for a number of reasons ranging from salary, age, personality, teaching style to minor infractions to serious offenses.
The rubber rooms have become an expedient location and destination for these teachers. Using them, a principal can remove a teacher from the classroom without due process.
There is absolutely no good faith reason for dumping teachers into the opressive climate of rubber rooms for extended stays. Clearly, they are meant to punish and inconvenience teachers. Further clearly, this is done in hopes the teacher will leave the system.
Of course this transparent circumvention of tenure protection, like other attempted circumventions of the past, is not working and will not work. The vast majority of teachers will return to the classroom and their pupils will suffer for it.
3020a regulations do NOT suggest removing teachers from classrooms as part of the disciplinary process. This is part of the DOE whim and method and must be exposed. Hopefully, the movie will show it by focusing on those accused of the most minor and nonsensical transgressions (buying potted plants for the school for example). Workplace bullying and employer harassment of employees is a serious issue and one for the UFT to combat!

LI Educator

Anonymous said...

Actually, I completely agree with the first responder. My typos and misunderstanding notwithstanding!

LI Educator