"Teacher jail" in Los Angeles now "jail teacher" in NYC

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Intimidation of US teachers has become truly chilling. Denver has a "do not hire" list on which any school employee can be placed by any supervising administrator. Los Angeles, like New York City, can assign a school employee to what LA teachers have referred to as "teacher jail," and NYC the "rubber room."  School employees are sent to a room where they are not permitted to do anything productive, languishing while the administration drags its feet in pursuing claims of misconduct, hoping the teachers will be worn out and quit.

But now New York  City's Department of Education has started jailing, yes, jailing teachers who file complaints about corruption or even question what appears to be an impropriety. Judges are, of course, throwing out these bogus "harrassment" charges, but at least two teachers have been arrested and spent the night in jail.

What other evidence do we about the importance of due process and tenure for teachers? And how could teachers unions, characterized so often by the media as "powerful," allow this to occur?  When teachers can no longer protect their right of free speech, they cannot protect children's safety or right to learn to think critically.  If elected officials of New York City teachers union (UFT) are unwilling or unable to use their political influence to stop this and won't organize teachers in the schools to create a union presence that will protect teachers from this kind of outrageous abuse, UFT honchos should step down and let others use union resources to do what's needed. No excuses!

About Author
LOIS WEINER is an independent researcher and consultant on teacher union transformation. She is a member of the New Politics editorial board.
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