In case you missed it: This American Life recently aired a brilliant radio story on “rubber rooms” peppered across each of NYC’s five bouroughs. While on probation, The New York City Department of Education send teachers to a “reassignment center” sometimes for several days or weeks, but in many cases for months or even years.

It’s a territorial, segregated, incredibly tense envorinment where, at their worst, teachers fight over chairs or who stole jelly out of the fridge. They sit for seven hours a day, receiving full salary while under investigation.

Some teachers are guilty as sin, either abusive or crazy. But others are banished to the rubber room without knowing why–a superior may hold a grudge or a student may falsely accuse a teacher of misconduct. So while the school system sorts out a lot of he said she said, there’s more than 500 teachers at a time waiting out their fates in the rubber room every day of the school year.

Some play cards, take Spanish class, gossip, or read. Some bring pillows and sleep.

You really have to listen to this story, it’s something else.

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