by John Hawkins | February 8, 2010 1:58 pm
It’s a never ending cycle in this country: You point out that the public schools are doing a lousy job, they claim to be underfunded, they’re given a lot more money, a few years later people point out that the public schools are still doing a lousy job, and the whole cycle repeats. Yet, if you point out that the schools are doing a terrible job of using the money they have, you hear sad stories about how teachers can’t afford notebooks or erasers for their classrooms.
Of course, you never hear about how much money is being wasted on administrative costs and because of ridiculous union rules. For example, look at the case of Francisco Olivares:
Three strikes and he wasn’t out.
At the beginning of his 32-year career as a math teacher in Queens, Francisco Olivares allegedly impregnated and married a 16-year-old girl he had met when she was a 13-year-old student at his Corona junior high, IS 61, The Post learned.
He sexually molested two 12-year-old pupils a decade later and another student four years after that, the city Department of Education charged.
But none of it kept Olivares, 60, from collecting his $94,154 salary.
He hasn’t set foot in a classroom in seven years since beating criminal and disciplinary charges. Chancellor Joel Klein keeps Olivares in a “rubber room,” a district office where teachers accused of misconduct sit all day with nothing to do.
The DOE insists it can’t get rid of him. “The department’s hands are tied by state law and union rules,” said spokeswoman Ann Forte.
She said tenured teachers can be fired only if an arbitrator approves.
“The department twice tried to terminate this teacher, and both times, an arbitrator decided to keep him on the payroll,” she said.
Most of the 660 rubber-room teachers on the city payroll are awaiting disciplinary proceedings, but Klein has exiled “a handful” of duds like Olivares even though they have been legally cleared to return to class.
His salary is $94,154 and he hasn’t taught in seven years. Instead, he has been sitting around in a room, with 660 other teachers, twiddling their thumbs and doing nothing. Gee, how many erasers, notebooks, and school supplies could be bought with the money these teachers are being paid to do absolutely nothing?
You know what would really improve our public schools? Dumping the unions, their rubber rooms, and their “put the children’s education last” attitude.
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