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Whistleblower Teacher Barred From Filming Dull Days in 'Rubber Room'

The teacher had been streaming his boring days online in an effort to expose the city's "rubber rooms," where teachers are put on administrative duty.

The Department of Education has barred teachers from using electronics in the “rubber room,” after one filmed days where he would do nothing and still take home his $75,000 salary, according to the New York Post.

IS 49 teacher Francesco Portelos set up his tablet to stream video online and let viewers watch him idly play on a laptop for hours in an Ozone Park, Queens, conference room where he was put on "administrative duty."

After the incident, officials told him not to bring any computer equipment into the building, and gave him science lesson plans to work on.

“I’m an educator. I need to be back in the classroom, and not in a conference room doing lesson plans,” Portelos told the Post.

The teacher was pulled from the classroom in April after administrators at his Staten Island school accused him of misconduct, though he still earns a $75,000 salary waiting in the rubber room. Portelos believes the charges are retaliation after he accused an IS 49 administrator of double dipping – collecting overtime from the city while getting paid by an outside agency.

“We are taking action to address this situation,” a DOE spokeswoman told the Post, when asked about Portelos’ live stream.

Larry October 10, 2012 at 04:43 PM
The "rubber room" is an outrage but since you can't just fire inadequate teachers, whatchagonna do? The city, the schools, the hospitals are a bottomless pit of wasted money? : "Always look for the Union label."
Christina October 10, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I thought the "rubber room" was dealt with. There has got to be a zero tolarance at the DOE for teachers who's performance is not satisfactory. I understand the impact the unions have in the work place there has got to be a better solution. Teachers are being rewarded for their bad behavior. My son has two more years in this system and I'm working hard to make sure he graduates on time becasue I can't. I know many people who are teachers so to them I apologize for saying this but they need to collapse the system and be done with it and give vouchers to families so that they can send their kids to private schools or charter (that are free). Those teachers placed in the "rubber room" should have their salary and benefits cut in half. This will give them the incentive to be mindful of their actions. I know kids today come with many challenges making the teachers job just as challenging. My daughter attended public school prek-HS (currently in college) and my son currently 10 grader in public school. I've seen the changes from the time my daughter went to school to when my son entered. I could have put him in Charter schools but I don't support it wholeheartly but I am getting pretty annoyed at the Public Educational system it's teaching to cram for tests and not preparing life learners. What's the solution??? Parents need to get more involved I can't stress this enough.
Sonia October 10, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I wonder if he did all he could to seek additional work before posting a video of him idling away the time (not accusing, just wondering) People seem more than content to talk more about what work they don't have, and how bored they are than talk to someone about what else they could be doing.
Betsy Combier October 10, 2012 at 09:43 PM
The whole rubber room idea is, in NYC, not based on fact, but whim. Bloomberg needed to get rid of tenure, so he gave principals the right to point a finger at someone and say he or she was guilty of ____, and boom - this person is out. Then, no one with any kind of experience takes this employee's place! Kids are not benefiting from this process, and we need to keep excellent teachers like Francesco in the classroom until PROVEN, by a preponderance of evidence, guilty of misconduct.
Francesco Portelos October 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM
@Christina. So I'm guilty until proven innocent? This is a fraction of what I taught before I caught them misusing your tax dollars. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHbwGVwUXBk& See the story here at protectportelos.org

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