Yesterday, the New York Post reported on the city’s so-called ‘rubber rooms,’ which warehouse public school employees who have been accused of wrongdoing:

For seven hours a day, five days a week, hundreds of Department of Education employees – who’ve been accused of wrongdoing ranging from buying a plant for a school against the principal’s wishes to inappropriately touching a student – do absolutely no work….
…The Post has learned that the number of salaried teachers sitting idly waiting for their cases to be heard has exploded to 757 this year – more than twice the number just two years ago – at a cost of about $40 million a year, based on the median teacher salary.

This story highlights just one of the problems facing New York City’s public school system. According to a recent estimate, the NYC high school graduate rate was below 40 percent. Surely most would agree the $40 million currently being spent to pay teachers and other employees while they fill out crossword puzzles could be put to better use.

But there is a new reason for hope in the Empire State. Soon-to-be Governor David Paterson is considered a strong supporter of parental choice in education. If more families in the state had the opportunity to choose their school, and more school principles were given the power to become CEOs of their schools, “rubber rooms” wouldn’t be necessary. Here’s hoping that Gov. Paterson continues to champion school choice reforms.