Saturday, May 10, 2014

That There Was A Fight About This At All Tells You All You Need To Know About Politics and the Teachers Union in California

From the major Sacramento newspaper:
Passing a teacher termination law, as Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan has learned, can also take a long time.

For the third consecutive year, the California Legislature will contemplate legislation expediting the appeals process for fired teachers. Last year, Buchanan’s teacher dismissal bill revived late in the session only to end its odyssey with a veto from Gov. Jerry Brown.

The dynamics have since shifted. The California Teachers Association has buoyed Buchanan’s latest effort by embracing a fast lane for teachers accused of the most horrific offenses. It carves out a distinct category of “egregious misconduct,” which includes abusing or molesting students and certain drug crimes like dealing to kids. Those appeals would jump to the front of the line and go before a judge, rather than a three-person panel comprising a judge and two teachers...

Assembly Bill 215 requires those proceedings to start sooner, consolidates document filing and seeks to rein in common snags like evidence discovery and putting together the three-person hearing panel.

But the significance of the compromise lies in the new procedure for egregious misconduct. In past years, the union has opposed a separate process for such cases. In 2012, Sen. Alex Padilla floated a bill making it easier to dismiss child molesters and abusers by putting those cases before a single judge, rather than the current three-person panel. The union strenuously objected, and Padilla’s bill perished in committee.

“The Legislature must balance administrative efficiency against fairness to teachers,” the union’s opposition letter stated.

Now the CTA has joined forces with EdVoice, an organization that usually plays the role of the union’s ideological adversary, to back a bifurcated process. EdVoice had put pressure on the union by introducing a ballot initiative creating a separate process to fire teachers who abuse kids or sell them drugs.

EdVoice has since dropped the ballot measure, titled the “Stop Child Molesters, Sexual Abusers and Drug Dealers from Working in California Schools Act,” though it plans to reintroduce it if Buchanan’s bill fails...

Individual school administrators lauded Buchanan’s recent breakthrough, which they say will help them jettison the worst teachers. But they said those shocking cases tend to be easier to bring and win. They express frustration about resolving the more ambiguous unsatisfactory performance category: school employees who have not committed a clearly repugnant offense but are simply not effective teachers.
I guess you can say it's a start, but you have to wonder why it's taken so much effort to get such a small concession from the CTA.

1 comment:

maxutils said...

If a teacher is molesting a student, why not just let a criminal trial take care of it? A criminal conviction would take care of the problem. If not convicted ... then there isn't enough evidence to believe that it happened. I obviously would not support child molestation ... but there have been way too many cases of recanted testimony, or malicious accusations to make me comfortable with a hurried administrative hearing. What should happen? Get the accused teacher on administrative leave, and out of the classroom...then get him, or her (although it seems that female teachers engaging in statutory rape face a different standard) to trial. Then, have a bill which say that if you are convicted, you're fired. Seems logical to me ...