Public schools

California Public School Students Suing Against Teacher Tenure

State DOE says nothing in the law prevents districts from removing bad teachers

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get on the bus
Colin/Wikipedia

An interesting lawsuit went to non-jury trial in a Los Angeles court room yesterday; nine public school students, with the support of an educational non-profit called "Students Matter," are suing the state of California over teacher tenure laws and other protections, which they argue prevent school administrators from removing dysfunctional teachers from the system. To skeptics of the eternally optimistic apologists of the government school system, the argument seems pretty open and shut. Tenure and the other public employee protections (which public unions call "due process" as if their jobs were rights and not privileges) make it difficult to remove teachers even in some of the most egregious cases. In 2012, LA Weekly reported the city's school district had 300 teachers in the "rubber rooms," where teachers go after they've been removed from the classroom but before they've had their "due process." According to LA Weekly, the average teacher spends 127 days hanging out in the rubber room, collecting full salary and benefits while "allegations" against them are investigated. It's a system that's pretty recognizably rigged in favor of the teacher and not the student, whose education can be severely handicapped by just one lousy teacher in one school year.

Nevertheless, the teachers union in California argues that teacher protections benefit students. Via Fox News Latino:

The California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers intervened and asked the court to throw out the lawsuit filed against the state, including the Department of Education, Gov. Jerry Brown and Superintendent of Public Education Tom Torlakson.

"It is deceptive and dishonest to pretend that teacher due process rights are unfair to students," said California Federation of Teachers President Josh Pechthalt, the parent of a ninth-grade student in the Los Angeles Unified School District. "Students need a stable, experienced teaching workforce. They won't have one if this lawsuit succeeds in gutting basic teacher rights."

So, teachers have more job security even though when they fail to do their jobs they risk the life-long income earning potentials of their students because that job security creates a stable workforce for them. It's a bizarre assertion that a labor organization meant to protect the financial interests of teachers as employees could somehow also protect the educational interests of students. Talk about decepitve. The judge rejected the union's motion to dismiss the case.

Over the weekend, the California Department of Education released a statement insisting there was "nothing in the law" that prevents districts "from removing teachers from the classroom when necessary." The students who have brought the matter to court, and their parents, disagree. That those who profit off the educational bureaucracy don't is no surprise.

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  1. At will employment, motherfuckers.

  2. But the school administrators are all Ex-Teachers. How do we remove the incompetent and abusive administrators?

  3. On the surface, the legal basis for this lawsuit seems pretty thin.

    1. A lot of state constitutions have rights to education in them, and I’m guessing that is the legal basis for this one. Doesn’t seem too crazy. It survived a motion to dismiss.

  4. “It is deceptive and dishonest to pretend that teacher due process rights are unfair to students,” said California Federation of Teachers President Josh Pechthalt, the parent of a ninth-grade student in the Los Angeles Unified School District. “Students need a stable, experienced teaching workforce. They won’t have one if this lawsuit succeeds in gutting basic teacher rights.”

    How could anybody say something so egregiously mendacious and not be struck by lightning?

    1. Because there is no God.

      1. Maybe God is part of the teacher’s union?

  5. Over the weekend, the California Department of Education released a statement insisting there was “nothing in the law” that prevents districts “from removing teachers from the classroom when necessary.” The students who have brought the matter to court, and their parents, disagree. That those who profit off the educational bureaucracy don’t is no surprise.

    Party A and Party B colluding to disadvantage and rob Party C. What the nation has come to.

  6. “It is deceptive and dishonest to pretend that teacher due process rights are unfair to students,” said California Federation of Teachers President Josh Pechthalt, the parent of a ninth-grade student in the Los Angeles Unified School District. “Students need a stable, experienced teaching workforce. They won’t have one if this lawsuit succeeds in gutting basic teacher rights.”

    If they wanted the opinion of a parent of a ninth-grade student in the LA Unified School District, why go to the president of the California Federation of Teachers?

    The fact that someone who should know better is willing to send his own child through the grinder so as not to reflect badly on the California Federation of Teachers’ leadership doesn’t necessarily mean that he genuinely cares about the children in the LA Unified School District.

    It might mean he cares more about how the California Federation of Teachers looks than he cares about his own…

    1. I’m sure he lives in a nice area. He doesn’t have that much to worry about.

  7. How the fuck do you get “due process” in your job?

    1. Become a teacher, cop, prison guard, or firefighter.

  8. “It is deceptive and dishonest to pretend that teacher due process rights are unfair to students,” said California Federation of Teachers President Josh Pechthalt, the parent of a ninth-grade student in the Los Angeles Unified School District. “Students need a stable, experienced teaching workforce. They won’t have one if this lawsuit succeeds in gutting basic teacher rights.”

    I think Josh is conflating administrative process privileges gained through coercion/bargaining with due process, which is owed prior to government attempts to deprive a citizen of life, liberty, or property.

    It’s a common mistake idiots make.

    1. Well Josh Pechthalt does sound like the name of an abject retard.

  9. How the fuck do you get “due process” in your job?

    Simple. You “negotiate” a contract which requires all employment disputes to go to arbitration before an arbitrator who will vote in the employee’s favor, and command that he/she be returned to work with back pay.

  10. I have the same question about the LEO Bill of Rights in FL. How do you get extra privileges written into law without violating the 14th and 15th Amendments?

    1. How do you get extra privileges written into law without violating the 14th and 15th Amendments?

      FYTH – Fuck You, That’s How.

  11. Remember the teacher who spoon fed his semen to his blindfolded students and it was all caught on film? They had to pay him to resign.

    How is that a stable workforce?

    1. How is that a stable workforce?

      Well, he had been doing it to students from several classes, over several years. So…stable!

    2. “Students need a stable, experienced semen-serving workforce. They won’t have one if this lawsuit succeeds in gutting basic teacher rights to feed semen to the student body.”

  12. While it’s a laudable attempt to undo some of the problems with public school, the fact is this won’t matter.

    The only way to solve the problem of public school is for everyone to pull their kids out. IT WILL NEVER GET BETTER. It can’t. So stop trying and just pull your kids out. Homeschool, charters, and private school are all viable for everyone except the very poorest. Most private schools give ridiculous financial aid if you are poor. There is no reason to have your kids in a public school.

    1. It is almost as if you can’t collectivize human learning. Obviously, you can you just have to place the right Top. Men. in charge and then Centrally Plan the curricula for several tens of millions of individuals. Just a little more polish….

  13. Mayor C. Randall Poopenmayer: Professor Wernstrom, can you save my city?

    Professor Ogden Wernstrom: Of course, but it’ll cost you. First, I’ll need tenure.

    Mayor C. Randall Poopenmayer: Done.

    Professor Ogden Wernstrom: And a big research grant.

    Mayor C. Randall Poopenmayer: You got it.

    Professor Ogden Wernstrom: Also, access to a lab, and five graduate students, at least three of them Chinese.

    Mayor C. Randall Poopenmayer: All right, done. What’s your plan?

    Professor Ogden Wernstrom: What plan? I’m set for life. Au revoir, suckers!

    Leela: That rat! Do something!

    Mayor C. Randall Poopenmayer: I wish I could, but he’s got tenure.

    1. Wernstrom!

  14. Just wandered across Reason.com…seems like the conversations are emotional rather than reasonable…

    1) A reasonable response to seeing a neighbor rebuild his house with insurance money is to say, “I should get some of that insurance stuff.” A reasonable response to seeing another human protected from arbitrary and capricious termination by a vindictive administrator is to say, “We should all get that kind of due process…” If something is unfair or unequal, why try to pull everyone down instead of fighting to bring the miserable, at-will slave laborers up to a certain level of dignified labor?

    2) And what, in general, is this mad race to the 19th century? If some occupations have vestiges of those rights that were at one time more generally enjoyed, why is it the voices of the miserable, at-will masses fighting one another for ever lower wages and ever less security that are calling for the dubious “fairness” of equal misery for all…

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