A recent L.A. Weekly article “addressed” the “problem” of getting rid of “bad” teachers. (see link below)
As someone who retired from LAUSD with disability retirement after trying to get the most minimal of accommodations for my dis-ability and facing incredible harassment for such a request;
As someone who requested basic accommodations, found ways to make the whole proposal cost free for the District while offering to fill high need hard to staff areas of education, (bilingual special ed) and fully aware that if I had merely kept my mouth shut, showed Disney movies, gave out busy work, and gave all my students C’s, then I would have had no problem with the same administration, but only had a problem when requesting the resources to do my job well.
As someone who NEVER had a bad evaluation, had several outstanding evaluations, and wrote and received several grants and coordinated several school wide programs;
As someone who filed and won approx 30 grievances against the district for collective and individual violations of the contract, never observing any consequences, reassignments, discipline etc against these principals for such wanton rights violations;
As someone who observed and confronted gross misuse of school funds and a crony system that favored mediocrity and obedience over dedication and commitment to teaching;
As someone who used tenure to defend and advocate for students and the community and teachers, against the will of the administration;
As someone who ONLY KNEW ONE ADMINISTRATOR who went after bad teachers– with the full support of the highly unionized faculty. (I consider her the best administrator I worked with);
As someone who observed administrators go after activists, whistle blowers, community, educator, worker and student advocates while perpetuating or ignoring sexual harassment, sexual abuse, hate speech, racism, sexism, dis-ability discrimination etc. both by staff and students;
As someone who graduated magna cum laude, is bilingual in English and Spanish, continues to study and to teach, is a life long activist and writer;
I find it hard to believe that:
1. Michael Kim, a man with cerebral palsy, who neurologically can’t control his hands, is the best example of the district trying to defend the rights of staff and students against sexual harassment and gropping!
More to point, the District doesn’t WANT dis-abled teachers. This whole case was totally offensive and outrageous, and should be transparent; a perfect example of how dis-ability discrimination is used to take us all down, to set a pretext for greater rights violations.
2. the present administration is able to select the appropriate teachers for dismissal– which of course would explain why it is so hard to fire the teachers the district is trying to fire. It is quite possible that very few of these people should be fired and the ones that need to go are comfortably doing the principal’s bidding!!!
3 given that the City of Los Angeles decided NOT to fire a single cop for beating up press and community members for the May Day demonstration a few years back, wonders what city employees ARE doing that warrants (“the easy” removal from their positions.
4. there are only bad teachers and not bad administrators, who also need to be removed from their positions which the district can do, and doesn’t. It seems that a lot of bad teaching might be resolved by creating acceptable working conditions, starting with a supportive administration.
5. that the grievance process is the problem, The grievance process is a three step process: 1.A meeting with the principal, 2. A meeting with the area supt. And 3. Binding arbitration with an arbitrator chosen by both the union and the district. A principal looses a grievance against a teacher when either the District or the arbitrator chosen by the district says a violation of that teacher’s rights has occurred. In such a situation is it right to assume that it is the teacher that is failing to perform basic assigned duties?
6.that settlements of 40-100 thousand dollars for the removal of teachers the District wants to fire, are excessive and against whom no evidence exists, other than district say so, that these teachers deserve to lose their careers, which includes 5 years of university study, and often thousands of dollars each year for materials the District fails to provide and in a District that has bought out the contracts of several of its superintendants for over half a million dollars.
The entire premise of the Weekly article is that the District can’t fire the teachers it wants to fire because of the Union and tenure, and not that these constructs actually protect the academic freedom of teachers who should not have been brought under scrutiny in the first place.
There is no evidence IN THE ARTICLE, except the District’s say so, that the District is actually trying to fire the BAD teachers. That is an essential missing element of the article. Sure there are bad teachers. But if the district isn’t going after bad teachers, but is going after teachers who demand their rights or the rights of others, then the waste of resources is even more outrageous.