Despite outcome in California superintendent race, last week a major defeat for teachers’ union politics [RiShawn Biddle] UFT has outlasted school reform efforts in New York City, bad news for kids and parents there [Daniel DiSalvo]
Harris v. Quinn aftermath: California teacher’s suit might tee up renewed challenge to Abood [Rebecca Friedrichs, earlier here, here, etc.] Recalling when CTA spent its members money trying to convince them their voting preferences were wrong [Mike Antonucci]
Calcasieu parish school board in Louisiana votes to stop paying insurance on student athletics [AP/EdWeek]
“Maryland Tested Kids on Material It No Longer Teaches, Guess What Happened?” [Robby Soave, Common Core transition]
Whether or not the Drug War counts as an irresistible force, it seems to have run into an immovable object in the form of New York City teacher tenure [New York Law Journal]:
Termination was too harsh a penalty for a tenured teacher who created a spurt of news stories after he was found with bags of heroin when trying to enter Manhattan Supreme Court, where he was serving on jury duty….
“There is no evidence that the conduct with which petitioner was charged affects his performance as a teacher or that any publicity would impair his capacity to discharge his responsibilities as a teacher,” [Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Manuel] Mendez wrote in Matter of Esteban v. Department of Education of the City School District of the City of New York, 651904/13.
“Retirement benefits cost Connecticut more than half of payroll” [Raising Hale] Jagadeesh Gokhale, “State and Local Pension Plans” [Cato] “In the report Krugman cites, the researchers note (repeatedly) that the trillion-dollar figure is very likely a dramatic understatement of the size of the unmet liability.” [Caleb Brown]
California: “Bill would reinstate state workers who go AWOL” [Steven Greenhut]
Los Angeles: “As LAUSD agrees to pay out 30 million dollars to the families victimized by the Miramonte Elementary School teacher molestation scandal, FOX 11 investigates why school districts seem to have such a difficult time firing teachers who’ve committed lewd acts.” Even the teacher charged with committing mass sex crimes in the Miramonte case managed to get a $40,000 payout from his district to quit. The powerful California Teachers Association (CTA) managed to scuttle a modest bill by Sen. Alex Padilla to streamline dismissals in extreme cases. Instead, it’s backing an alternative measure that reformer and former Sen. Gloria Romero describes as a joke that “wouldn’t really do anything.” [KTTV; CTA's side]
Karma in Carmichael: serial Sacramento-area filer of ADA suits Scott Johnson, oftenchronicled in this space, hit by sex-harass suit by four former female employees, with avert-your-eyes details [Sac Bee; News10, autoplays] One of Johnson’s suits, over a counter that was too high, recently helped close Ford’s Real Hamburgers, a 50-year-old establishment. [KTXL/The Blaze]
Suing apps makers? “Entertainment Lawyers Go Wild for ‘Secondary’ Copyright Lawsuits” [WSJ Law Blog] SWAT raid on Kiwi copyright scofflaw? [Balko] Despite its editor’s views, NYT finds it hard to avoid breaching copyright laws itself [Carly Carioli, Boston Phoenix] “Contempt Sanctions Imposed on Copyright Troll Evan Stone” [Paul Alan Levy] More: “obscene materials can’t be copyrighted” offered as defense in illegal download case [Kerr]
Tenure terror: “Teacher in Los Angeles molest case reportedly paid $40G to drop appeal of firing” [AP]
Educator: please don’t bring lawyers to parent-teacher meetings [Ron Clark, CNN] Steve Brill: what I found when I investigated NYC teacher “rubber rooms” [Reuters] “The Six Dumbest Things Schools Are Doing in the Name of Safety” [Cracked] School waterfall liability [Lincoln, Neb. Journal-Star]
As predicted: “Dodd-Frank Paperwork a Bonanza for Consultants and Lawyers” [NYT]
New class action law in Mexico includes loser-pays provision [WSJ]
Newt Gingrich candidacy revives memories of his 1995 call for death penalty (with “mass executions”) for drug smuggling [NYT archive via Josh Barro; see also @timothy_watson “Sounds kinda like Shariah Law to me.”)
“Cy pres slush fund in Georgia under ethics investigation” [PoL]
Meanwhile, some Andrew Sullivan readers point out that contrasts between the public and private sectors can be overdone, since it can be legally troublesome for private managers, too, to fire poorly performing workers. I wrote a whole book tackling related themes some years back.
An arbitrator has reinstated 75 teachers dismissed by the Washington, D.C. school system during their 2-year probationary period — not after achieving tenure — for such infractions as perennial absence or tardiness, “rude and aggressive” behavior and “sketchy or nonexistent lesson plans.” “[Arbitrator Charles] Feigenbaum said that the teachers had been denied due process because they were not given reasons for their terminations. It’s a mind-boggling decision that essentially affords probationary teachers some of the rights that protect tenured teachers.” [Washington Post editorial] For another indication of the legal constraints on employee selection faced by the D.C. schools, see this 2001 post.
In 1993, Chelsea High School teacher Stephen Leith shot to death his superintendent and wounded his principal and another teacher during a confrontation at the school. Leith was convicted of homicide and given a life sentence; from prison, he continued to pursue an appeal of his firing from Chelsea Public Schools, blaming his actions on medication.
“He murdered his superintendent. It’s crazy,” said Tom White, associate director of labor relations for [the] Michigan School Board Association.
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