Posts tagged as:

teacher tenure

Schools roundup

by Walter Olson on October 17, 2013

  • Opponents, including U.S. Department of Justice, go after school choice programs in court [Jason Bedrick, more]
  • Study finds bullying programs may have opposite from intended effect. Why, next they’ll tell us D.A.R.E. is a flop at curbing drug use. Oh wait [CBS Dallas]
  • National Association of the Deaf files lawsuit against Maryland, seeking captioning at sporting events [WaPo]
  • “NYC will spend $29 million on salaries, benefits of educators it can’t fire” [NY Daily News] [NY Times]
  • Gotta-cover-yourself incident and accident reports clog the classroom day with paper [Ted Frank, Point of Law]
  • “IRBs and mission creep” [Dave Hoffman, Prawfs, earlier]
  • Boy who drew cartoonish bomb at home suspended, reinstated [Fox Carolina, Free-Range Kids]

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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.

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Public employment roundup

by Walter Olson on August 14, 2013

  • “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]
  • Eyebrow-raising federal salaries at unaccountable-by-design CFPB [John Steele Gordon, Commentary]
  • “North Carolina Ends Teacher Tenure” [Pew StateLine]
  • Not all states would benefit from a dose of Scott Walkerism, but Massachusetts would [Charles Chieppo, Governing]
  • “Prison Ordered to Hire Back Guards Fired over an Officer’s Murder Because Everybody Else Was Awful, Too” [Scott Shackford]
  • “New York State Lags on Firing Workers Who Abuse Disabled Patients” [Danny Hakim, New York Times] NYC educators accused of sex misconduct can dig in for years [New York Daily News]
  • “Pennsylvania’s GOP: Rented by Unions” [Steve Malanga, Public Sector Inc.] NYC’s Working Families Party expands into Connecticut [Daniel DiSalvo, same]

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]

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October 8 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 8, 2012

  • Karma in Carmichael: serial Sacramento-area filer of ADA suits Scott Johnson, often chronicled 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]
  • Fifth Circuit reverses decision holding Feds liable for Katrina flood damages [Reuters]
  • “Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril”: SCOTUS takes up first-sale doctrine in copyright law [Jennifer Waters, MarketWatch on Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons]
  • Rubber room redux: “New York Teacher Live-Streams $75,000 Do-Nothing Job” [Lachlan Markay, Heritage] Teacher charged with hiring hitman to kill colleague should have been fired decade ago [Mike Riggs]
  • “George Zimmerman sues NBC for editing 911 audio to make him sound racist” [Jim Treacher, Daily Caller]
  • Prof. Mark J. Perry has moved his indispensable Carpe Diem economics/policy blog in-house to AEI;
  • New York will require newly licensed lawyers to do pro bono [WSJ, Scott Greenfield, Legal Ethics Forum]

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Chicago teachers’ strike

by Walter Olson on September 13, 2012

It’s so obvious that teachers’ strikes hurt kids (not to mention adults) that even the New York Times’ editorialists, even Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, can’t really stomach this one. It’s likely to heighten the contradictions within the Democratic Party, which is simultaneously expected to represent the interests of public employees and of big city dwellers. It will also further questions (raised by my Cato colleague Andrew Coulson) about unions’ role in keeping American education monopolistic. And it’s already evoking the example of earlier officials who vindicated the rights of the public against such unions, including Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, and Scott Walker. Is Rahm Emanuel made of that kind of stuff?

A couple of videos, one from the Illinois Policy Institute:

And from Reason.tv:

Andrew Grossman: “Chicago parents: Stand in solidarity with your fellow workers and refuse to teach your children. Don’t be a scab!”

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February 19 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 19, 2012

  • Self-service arrangement: Pennsylvania judge charged with fixing her own parking tickets [Lancaster Online]
  • Economist cover story: “Over-regulated America“. Obama hesitant about heavy-handed regulation? Really? [Veronique de Rugy, NRO]
  • Argument for letting money market funds “break the buck” without federal backstop [David Henderson, EconLog]
  • 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]
  • FDA rejects lead-in-lipstick scare campaign [ACSH vs. Environmental Working Group]
  • A horror story of eyewitness I.D. [claim of DNA exoneration in Va. rape case; AP via Scott Greenfield]

Walter Russell Mead notes a reformist initiative on teacher certification with perhaps an unexpected sponsor, the Democratic governor of Connecticut. [The American Interest; CTNewsJunkie.com]

P.S. On the ultimate frontier of teacher reform — the firing of bad teachers — see new reports from Troy Senik [Public Sector Inc.] and Marcus Winters [NY Post].

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The New York Post checks on on some unfireable teachers.

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September 19 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 19, 2011

  • 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]
  • “Running out of common drugs” [Josh Bloom, NY Post] Pharmaceutical shortages: the role of Medicare price controls [Richard Epstein, Hoover; earlier here, here, etc.]
  • DoT insists on exposing private flight plans online. Yoo-hoo, privacy advocates? [Steve Chapman]
  • 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]

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A chart from the Chicago Tribune editorial opinion section on the stages needed to remove an inadequate Chicago educator.

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.

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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.

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Julie Mack, Kalamazoo Gazette (via Mark Hemingway, Examiner):

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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“An Ohio public school teacher accused of burning the mark of a cross on students’ arms said Friday he dropped a lawsuit over his firing because it would have interfered with a public airing of his complaint in a different venue.” [AP via Ed Brayton, earlier]

Press coverage of the “rubber rooms” was just too embarrassing, though it’s not clear that the new arrangements will solve much [Tabarrok; earlier here, here, etc.]

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After announcing a big campaign to oust bad teachers, New York City has succeeded in firing only three in two years; ten others “settled their cases by resigning or retiring”. There are 55,000 tenured teachers in the city system. [Jennifer Medina, New York Times; Matt Welch, Reason "Hit and Run"] More: New York Times “Room for Debate”.

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Los Angeles has trouble getting rid of problem teachers too [L.A. Weekly, Brian Doherty/KCET] Our post a couple of weeks ago about New York City’s “rubber room” stirred considerable comment.