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, 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]
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!”
- Court rebukes EEOC in big sex harassment class action against trucking firm [Memphis Commercial Appeal]
- Union protects some dodgy educators: “Found to Have Misbehaved With Pupils, but Still Teaching” [New York Times]
- Spain changes its labor law [Global Post]
- Employment-law blogs debate employment at will [Jon Hyman]
- James Sherk of Heritage on proposed Employee Rights Act;
- Unlawful under Contracts Clause to alter public employee pensions? Really? [Secunda, Workplace Prof; Barnes v. Arizona State Ret. Sys., Ariz. Super. Ct., No. CV-2011-011638, 2/1/12]
- Coalition challenges Connecticut governor’s executive order aimed at unionizing home health aides [Michael Tremoglie, Legal NewsLine]
- 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]
The New York Post checks on on some unfireable teachers.
- 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]
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.
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.