For the second straight year, legislation to quicken and simplify dismissal procedures for teachers is in danger of running aground.

Last year, the state’s teachers unions thwarted a sweeping rewrite of the dismissal law that they argued was excessive. This year, teachers groups have signed on, but groups representing districts and administrators are objecting that the legislation would be ineffective, even counterproductive. Los Angeles Unified supports several amendments but is supportive overall, Edgar Zazueta, the district’s chief lobbyist, said.

The sponsor of Assembly Bill 375, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, a former school board member who is chair of the Assembly Education Committee and spent a year searching for a workable solution, and is chairperson of the defends her proposal as a vast improvement. A failure to reach a compromise, she said, would preserve a process uniformly criticized as flawed.

Buchanan discusses AB 375 during a hearing July 3 before the Senate Education Committee.

Buchanan discusses AB 375 during a hearing July 3 before the Senate Education Committee.

On Wednesday, Buchanan came up one vote short of passage in the Senate Education Committee, with several legislators, including Chair Carol Liu, D- La Cañada Flintridge, declining to vote. Liu has granted a reconsideration of the bill, which will lead to either another hearing in August or a postponement until  next year.

Under current law, dismissals go through a Commission on Professional Competence, consisting of an administrative law judge and two credentialed educators, with the teacher facing charges and the district each selecting one of the two. (This article has been updated —  see note at end) Districts have complained that dismissals take  too long – sometimes 18 months or longer – and can be too costly, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and continued pay to suspended teachers until cases are resolved. As a result, districts frequently turn to a financial settlement. One such deal drew headlines after Los Angeles Unified paid Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt, now awaiting trial on multiple molestation charges, $40,000 not to contest his dismissal.

Last year, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, proposed to replace the commission with an advisory hearing before an administrative law judge and to give the local school board final say over dismissals. But  SB 1530 would have applied only to charges of gross misconduct, a small percentage of cases, and drew stiff opposition from teachers unions, which saw the elimination of the commission as a violation of due-process rights.

When she voted against Padilla’s bill, Buchanan, who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, promised to continue work on the issue. While her proposal would preserve the three-person Commission on Professional Competence, its reforms would apply to all dismissal cases, including those for unsatisfactory performance, which Padilla’s bill didn’t touch.

AB 375 would address some of the complaints about the current law. It would allow a district to serve dismissal papers over the summer; in cases of immoral conduct, it would allow the introduction of relevant evidence older than four years; and it would pare back the complex evidentiary process.

But its main change would be to impose a seven-month time limit, once dismissal charges have been filed, for cases to be resolved. An administrative law judge could also grant a one-month extension for a valid reason.

“The bill addresses all of the elements that are cumbersome under the current law,” said Patricia Rucker, a lobbyist for the California Teachers Association, during a hearing on July 3. “Efficiencies are created, and obstacles are removed.”

Opponents, which include the California School Boards Association’s Education Legal Alliance and the Association of California School Administrators, have raised a number of technical issues. Their main objection is that a seven-month time limit would be too short, given delays in scheduling, in finding qualified teachers to serve on the commission and in resolving evidence questions.

The bill “does not remove the steps, just says to do it quicker,” said Abe Hajela, an attorney who represents San Francisco Unified. Since teachers would have no incentive to adhere to the seven-month deadline, districts would be faced with either refiling cases, furthering the expense, or settling them – which is already the problem, he said.

But Buchanan said that most dismissal hearings actually take days or a week once they are scheduled. By writing a deadline into statute, the Office of Administrative Hearings, which oversees commission proceedings, would be forced to see that the cases are disposed of, just as it does now for disputes involving special education.

“Here is the conundrum: No one can get everything they want in the bill,” Buchanan said in an interview. “In the absence of this bill, the current system remains in place, and attorneys will keep making money.” She  said she would keep discussing the bill next year, if that’s what is required, but at this point, “the bill is fair,” she said, and she’s not inclined to make additional changes.

*Note: This has been corrected. The earlier version incorrectly stated that both educators had to be teachers. See comments for further discussion.

 

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  1. Paul Muench 3 years ago3 years ago

    Is this a record for the number and total length of replies?

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 3 years ago3 years ago

      Could be, Paul. May be a record for Manuel, too? 😉 Given me a lot to read on my return from a week off.

      • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

        I'm sorry to have created such a backlog for you, John, and I hope that my contributions have been appropriate and not gone overboard. I have to say, though, that the share of information on this topic has been very stimulating. It has even caused some, like Gary, to even revisit their assumptions based on prior experience. But, as Gary himself found out, we are no longer under the same circumstances. I am sure that the focusing … Read More

        I’m sorry to have created such a backlog for you, John, and I hope that my contributions have been appropriate and not gone overboard.

        I have to say, though, that the share of information on this topic has been very stimulating. It has even caused some, like Gary, to even revisit their assumptions based on prior experience. But, as Gary himself found out, we are no longer under the same circumstances.

        I am sure that the focusing on “outcomes” by the passage of LCFF will change the landscape yet again as it is highly likely that teachers will be the first to feel such “focusing.” One thing is for sure: it will be an excellent source for more articles!

        • John Fensterwald 3 years ago3 years ago

          No apologies, please. I, like others, value your thoughtful, well-researched comments. Keep writing.

        • el 3 years ago3 years ago

          One of the things I really value here is how many people comment who have experience in many different areas of education policy. I feel like I learn something new or get a different perspective every day.

  2. Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

    El, I'd like to offer a correction: according to DataQuest, the number of teacher in 2011-12 was 32,713 while the number of administrators was 3,459. This includes faculty and administrators at 186 independent charter schools (I wished that DataQuest would disaggregate them, but it doesn't). So I am curious, where did you get the 45,000 number? Incidentally, the state had 283,836 teachers in 2011-12. Thus, LAUSD (and the schools it chartered) had about 11.5% of the teachers … Read More

    El, I’d like to offer a correction: according to DataQuest, the number of teacher in 2011-12 was 32,713 while the number of administrators was 3,459. This includes faculty and administrators at 186 independent charter schools (I wished that DataQuest would disaggregate them, but it doesn’t).

    So I am curious, where did you get the 45,000 number?

    Incidentally, the state had 283,836 teachers in 2011-12. Thus, LAUSD (and the schools it chartered) had about 11.5% of the teachers in the state. Is there a similar rate of teachers brought before the CPC from the rest of the state?

    I have to agree with Gary: if LAUSD has moved to dismiss so many, is it indicative of the true state of the profession or is it driven by something else? If it is the true state, then why aren’t the other districts sending the same number of cases proportionally?

    In the 2010 LA Weekly article linked to by el there were some quotes by LAUSD lawyers complaining that the CPC could not handle more cases. The CPC responded they could “ramp up.” Is there evidence that cases are taking longer to be decided?

    Replies

    • el 3 years ago3 years ago

      Thanks for the correction. My source was Wikipedia and I rounded. I wouldn’t expect it to be perfect but I’m surprised to miss by 25% when the numbers are supposedly for the same school year. (I note that the footnote suggests it might be from 2007-2008, which … could actually explain a lot, except for why it was edited without fixing the footnote or the count.)

      That’s what I get for using Wikipedia. 😉

      • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

        Ironically, school district Wikipedia pages seem to be among the worst maintained on Wikipedia. That edit was made in February 2008 and was even wrong at that point. The reference is still to that years version of the fact sheet, though it appears now to be a broken link anyway. Odd that lausd wouldn't leave it's prior year fact sheets up. This years does not even include teacher count. What else could be wrong? ;-) Maybe … Read More

        Ironically, school district Wikipedia pages seem to be among the worst maintained on Wikipedia. That edit was made in February 2008 and was even wrong at that point. The reference is still to that years version of the fact sheet, though it appears now to be a broken link anyway. Odd that lausd wouldn’t leave it’s prior year fact sheets up. This years does not even include teacher count. What else could be wrong? 😉

        Maybe when I’m not trying to edit on a cell phone I’ll fix it.

      • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

        Sometimes, Wikipedia is wonderful. Other times, especially when it is about stats, it is awful. It is the nature of the beast as it is highly dependent upon volunteers (hey, navigio, while you are at it, sneak in a sentence there pointing to DataQuest!). That's why I always try to go to primary sources. It is no wonder that some wags call it the CheezWhiz of encyclopedias. (And no, you won't find this description in google as "the … Read More

        Sometimes, Wikipedia is wonderful.

        Other times, especially when it is about stats, it is awful.

        It is the nature of the beast as it is highly dependent upon volunteers (hey, navigio, while you are at it, sneak in a sentence there pointing to DataQuest!). That’s why I always try to go to primary sources.

        It is no wonder that some wags call it the CheezWhiz of encyclopedias. (And no, you won’t find this description in google as “the algoritm” is overwhelmed by all those who quote the definition of CheezWhiz in Wikipedia! Talk about a closed loop!)

        • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

          Actually, this bring up something I've always wondered about. What actually is the primary source, the district or dataquest (or ed-data as a proxy for the various reporting entities)? Although state data is simply a reflection of what the district reports, it sometimes seems better to rely on the information that the district is willing to publish on its own web page. By the same token, the district can lie and mislead or simply … Read More

          Actually, this bring up something I’ve always wondered about. What actually is the primary source, the district or dataquest (or ed-data as a proxy for the various reporting entities)? Although state data is simply a reflection of what the district reports, it sometimes seems better to rely on the information that the district is willing to publish on its own web page. By the same token, the district can lie and mislead or simply measure what it wants whereas the idea of standardized reporting is that the state-requested data should represent the same thing (yeah right). I guess the only real solution is to report all sources then point out that they usually differ for no well-known reasons. 🙁

          • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

            Navigio, I honestly do not know the real answer. But this is what I go by: districts are supposed to report numbers to CALPADS by state law (no, I have not looked at where in the Ed Code that is but it should not be hard). The state uses the CALPADS numbers, I found out, as the basis to determine the size of the Title I, Part A, entitlement, for example. It uses the numbers … Read More

            Navigio, I honestly do not know the real answer. But this is what I go by: districts are supposed to report numbers to CALPADS by state law (no, I have not looked at where in the Ed Code that is but it should not be hard). The state uses the CALPADS numbers, I found out, as the basis to determine the size of the Title I, Part A, entitlement, for example. It uses the numbers to calculate ADA allocations too (I think so, but, again, I have not tracked that). The LCFF compromise explicitly names CALPADS as the source for the data used to calculate the size of the three grants.

            Therefore, it would be truly stupid for a district to report untrue numbers to the state because a) it would not be in compliance with several federal requirements (e.g., number of qualified teachers) and b) it would lose fund allocations. There may be other reasons but those are the ones I am aware of.

            There are people out there that complain that ADA and truancy numbers don’t jive with enrollment, that the state revenue limit is exaggerated or diminished (depending on the circumstances, of course), etc.. These people claim their complaints are based on what is presented in “official” sources. So, yes, it would be nice if all reporting was standardized and numbers all matched. But given, as you point out, the willingness to spin numbers, well, we get the mess we are in.

            For instance: the alligator chart. Every one of these charts I’ve seen is based on the numbers calculated by School Services of California. The districts don’t bother to put in the actual numbers even though almost always they are not the same. Consequently, the claimed deficits are not what they report. Thus, as you-know-who once said, one must “trust but verify.” And when discrepancies arise, point them out. Maybe that will bring some honesty to number reporting.

  3. Public School Parent who Cares! 3 years ago3 years ago

    Let's PLEASE shorten the process for firing/eliminating ineffective teachers. Why on earth can people be fired in corporate America, but not in the public schools. 5% of the teacher really are ineffective, and 5% of the California students suffer every year because of it. That is not fair to the thousands of students who get a "bad" teacher every year. Why do we care more about the so called right of a teacher to maintain … Read More

    Let’s PLEASE shorten the process for firing/eliminating ineffective teachers. Why on earth can people be fired in corporate America, but not in the public schools. 5% of the teacher really are ineffective, and 5% of the California students suffer every year because of it. That is not fair to the thousands of students who get a “bad” teacher every year. Why do we care more about the so called right of a teacher to maintain lifetime employment than the rights of Calif students to receive an excellent education EVERY year?

    Replies

    • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

      I don't think you are a parent who really cares. If you did, then you would educate yourself about the process for teacher dismissal. As to your other points: 1) schools are not corporations. If we are to fire teachers in the same manner as employees are fired in corporations, then teachers should be allowed to fire their students. See how silly your demand is? 2) Where is the proof that 5% of teachers are ineffective? 3) What … Read More

      I don’t think you are a parent who really cares. If you did, then you would educate yourself about the process for teacher dismissal. As to your other points:
      1) schools are not corporations. If we are to fire teachers in the same manner as employees are fired in corporations, then teachers should be allowed to fire their students. See how silly your demand is?
      2) Where is the proof that 5% of teachers are ineffective?
      3) What is the metric that demonstrates that 5% of students are suffering? Is it reflected on their classroom grades? Their standardized scores? Their general happiness level?
      4) We care about the rights of a teacher because it is a matter of justice. You want justice for yourself, too, don’t you?
      5) I know for a fact that teachers do not have lifetime employment. That makes you a liar, and finally
      6) If only 5% of teachers are ineffective affecting 5% of the students, does that mean that 95% of California students get an excellent education EVERY year? Where is your proof?

      • Floyd Thursby 3 years ago3 years ago

        Manuel, I think we can safely say it shouldn't cost $40,000 to fire a child molester so he can go on a bender before a 25-year prison sentence, or $150-200,000 to fire an underperforming teacher. I think we can safely say more than 91 in the state, 19 for performance, should be fired every decade. I think we can safely say some teachers are bad. This parent just wants it to be … Read More

        Manuel, I think we can safely say it shouldn’t cost $40,000 to fire a child molester so he can go on a bender before a 25-year prison sentence, or $150-200,000 to fire an underperforming teacher. I think we can safely say more than 91 in the state, 19 for performance, should be fired every decade. I think we can safely say some teachers are bad. This parent just wants it to be a reasonable process to fire those who are.

        We can’t trust the union to make independent judgements. They always think someone is doing something wrong and the teacher is good. I saw this in SFUSD, a teacher showed up 50 days of 180, but wouldn’t take leave for a year. She was seen in a cafe a day she called in sick. If I mention this, I get screamed at by union members defending her. Many teachers were opposed to her, but the union would scream that it was wrong to fire her. The needs of kids came last.

        If it were possible for the union to ever be open-minded, they’d have opposed this one. When I saw them defend her, I decided I would never trust their independent judgement again. The union is too biased to decide who gets fired. We need an easier process, and we need someone fair and neutral to decide. Not an angry parent, but also not a union member who thinks no one should ever be fired. Someone in the middle. It’s obvious to anyone with a pulse that it’s too hard to fire bad teachers now.

        It’s pretty close to lifetime employment if it costs that much to fire bad ones and rarely happens.

        As for resignation vs. dismissal, some teachers quit who would have been great. Some should be retained with merit pay and get more money than 30 year teachers who are less effective. Those leaving aren’t necessarily the ineffective ones. But also, if they resign, they can sign on at another district.

        It’s so hard to dismiss an ineffective teacher that anyone dismissed should never be able to teach again anywhere.

  4. el 3 years ago3 years ago

    Obviously there’s been a huge increase in the number of cases in the system and no doubt that would create some problems. For reference, LAUSD employs about 45,000 teachers.

  5. David B. Cohen 3 years ago3 years ago

    Quick thought regarding the assumption that a teacher on a review panel would support a fellow teacher: in districts that have joint panels to make dismissal decisions, I have heard anecdotally that teachers are often "tougher". I have heard Julia Koppich and Dan Humphreys discuss their research in CA districts that have such joint panels, and they said you can't tell from watching the proceedings who the teachers are and who the administrators are. Research … Read More

    Quick thought regarding the assumption that a teacher on a review panel would support a fellow teacher: in districts that have joint panels to make dismissal decisions, I have heard anecdotally that teachers are often “tougher”. I have heard Julia Koppich and Dan Humphreys discuss their research in CA districts that have such joint panels, and they said you can’t tell from watching the proceedings who the teachers are and who the administrators are. Research into this topic for districts in Ohio (and MN?) showed that panels with teachers included dismissed more teachers than panels without teachers.

  6. Gary Ravani 3 years ago3 years ago

    I am going to have to say I stand corrected. I also apologize to John. That being said I can state that in 20 years as a local leader I encountered no more than 3 dismissal cases. I was also asked, perhaps 3 or 4 times, during that time to "nominate" some teachers to serve on the Commission on Professional Competence (CPC) for hearings for teachers in other districts. This is between the years 1988 to … Read More

    I am going to have to say I stand corrected. I also apologize to John.

    That being said I can state that in 20 years as a local leader I encountered no more than 3 dismissal cases. I was also asked, perhaps 3 or 4 times, during that time to “nominate” some teachers to serve on the Commission on Professional Competence (CPC) for hearings for teachers in other districts. This is between the years 1988 to 2008. In no case can I recall two teachers being on the CPC. With such a small number of cases, and that the “disciple’ of the teacher in question was not deemed “exotic,” it appears to have not been difficult to find administrators. The numbers here in the N Bay Area do not seem to have changed much. It should be noted that resolution of these cases, and a few more between 2008 and today, took weeks or months, not years.

    How times have changed elsewhere.

    Re LWJP’s explanation, it does appear to come from the management perspective. I am not sure why LAUSD should be excluded from the discussion as that was where the “big bang” occurred that set off the media the rush of legislation. Also, that the LA school site administrators have their own “union” somehow “clouds” the issues doesn’t seem to follow.

    Checking with colleagues in S CA, in fact, makes things rather clear. Their experience seems to parallel mine up to a few years ago. The numbers, and why the situation may have changed, speaks for themselves. Dismissal cases in LAUSD filed by the board, and this includes dismissals as well as resignations to “avoid dismissal” track as follows:

    2005-6=16
    2006-7=18
    2007-8=61
    2008-9=69
    2009-10=192
    2010-11=161
    2011-12=221

    It is understandable that finding administrators who fit the requirements for CPC participation is now difficult. My assertions were not so much wrong as outdated. I was aware of the increase in cases in LAUSD, but seeing the numbers is, frankly, stunning.

    As to the astonishing numbers in LAUSD? Again, I refer to the CA auditor’s report that found problems in the way the districts handled cases and not the process itself. Could the astronomical numbers-from 16 to 221 in 7 years- just be flack sent up by a district to divert attention from the real issues?

    LWJP notes that in many professions, the administrative law judge (ALJ) acts unilaterally. Padilla’s original legislation would have eliminated to two education professionals (and, therefore, the professionalism in the professionalism commissions) and also reduced the ALJ’s role to an advisory one. The final decision would have been in the hands of the local board, meaning they would have filed the charges and then been the final arbiter deciding if the charges were valid.

    And then there are those numbers again, and this explosion of filing against teachers creating a very 1950s atmosphere in a district, may be happening elsewhere, though i have not heard of anything of this scale. Legal expert Jonathan Turley has written for the LA Times, Teachers Under a Morality Microscope, that this is not a healthy trend.

  7. Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

    LWJP, thank you for this very insightful analysis. I'd like to respond to a few points. 1. COSTS: "If a school district moves to dismiss a certificated employee and loses, the district is on the hook for legal fees for both the district and the employee. This is not the case in reverse – when an employee challenges the decision of a CPC. The district then pays their fees and the union or the state pays the … Read More

    LWJP, thank you for this very insightful analysis.

    I’d like to respond to a few points.

    1. COSTS: “If a school district moves to dismiss a certificated employee and loses, the district is on the hook for legal fees for both the district and the employee. This is not the case in reverse – when an employee challenges the decision of a CPC. The district then pays their fees and the union or the state pays the employees feels. … As a result, only those cases that districts feel very confidant in winning move forward.”

    AB 375 would change this for any dispute that went to court. While I agree that high legal costs encourage districts to pursue only the most serious cases, do you mean to suggest that a district’s decision to pursue a particular case means that the teacher is necessarily guilty? Isn’t the purpose of the process to determine WHETHER there are grounds for dismissal?

    There is no guarantee that a local union, or a professional liability insurance policy, would cover a teacher’s legal fees. Not all local unions elect to cover legal representation for all members, let alone all cases. No local union covers any legal expenses for agency fee payers, and agency fee payers are ineligible for union-sponsored professional liability insurance.

    School districts are always better able to afford legal costs than individuals. Wouldn’t the risk of eventually being found responsible for legal costs far beyond the means of people who typically earn $40 to $60,000 a year discourage teachers from exercising their due process rights? Wouldn’t that make the rights meaningless?

    By way of example, my health insurer forces plan participants to use alternative dispute resolution (arbitration) rather than go to court. As a concession, the insurer offers to pay arbitration costs.

    2. DISCOVERY PROCESS: “AB 375 requires all disclosure to be done prior to beginning the dismissal process … In the case of immoral or unprofessional conduct, there is no way a district can do all of their discovery prior to commencing the dismissal.”

    Your position makes sense, though I am curious what restrictions apply under existing law. Could you compare the proposed, non-standard AB 375 discovery rules with the existing, standard, Superior Court ones?

    3. PANEL COMPOSITION: “Under current law, the biggest obstacle to the CPC from school districts is that the educators that can serve on these panels must have the same single subject credential as the person being dismissed. For elementary employees the restrictions aren’t as difficult. But when two single subject French teachers who have taught in five of the past ten years are needed, it is difficult to find one let alone two. Rarely an administrator has taught five years out of the prior 10 making administrators difficult to put on a CPC. It is very rare when an administrator serves on the CPC.”

    For the district-nominated representative, recent teaching experience with the age group in question is useful, but I agree that the experience shouldn’t have to be in the same subject area. Contemporary classroom experience, and familiarity with the age group in question, would allow the panelist to better understand the teacher’s actions. This is important to the extent that the panel’s decision is not a foregone conclusion.

    For example, a Single Subject credential-holder accustomed to teaching high school students might consider hugging a student to be improper, prima facie, whereas a Multiple Subjects credential-holder accustomed to teaching kindergarteners might recognize hugging as typical. An administrative credential-holder who had last taught 20 years before might judge a teacher’s frustrated outburst more harshly than a classroom teacher who was personally familiar with today’s large, heterogeneous groups. (Special education inclusion, for example, is a relatively new phenomenon, as evidenced by gradual changes in teacher credential program requirements. Changes in social mores, e.g. use of profanity, and sexualized styles of dress, continue apace.)

    4. UNSATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE:

    I wrote at the outset, “There is no reason to further streamline dismissals for unsatisfactory performance. School districts can easily get rid of teachers who are new to the profession or new to a district. Temporary teachers, who serve in large numbers according to the recent SRI study, are automatically released at the end of the year. Probationary teachers — those in their first two consecutive, non-temporary, full-time years with their current district — can be ‘non-re-elected’ without cause. Despite the intention that successful teachers receive due process rights (‘tenure’) after two years with a district, only 45% of third-year California teachers actually have tenure, according to SRI.”

    I continued, “Given that non-tenured teachers are subject to dismissal without cause, that the tenure process is slower than the legislature intended, and that the tenure window reopens every time a teacher changes districts, the standard for dismissing a tenured teacher for unsatisfactory performance should be very high indeed.”

    Would you (and school districts in general) be willing to focus on streamlining the hearing process for allegations of misconduct, or are allegations of unsatisfactory performance equally important?

    I really appreciate your informed perspective!

  8. LWJP 3 years ago3 years ago

    Hello everyone. There is a lot to respond to from the past few days. I am familiar with SB 1530 (Padilla), AB 375 (Buchanan) and the view from administrators. For full disclosure, I am not an educator but I work closely with administrators from throughout the state. To begin with, lets leave LAUSD out of this conversation. Their administrators are unionized which isn't the case of most administrators throughout … Read More

    Hello everyone. There is a lot to respond to from the past few days. I am familiar with SB 1530 (Padilla), AB 375 (Buchanan) and the view from administrators. For full disclosure, I am not an educator but I work closely with administrators from throughout the state. To begin with, lets leave LAUSD out of this conversation. Their administrators are unionized which isn’t the case of most administrators throughout the state and the district has made public mistakes that cloud the issues.

    To begin with, both bills deal with certificated employees – teachers and credentialed administrators. So neither are just a teacher dismissal bill. Both unions and school districts have complained for years about how long the dismissal process is and therefore very expensive. If a school district moves to dismiss a certificated employee and loses, the district is on the hook for legal fees for both the district and the employee. This is not the case in reverse – when an employee challenges the decision of a CPC. The district then pays their fees and the union or the state pays the employees feels. As a result, only those cases that districts feel very confidant in winning move forward. The dismissal process is heavily weighted to the employee due to various legal and technical provisions.

    AB 375 might work when dealing with an unsatisfactory performance dismissal but does not work in an immoral or unprofessional conduct dismissal. Why? AB 375 requires all disclosure to be done prior to beginning the dismissal process, places a hard cap on the number of witnesses that can be deposed and the hours they are able to be deposed, limits what types of evidence can be used beyond the current 4 years statute of limitations, and establishes a hard drop dead date of 7 months to begin and end the dismissal process with the exception of allowing an administrative law judge to extend the proceedings for one month.

    There is more to the bill but I think I may be running out of space. In the case of unsatisfactory performance, a school district should have done all of their work prior to commencing a dismissal. In the case of immoral or unprofessional conduct, there is no way a district can do all of their discovery prior to commencing the dismissal. Using a terrible example, in the case of a sexual predator, if a district were to discover that more students were abused after the beginning of the dismissal process, the district would be forced to refile the case in order to allow the additional witnesses. This would result in the district paying the costs of all legal fees and to refile. The same with the hard 7 month time limit. At the end the district would be forced to either re-file the case, put the employee on paid administrative leave, or put the employee back into the classroom or school. None of those options seem reasonable to me.

    The last comment for now that I would like to make is in regards to the Commission on Professional Competence. Only certificated school employees benefit from this 3 member panel. All other public employees are before an Administrative Law Judge only.

    In the case of unsatisfactory performance, one could argue that a fellow educator should be able to discern whether someone is providing a satisfactory education. In the case of immoral or unprofessional conduct, one can argue what is the difference between an educator, attorney, engineer, etc. We must ensure due process, absolutely, and that can be accomplished through an ALJ who ensure due process no matter what the profession. In the case of a Commission on Professional Competence, CPC, the commission is comprised of the ALJ and a certificated employee chosen by the employee and one chosen by the district. It has been alleged that districts will choose administrators. While they could legally, what happens in practice is that the district needs to find another teacher who they hope will understand the district’s perspective. Believe me, there are a number of 3-0 decisions to remove the employee. The employee can appeal to the Superior Court where there are times the dismissal is overturned at this level.

    But back to the CPC for a moment. Under current law, the biggest obstacle to the CPC from school districts is that the educators that can serve on these panels must have the same single subject credential as the person being dismissed. For elementary employees the restrictions aren’t as difficult. But when two single subject French teachers who have taught in five of the past ten years are needed, it is difficult to find one let alone two. Rarely an administrator has taught five years out of the prior 10 making administrators difficult to put on a CPC. It is very rare when an administrator serves on the CPC.

    Districts instead must try to find someone who agrees with their case. And remember, districts only move forward on cases that they feel they will win on in order to avoid the expensive cost if they lose. School districts would be willing to accept employees within disciplines or within grade spans. So far, the unions have been unwilling to amend AB 375 to contemplate these types of changes.

    I look forward to the comments that this response will start up. I know from some of my comments that there will be comments or challenges to what I have said. I even know where they are. But in order to conclude in a reasonable amount of time, I will stop for now and look forward to what I read later and tomorrow.

    Replies

    • el 3 years ago3 years ago

      I really appreciate the time you spent writing your comment and the information you provided. I have a couple of small questions: - Where are the CPC hearings held, and how long does a hearing usually take? are they usually near the district or are they in Sacramento or in a few large cities? - Do districts and teachers sift through a list of all credential holders in the state to choose their panelists, or is there a … Read More

      I really appreciate the time you spent writing your comment and the information you provided.

      I have a couple of small questions:

      – Where are the CPC hearings held, and how long does a hearing usually take? are they usually near the district or are they in Sacramento or in a few large cities?

      – Do districts and teachers sift through a list of all credential holders in the state to choose their panelists, or is there a shorter list of people who (say) have volunteered for CPC duty?

      – There is the assertion that the district and teacher each choose someone who will be sympathetic to their case. But how exactly are they allowed to determine that? Do they interview the possible candidates? Are they allowed to discuss aspects of their case with them? Or do they just rely on rumor and hearsay within their networks?

      – The effect of the teachers on the panel could be no effect, that they inform the administrative law judge, or that they overrule the administrative law judge. It seems that there are many people asserting that the teachers always vote to acquit. It would be interesting to get the data of how often their votes overrule the ALJ and what the various voting results are.

    • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

      LWJP, thank you for your lucid explanation of this process. As if often the case, a good explanation leads to new questions but I see that el and Paul have very cogently asked many of them before me. I would, however, pose one: are the credentials of the panelists checked at each service or is there a possibility of mistakenly keeping someone with expired credentials on the list? I look forward to your response and, again, thank … Read More

      LWJP, thank you for your lucid explanation of this process.

      As if often the case, a good explanation leads to new questions but I see that el and Paul have very cogently asked many of them before me. I would, however, pose one: are the credentials of the panelists checked at each service or is there a possibility of mistakenly keeping someone with expired credentials on the list?

      I look forward to your response and, again, thank you for taking the time to dispel some misconceptions!

    • el 3 years ago3 years ago

      It does seem like the credential matching process could be extremely difficult in some instances, and is probably unnecessary. I mean, could you render yourself judgement-proof by being a combination Japanese/Mathematics instructor? 🙂 What would happen if no matching personnel willing to serve are found?

  9. Replies

    • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

      Thank you!

  10. el 3 years ago3 years ago

    This is an area where there is little in the way of concrete, public information, and that's a real problem when trying to debate an appropriate mechanism. I believe in the need for due process. I also believe that there are issues with the current structure. I am aware in particular from both private communications and from public info that it does not work for LAUSD, but it is not clear to me if that is … Read More

    This is an area where there is little in the way of concrete, public information, and that’s a real problem when trying to debate an appropriate mechanism.

    I believe in the need for due process. I also believe that there are issues with the current structure. I am aware in particular from both private communications and from public info that it does not work for LAUSD, but it is not clear to me if that is a problem with the district office or if it’s related to the fact that it’s just so large and thus the forces acting upon it are different. I do not favor reworking procedures with only the needs of LAUSD in mind. 🙂

    I have only ever come across one article on the topic that discusses cases in any depth. It is not a great article, but here you go: http://www.laweekly.com/2010-02-11/news/lausd-s-dance-of-the-lemons/

    LA Weekly’s article is sensationalistic, but there are some nuggets in there that certainly make one want to dig deeper. I’d sure like to have another article out there with more information. Hint.

    You can also find scattered accounts of cases that went to superior court, to appeal the CPC judgement. Much sorting is needed to find cases of recent vintage, and I don’t know that cases that are appealed are representative. Here is one where the district won: http://www.aalrr.com/publications/Alerts/QP/commission_on_professional_competence_sustains_dismissal_based_upon_lack_of

    Here is one that the district lost: http://www.fearnotlaw.com/articles/article27865.html

    And this is a case where it seems likely everyone lost, where there was little clarity in facts and each body who heard it apparently came to a different conclusion about the facts of the matter: http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/court-of-appeal-overturns-districts-dis-40793/

    The issue of summer isn’t just about teachers teaching or not in summer, but also about 90 day time limits on various actions. So for example, if various times happen to end in June and the school board wanted to act for dismissal at a June meeting – it can’t. The next step, of notice and hearing, can’t happen until September. Even if one wanted to hold vacation time as sacrosanct, there’s no legitimate reason notice couldn’t be given in June for a hearing in September.

    Replies

    • Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

      el, regarding the summer, I think the purpose of notice is to give the parties time to prepare. Even if you feel that a teacher should be required to respond to information requests from his or her employer during the unpaid summer months, how would the teacher possibly be able to build his or her own case by contacting supportive colleagues, parents and students, any of whom might also be on vacation during that time.

    • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

      Wow, el. These cases are all over the map. Let me take them one at a time: I remember the LA Weekly article. I also remember being disgusted by the spin given in it. But reading it now brings out a delicious irony: the principal trying to get rid of the old teacher for incompetence is none other than Irene Hinojosa, the principal accused of covering up the actions of Robert Pimentel when she was his … Read More

      Wow, el. These cases are all over the map.

      Let me take them one at a time: I remember the LA Weekly article. I also remember being disgusted by the spin given in it. But reading it now brings out a delicious irony: the principal trying to get rid of the old teacher for incompetence is none other than Irene Hinojosa, the principal accused of covering up the actions of Robert Pimentel when she was his principal in Wilmington. She was driven to resign to avoid losing her pension!

      I’ll let that sink in and move on to the article itself: it describes the Commission on Professional Competence as “a powerful arbitration panel of two educators and an administrative-law judge who can prevent California schools from firing teachers.” It pains me to see John stooping to the level of the Weekly as he repeats the same canard that the panel consists of two educators and a judge who single-handedly keep “bad teachers” in the classroom. We, who bother to read the Educational Code know that one of them gets picked by the district bringing the case! Why is the public told “two educators” or “two teachers?” It just causes heat and brings no light!

      But what really gets my goat is that there was no effort to investigate the likely many teachers who are driven out by determined principals. I cannot divulge the details, but a dogged principal got rid of two teachers in a single year. We only hear about the doozies, and we get to hear the pious protestations of people like Caprice Young, who was one of Riordan’s Board members. She was there for four years, why didn’t she do something concrete about it?

      Yes, LAUSD keeps some very horrible teachers in their positions. But this happens because some of them are running programs that schools deem essential to the school. Nobody told me about them, I saw it with my own eyes at more than one school, under principals that I otherwise trusted the right thing. Very very sad.

      The end result is that if the principal does not want to do it and do it right, the teacher will remain there. And when the issue gets publicity, fingers will be pointed every which way as this article shows. I’d love to be able to open up those records and give them a good airing. But the Weekly is not helping. It has the Jill Stewart as its editor-behind-the-throne. Anyone who was involved in the fight against Prop 227 surely remembers that she has no ethics and hates LAUSD and UTLA.

      The case at Ripon USD is egregious and surprising because it took so long to resolve. The law firm puts it very clearly: “Nevertheless, this case establishes that EL certification can be a mandatory requirement for California teachers and subject them to disciplinary action for refusal to comply, provided there is an established rule or the requirement is negotiated. The case also illustrates the ability to terminate tenured teachers following extensive documentation and opportunity to correct the problems. Districts are encouraged to work with legal counsel on implementing strategies to achieve full EL compliance.” In other words, every one must be on board and the courts have to cooperate by moving the cases more rapidly. But given that state courts are having their funding cut, what are the chances that this will happen even if AB 375 were to pass and Gov. Brown signed it?

      The LAUSD case was, while not an official report, is reminiscent of the case I refer to above: the LAUSD lawyers did not do their work and the court, in this case, slapped them down. They did not do their homework just as they did not do it at Hart Elementary where they pushed their “zero-tolerance” policy without regard to legal precedent.

      The SDUSD case is even more troublesome because it intersects so many social, legal, and managerial issues. My quick reading of the actual Appeal Court decision made my head spin. It seems that the poor guy was railroaded by a hostile staff, detective, and trial judge. Lucky for him, the criminal prosecution collapsed and the Appeal Court saved him from SDUSD’s lawyers ineptness. No wonder cases take so long as the fallibility of humans is a central theme in this case. My guess is that if it hadn’t been by the aggressive SDPD detective this would never have gotten any traction. And I can’t believe that a trial judge would put, in writing, that he trusts his gut instinct more than a Commission’s legal findings. Unbelievable.

      Clearly, if all cases were like the Ripon USD case, it would be fairly easy to conclude that the system works. But all you need is a few like the SDUSD case to believe that this is a very difficult problem and that justice must take its time. This poor man was sentenced 21 years in prison and it reminds me of the famous McMartin case.

      I have not read AB 375, but if the biggest complain of district administrators is that it is too fast, then I have to say they are a bunch of hypocrites. By the time a dismissal case is brought forth they should have all their legal ducks in a row and asking for more time simply results in justice delayed. Isn’t that what everyone claims they want, a speedy resolution?

      The bottom line is that dismissing a teacher for whatever reason is a legal process and legal processes take more time than the average citizen is willing to wait to resolve matters even on a clearly cut-and-dry case as in the Ripon USD case. Do we want to completely overhaul the Ed Code to change this?

      • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

        Hi Manuel. I'll echo your statements about principals. I have also experienced a dogged principal and you're right that no credit is received for doing the job right. It still surprises me that we care so little about the quality of our principals, which given the current system is probably the most important single position in ensuring the quality of our teachers. It also surprises me that we continue to ignore the importance of the … Read More

        Hi Manuel. I’ll echo your statements about principals. I have also experienced a dogged principal and you’re right that no credit is received for doing the job right. It still surprises me that we care so little about the quality of our principals, which given the current system is probably the most important single position in ensuring the quality of our teachers. It also surprises me that we continue to ignore the importance of the quality of our district administrators. They are after all directly responsible for the quality of our principals, and both directly and indirectly responsible for the quality of our teachers.

        • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

          Navigio, to me, the principal is the keystone. Without a good principal the arch that is a school collapses. By the same token, even excellent principals are forced to do a Devil's bargain and have to keep "bad" teachers because they cannot get qualified replacements from their districts. For instance, replacing math and science teachers at LAUSD is very difficult because there doesn't seem to be a reasonable number available for a number of reasons (hiring … Read More

          Navigio, to me, the principal is the keystone. Without a good principal the arch that is a school collapses.

          By the same token, even excellent principals are forced to do a Devil’s bargain and have to keep “bad” teachers because they cannot get qualified replacements from their districts. For instance, replacing math and science teachers at LAUSD is very difficult because there doesn’t seem to be a reasonable number available for a number of reasons (hiring policies, seniority, inside baseball, etc.). Same goes with music teachers who can run band programs.

          At the elementary level is not a walk in the park to write up a teacher. Given what was revealed in the LAUSD case el linked to, I’d say that principals do not receive sufficient training to be effective supervisors, and this is not helped by the enormous list of things they are responsible for (for a taste of what an LAUSD administrator is responsible for take a look at p. 6 of this oldie-but-goodie AALA “update”; do the principals in your district have such a list of responsibilities?). Also, the new management style made possible by the fiscal crisis (i.e., reduce staff to the bone, change job responsibilities, and divide those responsibilities over several campuses) has uppended the relationship administrators had with the local community (again, AALA keeps an eye on this, take a look at p. 6 of this more recent update). How can we expect parents to talk about their concerns if there is nobody to talk to?

          One would think that the upper administrators would temper their demands. Instead, they doubled down if one is to believe what is reported in this other communique. Given all this turmoil, how can principals concentrate on meaningful teacher evaluation and document what they see and expect to get appropriate legal support from the administration?

          Local school administrators (from the principal down to the secretary, excuse me, administrative assistant at the front desk) are what helps a school run properly, even if you have a 99.9% excellent faculty. To expect the current law or something like AB 375 to work in the toxic environment created at LAUSD is folly. True, the rest of the state is not LAUSD but you can bet your bottom dollar that if the management style “works” for the current superintendent, it will be adopted by other districts.

          And I fervently hope I am wrong.

          (BTW, I am not nor have I ever been an administrator for LAUSD. But I have had to work with them on various “situations” so I got a glimpse of what they go through. The AALA updates are publicly available at their web site and give you a good idea of what is happening inside LAUSD from their POV.)

          • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

            Oh, crud. The links are not showing up correctly for two of them. I thought I typed it correctly, but since there is no "preview" feature I could not confirm them. Here they are: "more recent update" should point to http://www.aala.us/docs/2012/09/9.17-website.pdf "this other communique" should point to http://www.aala.us/docs/2012/10/10.15website31.pdf Read More

            Oh, crud. The links are not showing up correctly for two of them. I thought I typed it correctly, but since there is no “preview” feature I could not confirm them.

            Here they are:

            “more recent update” should point to http://www.aala.us/docs/2012/09/9.17-website.pdf

            “this other communique” should point to http://www.aala.us/docs/2012/10/10.15website31.pdf

          • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

            Hi Manuel, yes the principals in our district have such a list of responsibilities though we have already assigned them to each member of the site team instead of, as this document does, assigning them to the admin team as a whole. While the list at first glance appears long, I would point out that many of these things are a once a year thing, eg various surveys, cultural events, etc. Others are rather squishy, eg … Read More

            Hi Manuel, yes the principals in our district have such a list of responsibilities though we have already assigned them to each member of the site team instead of, as this document does, assigning them to the admin team as a whole.

            While the list at first glance appears long, I would point out that many of these things are a once a year thing, eg various surveys, cultural events, etc. Others are rather squishy, eg raising student achievement, having knowledge of Ed code, budget oversight, etc. Then some are even arguably no-ops. In most schools the SSC runs itself. If the principal has to run it it likely does nothing anyway. School safety plans and accountability reports are usually copy and paste jobs. Parent advocacy groups run themselves. Even many of these things are supported by volunteers, eg grant writing, organizing cultural events, overseeing/funding field trips. And then a lot of the other things are part and parcel of running a school on a daily basis. I am even going to say that our list might be more substantive than this one but I am out of the country and don’t have access to it at the moment. In any case, I am not convinced this list is necessarily unreasonable, especially given that some of it is meaningless. For an elementary school in our district under 500 students there is a principal, 1.75 clerical staff and a couple of part time campus aides. They have a year to do this stuff. :-). It would be interesting to see a breakdown of how much they actually get done. I would expect that IEPs take a significant amount of time. Evaluation of teachers and staff might also take a huge chunk of time if they are a principal who actually does that.

            Btw, I don’t see monitoring carbon dioxide levels in the classrooms. After that recent report, that is really something that should be given priority.

            • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

              Btw, I'd just like to clarify my post a bit. My goal was not to argue or even imply that we have sufficient resources at the site level, rather to objectively analyze the list of tasks from a reasonability and effort perspective. On the contrary, there are many things I dislike greatly about our current setup. One of the most important ones is how our culture of volunteerism has contributed to a lowered level of commitment … Read More

              Btw, I’d just like to clarify my post a bit. My goal was not to argue or even imply that we have sufficient resources at the site level, rather to objectively analyze the list of tasks from a reasonability and effort perspective.
              On the contrary, there are many things I dislike greatly about our current setup. One of the most important ones is how our culture of volunteerism has contributed to a lowered level of commitment from our government funded entities. The fact that we have to raise money from the community to hire people to do some of the items on this list (or have people do them for free) is not only sad, but it obscures the very boundaries of responsibility and commitment.
              And just because these items are on some list and maybe even being checked off as ‘getting done’ does not mean they are getting done properly. One of the biggest problems in public education today is the mismatch between expectations and reality. Some of this is as a result of apathy, some is as a result of not wanting to know, some as a result of intentionally misleading people because in the end the public cares little if you don’t have the resources to do what they expect you do be doing. I happen to believe its better to communicate what it is you can’t do rather than pretend like you’re doing things you’re not. But that’s just me.

            • el 3 years ago3 years ago

              I would agree. As a volunteer, I helped write the technology plan for our district - I'm a technology expert, a fluent writer, :-), and was well able to do that. I suspect not every district has someone like me just wandering about. It's part of the unequal resources that some districts have over others - so the system ends up looking at districts that don't have them and wonder why Those People can't get … Read More

              I would agree. As a volunteer, I helped write the technology plan for our district – I’m a technology expert, a fluent writer, :-), and was well able to do that. I suspect not every district has someone like me just wandering about. It’s part of the unequal resources that some districts have over others – so the system ends up looking at districts that don’t have them and wonder why Those People can’t get their effing act together.

            • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

              OK, this is a reply to your 6:33 am post. (Go and enjoy your vacation!) I take it, then, that many of the administration duties are passed on to volunteers so that if those good souls would not be around the work load would be, you guessed it, back on the administrator's shoulders! (I know, for example, that my kids' high school principal would answer the phones himself because they took away staff.) But that is what … Read More

              OK, this is a reply to your 6:33 am post. (Go and enjoy your vacation!)

              I take it, then, that many of the administration duties are passed on to volunteers so that if those good souls would not be around the work load would be, you guessed it, back on the administrator’s shoulders! (I know, for example, that my kids’ high school principal would answer the phones himself because they took away staff.)

              But that is what happens in LAUSD unless you happen to work at certain schools! Of course, in that case your other duties include making parents happy.

              Anyway, it is not surprising that many of them cannot truly supervise teachers given this craziness. As long as there are no complaints, reason some of them, things must be going fine.

              It is not an ideal situation…

            • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

              I think that since they don’t have wood stoves in the classrooms, there is no need to check on the CO2 levels. 😉

              Seriously, though, I have the feeling that principal’s duties are more involved than you think. It was often my experience that “my” high school principal was always doing something when I looked him up. And I hear from a reliable source that elementary school principals are similarly overburdened. And still they rise…

            • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

              And where in the world would we get funding for wood stoves? ;-) Yeah, I didn't mean to say that their tasks are not involved, I was just pointing out how that list may be shorter than it looks. Although that doc asks the district to prioritize these items I think it would be helpful for the principals to provide guidance on what they are a actually able to achieve. Personally, if these things are really so … Read More

              And where in the world would we get funding for wood stoves? 😉

              Yeah, I didn’t mean to say that their tasks are not involved, I was just pointing out how that list may be shorter than it looks.

              Although that doc asks the district to prioritize these items I think it would be helpful for the principals to provide guidance on what they are a actually able to achieve. Personally, if these things are really so many asto cause all of them either to get done only halfway or not at all then I’d suggest getting rid of all the accountability pieces (SSC, school site plan, data analysis, even state testing etc). While ideally those things would happen, they are essentially unfunded mandates that appear to be taking away from actual education. If that’s really true…

        • el 3 years ago3 years ago

          A lot of this process as written was about protecting teachers from horrible principals. I can see that there was probably a time when that was a reasonable direction to go, especially when the teachers were mostly women and the administrators were mostly men. However. I think we need to rethink this, and reconsider that instead we might assume that our principals and our school boards are excellent and thoughtful and good at what they do … Read More

          A lot of this process as written was about protecting teachers from horrible principals. I can see that there was probably a time when that was a reasonable direction to go, especially when the teachers were mostly women and the administrators were mostly men.

          However. I think we need to rethink this, and reconsider that instead we might assume that our principals and our school boards are excellent and thoughtful and good at what they do — wait there’s more — and then when they’re not, act to remove and replace nonviable management.

          Reality is: if your school board and your principal don’t want you SO MUCH that they will go through this process, I find it hard to imagine that that teacher will be effective and happy in that situation. I say that without judgement of who is right or who is wrong.

          If principals and school boards are removing good teachers, they need to be removed, or the school cannot function.

          So my thought is, shorten the process, create more local control, but also create more sunshine in cases where the school board and administration aren’t acting in good faith.

      • CarolineSF 3 years ago3 years ago

        The term “advocacy journalism” is definitely an understatement in the L.A. Weekly’s case. I’ve followed its coverage of the parent trigger and other education issues.

        • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

          They don’t do advocacy. They do hatchet jobs. And it can all be traced to Stewart who was put there after the LA Weekly was sold to the owner of New Times L.A. (which had been closed earlier) which caused an exodus of the progressives that were in the Weekly.

      • el 3 years ago3 years ago

        I often find myself pointing out to people who talk about how few teachers are “fired” that in fact the number of teachers who leave the profession is actually quite large. Many of those are masked as voluntary and have no record of the person being, ahem, heavily persuaded.

        • CarolineSF 3 years ago3 years ago

          This is what I’ve seen in the real world of schools — exactly what El describes.

  11. Gary Ravani 3 years ago3 years ago

    The following are excerpts taken from the site of the CA State Auditor in an analysis done of events in LAUSD where all the "excitement" was originally generated. You can read the full report, of course. In the report you will find a district unable to explain many things, required actions not completed in a timely fashion by the district, and at least one administrator "unable" to accomplish a necessary task. At no point is … Read More

    The following are excerpts taken from the site of the CA State Auditor in an analysis done of events in LAUSD where all the “excitement” was originally generated. You can read the full report, of course. In the report you will find a district unable to explain many things, required actions not completed in a timely fashion by the district, and at least one administrator “unable” to accomplish a necessary task. At no point is the process of dismissing teachers called into question, nor do any of the recommendations call for legislation dismantling teachers’ due process rights, nor the elimination of the Commission on Professional Competence.

    Again, these are excerpts:

    However, we found that the district did not always act in a timely manner on some allegations during the investigation process. Although a criminal investigation conducted by law enforcement might cause the district to delay or put on hold an administrative investigation by the district, we found some delays in the investigation process that the district was unable to justify. For example, until the district’s investigations unit took it, one case we reviewed did not move forward for almost 14 of the more than 18 months that it was open. The local district was unable to explain what occurred during that 14-month time period.
    In addition, the district follows a progressive discipline process and state laws related to dismissing employees, both of which increase the time for the district to see a case to its conclusion. Nonetheless, for cases we reviewed, the district could not adequately explain some delays in disciplining or dismissing certain employees suspected of child abuse. For example, in one case, we noted an eight-month delay between the time that the district’s investigations unit released a report concerning a child abuse allegation and the date on which the school’s principal issued a memo to the employee about the incident, with no indication of anything occurring in the interim. According to district staff, the principal struggled to write the memo.
    The district is responsible for keeping an employee who is being investigated for misconduct away from the school site during the investigation. The district’s policy for addressing this responsibility is to house the employee… The length of time that the employee is housed can range from a day to years, depending on the time it takes to make a determination on the case. During this time, the district continues paying the employee’s salary.
    Our review found that the length of time and the expense of the process for dismissing the district’s certificated employees suspected of child abuse contribute to the district’s entering into settlement agreements rather than continuing with attempts to dismiss the employees. State law outlines the dismissal process that must be used for certificated and classified employees…In contrast, the process for dismissing certificated employees is more lengthy and expensive for the district. Certificated employees who appeal their dismissals are each entitled to a hearing before the Commission of Professional Competence. As a result, the district may decide to reach a settlement agreement with certificated employees rather than attempt to continue with this lengthy process. The district has made some efforts to track settlement agreements; however, none of its tracking efforts provides the total cost of the settlement or complete information on the nature of the misconduct…We believe this information could help the district identify and analyze patterns and trends associated with providing settlements, which could help streamline and make the process less expensive.

    Replies

    • el 3 years ago3 years ago

      This comment suggests to me that going to a 7 month process would be a significant help in keeping the district’s eye on the ball.

      • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

        El: this maybe the case in small districts that are open with the stakeholders. But in large districts like LAUSD where there are so many parties to any investigation, it may not be necessarily so. It might also not apply to districts that are run like fiefdoms. YMMV…

    • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

      Gary, could you please provide a link to that report? I am extremely curious to see what it has to say as one of the teachers in the high school my kids was attended was accused but, I've been told, eventually exonerated (apparently the charges could not be proven). He never came back and I am sure he has retired (he did ask that his credentials be revoked during the investigation, but he did not … Read More

      Gary, could you please provide a link to that report? I am extremely curious to see what it has to say as one of the teachers in the high school my kids was attended was accused but, I’ve been told, eventually exonerated (apparently the charges could not be proven). He never came back and I am sure he has retired (he did ask that his credentials be revoked during the investigation, but he did not ask they be reinstated).

      The worse part is that the principal was not informed of the charges so he was left to “wing it” with parents and the media. Of course, he had no idea of what the accusations were about.

  12. el 3 years ago3 years ago

    To make my comments clear, I think there are very few "bad" teachers that need to go through this process - but they do exist, and the process needs to be doable. Sexual abuse is the one that gets everyone's attention, but it's not the only possibility. Speaking hypothetically here, suppose you have a teacher whose grading makes no sense, that when examined by the principal has no obvious correlation to the students' work. Or … Read More

    To make my comments clear, I think there are very few “bad” teachers that need to go through this process – but they do exist, and the process needs to be doable.

    Sexual abuse is the one that gets everyone’s attention, but it’s not the only possibility. Speaking hypothetically here, suppose you have a teacher whose grading makes no sense, that when examined by the principal has no obvious correlation to the students’ work. Or perhaps a teacher who belittles the students, or just particular students. This can be very damaging and needs to be dealt with. It’s not common, not at all, but if it does happen, and counseling and corrective action from admin is unsuccessful, there has to be a way to get that person away from kids. All of us want that, perhaps especially the other teachers in that school.

    It’s okay for the process to be rare – ideally in fact. What makes everyone kind of retch is that the way the system works now is that when we find that rare person who suddenly cannot be trusted with kids, the choices are to leave that person with kids or pay them to do nothing until those 18 months pass by. Neither option leaves anyone feeling like they’ve done right by the kids.

    So how do we build a system that is fair to teachers, the guilty, the innocent, and the railroaded, that recognizes that every dollar spent on it is a dollar that isn’t being spent on kids?

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 3 years ago3 years ago

      El: Under most circumstances the employee, in order to continue receiving compensation, must post a bond that guarantees that if they are convicted of an offense and thereby dismissed the district is repaid those dollars. An employee who is "legitimately" charged with a serious offense against students is removed from the classroom a soon as the administrator has done an investigation. And sometimes before. I say "legitimate" because there are numerous cases where students and/or … Read More

      El:

      Under most circumstances the employee, in order to continue receiving compensation, must post a bond that guarantees that if they are convicted of an offense and thereby dismissed the district is repaid those dollars. An employee who is “legitimately” charged with a serious offense against students is removed from the classroom a soon as the administrator has done an investigation. And sometimes before. I say “legitimate” because there are numerous cases where students and/or parents make illegitimate charges and I have seen it done any number of times. A savvy administer can usually pick apart these illegitimate cases with a little “detective” work. Teachers, in their regular course of duties re grading, discipline, etc., do get on the wrong side of students and parents and some do seek revenge.

  13. Gary Ravani 3 years ago3 years ago

    John:

    I trust you will correct your erroneous statement about the composition of the Commission on Professional Competence.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 3 years ago3 years ago

      There was no error, Gary, but happy to elaborate to dispel a possible misconception.
      There are two teachers on the Commission, but the teacher facing charges gets to select one and the district selects the other. My understanding is the person of the district’s choice sometimes is an administrator who had worked as a teacher.

      • Gary Ravani 3 years ago3 years ago

        The Ed Code (44944) calls for "one member" to be selected by the employee and "one member" by the "governing board" aka, management. "Teacher" is not mentioned, though the person must have a "currently valid credential," and that could be teaching or administrative credential. Members of the Commission cannot be relatives of any of the parties, nor can they be from the same district. "My understanding is the person of the district’s choice sometimes is an … Read More

        The Ed Code (44944) calls for “one member” to be selected by the employee and “one member” by the “governing board” aka, management. “Teacher” is not mentioned, though the person must have a “currently valid credential,” and that could be teaching or administrative credential. Members of the Commission cannot be relatives of any of the parties, nor can they be from the same district.

        “My understanding is the person of the district’s choice sometimes is an administrator who had worked as a teacher.”

        Really?

        Do you know of a circumstance where a district has appointed a member other than an administrator? Going on 40 years or so of experience in education I have not heard of one.

        Though the letter of the Ed Code provision would seem to “allow” two teachers, it certainly doesn’t require it as was implied. That canard was first generated by the Schwarzenegger administration in their failed ballot initiative campaigns.

        The jury will “disregard” that last statement that they heard/read; and, by the way Quasimodo will you please un-ring that bell that just tolled.

        • Kevin Martinez 3 years ago3 years ago

          Thanks for the Ed. Code citation, but you really ought to cite it correctly. "The member selected by the governing board and the member selected by the employee shall not be related to the employee and shall not be employees of the district initiating the dismissal or suspension and shall hold a currently valid credential and have at least five years' experience within the past 10 years in the discipline of the employee." (Section 44944 (a)(5)(b)(2)). It doesn't say the … Read More

          Thanks for the Ed. Code citation, but you really ought to cite it correctly. “The member selected by the governing board and the member
          selected by the employee shall not be related to the employee and
          shall not be employees of the district initiating the dismissal or
          suspension and shall hold a currently valid credential and have at
          least five years’ experience within the past 10 years in the
          discipline of the employee.” (Section 44944 (a)(5)(b)(2)). It doesn’t say the two members can’t be from the same district as each other. In fact, the parties need to find panel members from elsewhere in just the same discipline matching the employee’s and with enough recent experience. Note, this isn’t only in cases where the professional competence of the individual is in question. Clang away.

        • el 3 years ago3 years ago

          There’s an interesting assumption across the board that teachers on the CPC would always vote to retain a teacher in a case before it. I find that surprising… and provably wrong since CPC does in fact vote to dismiss teachers in some cases before it.

          Teachers don’t enjoy working with incompetent, subordinate, or creepy colleagues.

      • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

        At the risk of seeming to pile on, I have to state that this is a distinction without a difference. Nuance in here is important: the Ed Code says that those chosen to serve in the panels must be holding a "currently valid credential." A school district may name a teacher to represent it, true. If that were to happen, would the district representative represent the interests of the district or the teacher? Logic dictates that … Read More

        At the risk of seeming to pile on, I have to state that this is a distinction without a difference.

        Nuance in here is important: the Ed Code says that those chosen to serve in the panels must be holding a “currently valid credential.” A school district may name a teacher to represent it, true. If that were to happen, would the district representative represent the interests of the district or the teacher? Logic dictates that this person would be there to represent the district, not the teacher.

        Thus, to remark, in what I consider influential article, that the panels consist of two teachers and an administrative law judge is to throw red meat to those who, like JTF above, have a particular ax to grind. There is no need to muddy the waters, John. I would hope that you dispel the misconception in the article itself, rather than in the comments.

        It is often cited, by people like JTF, that the process is designed to not fire teachers. I have only seen the outcome of one such review: the one recently done on the teacher accused of CST cheating at LAUSD’s Hart Elementary. The panel remarked that the District could only prove one single instance of cheating and that, therefore, under state case law, the District had to retrain the teacher. Not surprisingly, Superintendent Deasy has vehemently disagreed and has threatened to take it to the next level. I don’t understand how this could be dragged any further. IANAL, but I would think that the District gave its best shot only to be told that current interpretation of the law indicates they will lose unless they take it all the way to the California Supreme Court and manage to win there.

        Anyways, while technically correct in your assertion, I believe, John, you ought to change the language to reflect reality. (BTW, I checked the names of the members of the panel I mentioned and found that one member does not have a clear credential on anything at this time. According to the CTC site, this person’s last credential was as a “Short-Term Staff Permit” and it lapsed on 8/1/2008. Given this, I wonder how the CTC panel members are actually chosen. It is likely that the process is not what we think it is and I sense there’s a good muckraking article in there.)

        • John Fensterwald 3 years ago3 years ago

          Manuel: I have corrected the story, as you suggested. What I have not been able to verify -- since I am off this week and supposedly on vacation -- is Gary's statement that only administrators have been chosen by districts, not teachers. During testimony on the bill, district and administrator groups have complained that it is difficult to find a panelist with 5 years' experience (it would become 3 years under the bill) in the accused … Read More

          Manuel: I have corrected the story, as you suggested. What I have not been able to verify — since I am off this week and supposedly on vacation — is Gary’s statement that only administrators have been chosen by districts, not teachers.

          During testimony on the bill, district and administrator groups have complained that it is difficult to find a panelist with 5 years’ experience (it would become 3 years under the bill) in the accused teacher’s academic discipline. They particularly questioned the relevance of this requirement in cases involving misconduct. (I can see the importance in cases involving poor performance, when subject matter knowledge is relevant.)

          • Skeptic 3 years ago3 years ago

            Out of curiosity, what is the make up of the panels deciding on a lawyer disbarment or a doctor’s medical license revocation?
            Maybe there is a model that could be followed?

          • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

            Thank you, John, for the change. I hope that you enjoy your vacation and when you come back can take a look at how the panels are constituted. Perhaps Gary can share some insights onto how this is done. I have not had the opportunity to dig through this, but the arguments you mention should probably be disseminated to ensure that those of us sitting in the peanut gallery can better appreciate the complexity of the issues. Given … Read More

            Thank you, John, for the change.

            I hope that you enjoy your vacation and when you come back can take a look at how the panels are constituted. Perhaps Gary can share some insights onto how this is done.

            I have not had the opportunity to dig through this, but the arguments you mention should probably be disseminated to ensure that those of us sitting in the peanut gallery can better appreciate the complexity of the issues.

            Given the zero-policy on sexual misconduct, I think that such situations need to be handled by panels that are more knowledgeable in those matters. The general citizenry is repelled by these cases and there is need to involve personnel used to handle this type of accusations when there is doubt on the veracity of the testimony.

  14. CarolineSF 3 years ago3 years ago

    Since I've long followed education policy discussion, I'm going to lay out the background of this conversation. (Disclaimer that in my profession I recuse myself from working on news involving teachers' employment rights, as my husband is a teachers' union member and both my mother and my mother-in-law get small teachers' union pensions.) * A frequent complaint is that "it's impossible to fire bad teachers" -- meaning that teachers' due process rights make it harder to … Read More

    Since I’ve long followed education policy discussion, I’m going to lay out the background of this conversation. (Disclaimer that in my profession I recuse myself from working on news involving teachers’ employment rights, as my husband is a teachers’ union member and both my mother and my mother-in-law get small teachers’ union pensions.)

    * A frequent complaint is that “it’s impossible to fire bad teachers” — meaning that teachers’ due process rights make it harder to remove problem teachers as well as to engage in unjust retribution against worthy teachers for stepping on someone’s toes, unwelcome outspokenness and so forth.

    * There are (rare but dismaying) cases of truly abusive teachers’ being allowed to continue teaching and not being dealt with, left in classrooms to continue abusing kids. Is it clear whether those situations are due to administrative inaction/inertia or whether those teachers’ due process rights truly prevented their being dealt with in extreme cases of wrongdoing, lawbreaking and endangerment of children?

    * There are other, less flagrant situations — “ineffective,” struggling or troubled teachers who are not helped, corrected, removed, etc. — to varying degrees. Is this due to administrative inaction/inertia or to teachers’ due process rights?

    * Meanwhile, a message from powerful forces in education reform promotes the view that “bad teachers” are the cause of low-performing (“failed”)schools, and this is widely believed. The better-informed view knows that because poverty correlates closely with low achievement, a “bad teacher” in a high-poverty school can be a “good teacher” in a high-income school.

    * That same viewpoint promotes the current trend toward evaluating teachers based on their students’ test scores. Critics point out that test scores correlate closely with socioeconomic status and parental education level (this is why wags refer to the API as the Affluent Parent Index) and that this policy thus punishes teachers who serve low-income students and rewards those who teach in high-wealth schools.

    * That same viewpoint also promotes the message that the difficulty of firing bad teachers is the cause of low-performing schools (we saw this hammered hard in “Waiting for ‘Superman,’,” for example) leading to ongoing efforts to weaken teachers’ job security and due-process rights.

    * Currently, there’s also a trend in some circles to conflate the point above with the rare but awful cases of abusive teachers. The New York Daily News and TV personality Campbell Brown are waging an ongoing campaign to portray the teaching profession (public* K-12) as a nest of sex abusers, and to blame this on their due-process rights. (*This is a bit ironic as right there in NYC, the big recent sex abuse scandal news has been about a super-elite private boys’ school, Horace Mann, where employment is presumably at will.)

    To me, the public discourse seems to be lacking in efforts to sort out all these pieces and get at the real issues. To start with just one question, in real life, did teachers’ due-process rights lead to the inaction/inertia of the Los Angeles Unified School District in getting Mark Berndt out of the classroom for years after reports about him first surfaced, and eventually paying him off? Or was LAUSD entirely at fault for not dealing with the situation effectively?

    What entity better to sort this out than EdSource Today? You have the expertise, the resources, the trained journalists and the specialized focus on education.

    Replies

    • CarolineSF 3 years ago3 years ago

      Just saw this piece on Time.com about why we love to hate “bad” teachers.

      http://ideas.time.com/2013/07/08/we-love-to-hate-the-bad-teacher/

      It describes the sensationalist frenzy quite well. Again, EdSource is perfectly positioned to be the responsible, professional foil to the New York Daily News and sort this out — beyond turn-of-the-screw reporting on the progress of legislation.

  15. JTF 3 years ago3 years ago

    Buchanan’s vote against Padilla’s AB1530 last year was despicable. She was simply following her orders from the CTA.
    As long as there are two teachers on the three member Commission on Professional Competence to pass judgement on teacher firings, any reform is impossible…

    Replies

    • Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 3 years ago3 years ago

      Thank you for emphasizing this crucial point about how a teacher in California gets fired: the final arbiter Commission on Professional Competence is comprised of two teachers and one administrative law judge, working far from the teacher’s home school district. This is not “due process:” it is justice highjacked by Sacramento’s most powerful lobby, the California Teachers Association.

      • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

        This is simply untrue as it is made clear by a careful reading of Ed Code 44944(b)(1) and (2) as already mentioned by Gary. Here is the text: ------ The hearing provided for in this section shall be conducted by a Commission on Professional Competence. One member of the commission shall be selected by the employee, one member shall be selected by the governing board, and one member shall be an administrative law judge of the Office of Administrative Hearings … Read More

        This is simply untrue as it is made clear by a careful reading of Ed Code 44944(b)(1) and (2) as already mentioned by Gary. Here is the text:

        ——
        The hearing provided for in this section shall be
        conducted by a Commission on Professional Competence. One member of
        the commission shall be selected by the employee, one member shall be
        selected by the governing board, and one member shall be an
        administrative law judge of the Office of Administrative Hearings who
        shall be chairperson and a voting member of the commission and shall
        be responsible for assuring that the legal rights of the parties are
        protected at the hearing. If either the governing board or the
        employee for any reason fails to select a commission member at least
        seven calendar days prior to the date of the hearing, the failure
        shall constitute a waiver of the right to selection, and the county
        board of education or its specific designee shall immediately make
        the selection. If the county board of education is also the governing
        board of the school district or has by statute been granted the
        powers of a governing board, the selection shall be made by the
        Superintendent, who shall be reimbursed by the school district for
        all costs incident to the selection.
        (2) The member selected by the governing board and the member
        selected by the employee shall not be related to the employee and
        shall not be employees of the district initiating the dismissal or
        suspension and shall hold a currently valid credential and have at
        least five years’ experience within the past 10 years in the
        discipline of the employee.

        ——

    • Gary Ravani 3 years ago3 years ago

      JTF: You manage to get right to the point of much of what is considered "education reform" in its current context and following the "conventional wisdom." That is to say: You have no idea what you are talking about. The three person panel, the Commission on Professional Competence, convened under law to hear teacher dismissal cases does NOT have three teachers on it. The membership consists of an administrative law judge, one individual chosen by the teacher (a … Read More

      JTF:

      You manage to get right to the point of much of what is considered “education reform” in its current context and following the “conventional wisdom.”

      That is to say: You have no idea what you are talking about.

      The three person panel, the Commission on Professional Competence, convened under law to hear teacher dismissal cases does NOT have three teachers on it. The membership consists of an administrative law judge, one individual chosen by the teacher (a teacher), and one individual chosen by the district management (an administrator).

  16. Paul Muench 3 years ago3 years ago

    It would seem that shortening the time between charges and a hearing would incent better collection of evidence before charges are brought. In general that seems like a desirable outcome as long as some other rule doesn't prevent such action. Although if any change in the charging behavior of districts provides more opportunity for abusive teachers to harm children it will be very hard to convince parents this is a good change. … Read More

    It would seem that shortening the time between charges and a hearing would incent better collection of evidence before charges are brought. In general that seems like a desirable outcome as long as some other rule doesn’t prevent such action. Although if any change in the charging behavior of districts provides more opportunity for abusive teachers to harm children it will be very hard to convince parents this is a good change. Anything in existing law to prevent this undesirable outcome?

    Replies

    • Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

      It's important to remember that existing law requires that teachers be placed on leave while allegations of miscomduct are pending. Changing the length of the hearing process has no bearing on that issue: teachers under suspicion are barred from the classroom. Separately from any local employment-related action, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing is also required to monitor police records. The CTC can suspend, and ultimately revoke, credentials -- and is legally compelled to, for serious convictions. … Read More

      It’s important to remember that existing law requires that teachers be placed on leave while allegations of miscomduct are pending. Changing the length of the hearing process has no bearing on that issue: teachers under suspicion are barred from the classroom.

      Separately from any local employment-related action, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing is also required to monitor police records. The CTC can suspend, and ultimately revoke, credentials — and is legally compelled to, for serious convictions. Thus, the CTC process provides another way to keep teachers who are under suspicion out of the classroom until guilt or innocence has been determined.

  17. Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

    It would make sense to follow a different path for alleged unsatisfactory performance than for alleged misconduct. I'd like to know the relative prevalence of those two broad categories. There is no reason to further streamline dismissals for unsatisfactory performance. School districts can easily get rid of teachers who are new to the profession or new to a district. Temporary teachers, who serve in large numbers according to the recent SRI study, are automatically released at … Read More

    It would make sense to follow a different path for alleged unsatisfactory performance than for alleged misconduct. I’d like to know the relative prevalence of those two broad categories.

    There is no reason to further streamline dismissals for unsatisfactory performance. School districts can easily get rid of teachers who are new to the profession or new to a district. Temporary teachers, who serve in large numbers according to the recent SRI study, are automatically released at the end of the year. Probationary teachers — those in their first two consecutive, non-temporary, full-time years with their current district — can be “non-re-elected” without cause. Despite the intention that successful teachers receive due process rights (“tenure”) after two years with a district, only 45% of third-year California teachers actually have tenure, according to SRI.

    Given that non-tenured teachers are subject to dismissal without cause, that the tenure process is slower than the legislature intended, and that the tenure window reopens every time a teacher changes districts, the standard for dismissing a tenured teacher for unsatisfactory performance should be very high indeed.

    On the question of alleged misconduct, this bill is a mixed bag.

    Summer Notice: The author of the bill considers it a matter of common sense that dismissal proceedings should begin during the summer if alleged misconduct occurs during the summer. She cites summer school teaching as an example. This change should apply only to teachers who actually teach during the summer. Teachers who are not paid to be present during the summer should not be required to engage with their employers during that time. (Though some teachers receive monthly checks, total pay for all non-charter public school teachers is calculated on a strict per diem basis; in other words, there is no pay for non-teaching days, such as summer.)

    Discovery Procedures: I don’t know the details of the Superior Court discovery process that the author wants to cast aside, but this in and of itself makes me suspicious. When a new, non-standard process is substituted for well-established, standard one, there is usually some reason. Whose rights is the author trying to take away, those of teachers or those of school districts?

    Grounds for Suspension: The proposed bill adds alleged murder and alleged attempted murder to the list of grounds for mandatory leave. This makes sense. On the other hand, some would argue that adding alleged use of marijuana during non-work hours is intrusive. Without agreeing or disagreeing — the issue isn’t relevant to me — I will say that I found this opinion interesting:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-reiman/dont-fire-teachers-for-pr_b_3518923.html

    Share of Costs: The proposed bill lets school districts off the hook for hearing costs if a court reverses a panel decision that was favorable to a school district, and lets employees off the hook if a court reverses a decision that was favorable to an employee. I believe that school districts — who are, after all, the originators of dismissal requests — should pay all hearing costs. Ability to pay affects access to legal protections. A hearing process that is too expensive for an individual, and for which the ultimate financial responsibility is unknown at the outset, includes a built-in bias against teachers and in favor of school districts.

    In discussing this bill, we should remember that the purpose of due process is to determine WHETHER there is a reason to dismiss a teacher. The typical language of the debate assumes guilt, as if the only purpose were to decide HOW FAST a teacher should be dismissed.

  18. Paul Bruno (@MrPABruno) 3 years ago3 years ago

    There are probably some situations where dismissing a teacher is unnecessarily difficult and time-consuming to do, but the reality is that "administrators unable to dismiss good teachers because of due process rights" is just not that big of a problem. http://scholasticadministrator.typepad.com/thisweekineducation/2012/08/bruno-what-if-tenure-is-good-for-everybody.html Principals want to dismiss only a small fraction of teachers in the first place, and frequently aren't even interested in doing rigorous formal evaluations. Most of the teachers they do want to dismiss are pre-tenure … Read More

    There are probably some situations where dismissing a teacher is unnecessarily difficult and time-consuming to do, but the reality is that “administrators unable to dismiss good teachers because of due process rights” is just not that big of a problem.

    http://scholasticadministrator.typepad.com/thisweekineducation/2012/08/bruno-what-if-tenure-is-good-for-everybody.html

    Principals want to dismiss only a small fraction of teachers in the first place, and frequently aren’t even interested in doing rigorous formal evaluations. Most of the teachers they do want to dismiss are pre-tenure (and therefore easy to “non-reelect”).

    So it’s probably a mistake for stakeholders to worry quite so much about teacher dismissal as a policy problem. Teachers value the (perceived, but mostly overestimated) job protections, and it costs districts/schools very little to provide. Scaling back those job protections would probably do more harm than good.

    Replies

    • el 3 years ago3 years ago

      I think we can stipulate that the number of people we're talking about is very small, but it also seems to be the case that in a large district like LAUSD the number is at least a handful - and 18 months is a very long time not only for the district but also for the staff member. Paul, I don't really see how the link you cited is all that relevant - this isn't a … Read More

      I think we can stipulate that the number of people we’re talking about is very small, but it also seems to be the case that in a large district like LAUSD the number is at least a handful – and 18 months is a very long time not only for the district but also for the staff member.

      Paul, I don’t really see how the link you cited is all that relevant – this isn’t a bill to grant less tenure. But, it is appropriate to realize that there are certain scenarios where a tenured teacher should no longer be in a classroom, and there needs to be a process for that that is fair. Part of being fair is being timely and affordable for both parties.

      What is supposed to happen differently that makes the seven month time limit actually work? Does the hearing just take place by that date regardless of the state of the evidence or does it default to a particular outcome if the hearing isn’t scheduled?

      Maybe the right approach is that any bill like this is an experiment, where it sunsets after two or three years and then can be rewritten.