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Education Government The Almighty Buck

California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules 399

The L.A. Times reports that a group of students and parents, fed up with what they see as overarching job security in California schools, are suing in the hopes of making harder for poor teachers to stay on the books. From the article: "The lawsuit, filed by the nonprofit, advocacy group Students Matter, contends that these education laws are a violation of the Constitution's equal protection guarantee because they do not ensure that all students have access to an adequate education. Vergara versus California, filed on behalf of nine students and their families, seeks to revamp a dismissal process that the plaintiffs say is too costly and time consuming, lengthen the time it takes for instructors to gain tenure and dismantle the 'last hired, first fired' policies that fail to consider teacher effectiveness. The lawsuit aims to protect the rights of students, teachers and school districts against a "gross disparity" in educational opportunity, lawyers for the plaintiffs said." Perhaps related.
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California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

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  • Re:Dangerous... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @05:10PM (#46075187)
    California teachers are unionized under the California Teachers Association, which is the first or second most powerful union in the state. The other most powerful union is the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (prison guards).
  • Re:This is a scam (Score:2, Informative)

    by Xicor ( 2738029 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @05:14PM (#46075215)
    you obviously dont understand what they are trying to do here. they are trying to make it harder for shit teachers to become unfireable. right now, once a professor gains tenure, it becomes ridiculously hard to fire him/her. in other words, once you gain tenure, you basically cant be fired for any reason short of breaking the law. the current regulations allow for crap teachers to continue teaching even when their students do not learn anything of value. this lawsuit is trying to change that by allowing newer professors to stay in and have the crap professors get fired first.
  • Re:This is a scam (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @05:34PM (#46075359)

    Interestingly, Obama always supported the all-powerful teachers union in Chicago, who managed to get working conditions so good for their members that the schools had to cut the number of teaching days to afford those gold-plated teachers.

    Interestingly, that seems to be completely made up.

    In 2012 there were 170 teaching days for elementary school teachers. After the strike and contract negotiations there were 180 teaching days in 2013. [chicagotribune.com] High school teachers also had a 10 day increase. In both cases, the length of the work day also increased (see the same link as before).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @06:04PM (#46075545)

    In higher ed, tenure is about academic freedom. In K-12 it's a misnomer. All that tenure means (and the technical name is continuing contract) for teachers is that the district has to follow due process to get rid of the louses. They can't just fire at will, which they can do if the teacher has a provisional contract. Admins simply have to do their job, but they tend to want to be buddies with the staff, or use their position to hire relatives, so quality goes to hell. That is not the union's fault; the admins just have to follow procedure and poof teacher-be-gone.

  • Umm no (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @06:17PM (#46075621)

    A little Googling indicates the prison guard union in CA gives twice as much to Democrats as Republicans, and spends much more than that on ballot initiatives.

  • by codepigeon ( 1202896 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @06:31PM (#46075713)
    I had a teacher who was a minotaur. We complained to the superintendant but he wouldn't do anything.

    He would show up 20 minutes late, shit all over the floor, and complain about the humans who tresspass in his forest.

    He wasn't even trying to do his job, but I guess competence or dedication of a teacher can never be questioned.

    This is a true story. Its on the internet so you know its true.
  • Re:My experiences (Score:4, Informative)

    by winwar ( 114053 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @06:31PM (#46075715)

    I'm sorry but the statement that "nothing could be done" is a lie.

    If the teachers were truly ineffective or incompetent, then you should have complained to the school's administrators and insisted that your students be removed. That is your right. If they refused, then you take the issue to the school board. If that doesn't work, you file a complaint with the state (and also against the teachers license if you actually have evidence).

    If you failed to do that, it indicates to me that maybe the teachers really weren't that bad. Because if you did nothing despite knowing there was a problem, you are part of it. When you find ineffective teachers you also have ineffective administrators and schools boards. You can't have one without the other.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @06:54PM (#46075855)

    complained twice about outrageously bad teachers.

    One went into screaming rages periodically with 4th graders.

    One sent kids outside in near-freezing windy weather in shorts and T-shirts, had ridiculously unfair grading, harassed us with idiotic requests (all documented btw)..

    Nothing happened to them. They are both still teaching.

    That's in CA btw..

    > When you find ineffective teachers you also have ineffective administrators and schools boards.

    Bullshit. The cases above were the consequence of teacher unions. Period. Administration agreed with us in both cases, but they could not do anything....

    It pretty much takes a criminal charge against a teacher to get union to cooperate with administration.....

  • Re:Dangerous... (Score:4, Informative)

    by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday January 26, 2014 @06:56PM (#46075877) Homepage

    First of all, why is the Teacher's Union demonized here but the prison guards or border guards' union is not? Food for thought.

    Food for thought? No, not at all. It just shows how deeply biased you are and how tightly your blinders fit that you can't see why. Seriously, pretty much everyone has at least one completely crappy teacher and one ancient past-their-prime marking-time-to-retirement teacher over the course of the travels from K-12. We demonize the teacher's union because they enable and tacitly condone such things.

    Second of all, all you parents in the room, all this bitching about poor teachers is a pretty recent thing

    No, it's not. It goes back at least as far as when I was a kid in the 70's - long before cell phones, widespread 'drugging up', or home video game systems.

    Stop blaming the teachers and look in the fucking mirror.

    While I agree the parents should shoulder their portion of the blame, you need to get out of your echo chamber and into the real world.

  • by phmadore ( 1391487 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @07:23PM (#46076045) Homepage Journal
    I thought everyone else on here would feel like me, and that's that school was a goddamn bad and nefarious joke after the 6th grade or so. I muscled through it because I've always understood that you have to play by the rules to an extent, you have to do a certain number of things to keep the system satisfied with you or you'll lose out in some major way or another. EG, had I not graduated, it might have been a lot harder to get into the school I'm now attending. Still, though, the fact that all these educators who were such fucking rank-and-file, stick-close-to-curriculum (party line, that is, in Mass.) bullshitters earned such a great living doing it... it really opened my eyes to exactly how fucked this world is. I think the goal of the education system should be to get kids to want to seek knowledge on their own. Any teacher who doesn't do that is failing. All of the teachers in my school career who did that? They were way before high school. High school is a bad joke, I'm sorry. Elementary school is where the most money should be spent, if you ask me. And I think there should be a lot - a lot - more technology instruction at that level. I think kids who show aptitude in technology and science should be given the tools, no matter their background, to continue to succeed in those fields -- if it interests them enough to fill out these forms and do these steps. Later it leads to internships? Imagine if they had something like that when we were going to school, 20-somethings. Think of where we'd be.
  • Re:Dangerous... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @07:47PM (#46076235)

    There already is a teacher shortage across the country.

    Not true at all. Most job openings for teachers attract hundreds of qualified applicants for a single position. A local job fair for teachers attracted 700 people, with a line snaking around the block. You can Google for many other examples. Teachers in California make over $70k on average [sacbee.com], get off at 4pm, get three months of vacation, and have gold-plated medical and retirement plans. Why would there be a shortage?

  • Re:Dangerous... (Score:4, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @07:57PM (#46076297)

    Second of all, all you parents in the room, all this bitching about poor teachers is a pretty recent thing

    No, it's not. It goes back at least as far as when I was a kid in the 70's - long before cell phones, widespread 'drugging up', or home video game systems.

    It goes back to at least the 1950's. Why Johnny Can't Read [amazon.com] was a national bestseller in 1955. When Sputnik was launched In 1957, teachers were blamed for letting the Russians beat us into space.

  • by Pizza ( 87623 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @08:21PM (#46076441) Homepage Journal

    When you factor in the cost of living in CA, $70k doesn't go all that far....

    But I digress. Six years ago, starting pay for a *full-time* high school teacher in my former home county of Brevard, FL, was $22k, with another $3k/yr bonus for a "high demand" science/math teacher. Since then, benefits, class sizes, and general conditions have only grown worse. The teachers I know (and I know many) routinely put in 10+ hour days, plus more weekends than not.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal