Miramonte Sex Scandal Inspires Legislation to Make Firing Teachers Easy: Big Union Says No | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Politics

Miramonte Sex Scandal Inspires Legislation to Make Firing Teachers Easy: Big Union Says No

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Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 7:06 AM

click to enlarge EMORY MAIDEN
  • Emory Maiden
Three bills that would make it easier for school districts to fire allegedly bad teachers are being fought by the powerful California Teachers Association.

Because bad teachers need to stay on the job longer!

Many California Democrats, who have shared bed sheets with the CTA for ages, have been silent on the bills. Strangely, this one hasn't:

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He's got labor in his veins.

But on this one, he's going against the union. Villaraigosa wrote a letter to California legislator Julia Brownley, who chairs the state assembly's education committee, to express his support for assembly bill 2028, which he says would eliminate ...

... barriers to removing educators in cases where there is sufficient evidence to dismiss.

The proposal is scheduled to be heard in Brownley's committee next Wednesday. It proposes to "require districts to remove teachers when there is a reasonable suspicion of a law enforcement investigation," according to a statement from the office of assembly Republican leader Connie Conway, a coauthor of the legislation.

click to enlarge STEVE GARFIELD
  • Steve Garfield

It would also eliminate the current practice of giving weeks' notice to teachers when a district is moving to dismiss them.

The idea, as Conway's office states, is to "remove the red tape so we can speed up the teacher dismissal process."

That's also the aim of two other, similar bills moving their way through Sacramento.

They were drafted in reaction to the Miramonte sex abuse scandal, in which students and parents were kept in the dark for months and the school district had to pay suspect Mark Berndt to go away even though he was eventually accused of nearly two-dozen counts of horrifically lewd acts with his students.

Under state law, thanks to the likes of the CTA, teachers are notified when a district is thinking about getting rid of them, and they're given a chance to refute any disciplinary allegations.

While that's not really the kind of deal the rest of us get (you can pretty much be canned at will and without reason in California), the CTA says the bills would violate teachers' "rights" to "due process."

Really.

Due process really only applies to court matters for most of us, but public school teachers get to duke it out with their bosses who are, ultimately, you. The CTA says the bills "would punish all educators by undermining their due process rights:"

SB 1059, AB 2028, and SB 1530 do not address the cascading failures of leadership in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The bills do not increase district administrators' accountability to ensure that learning environments are safe for our students.

... The bills effectively repeal due process by eliminating timelines for investigation and opportunity to improve.

Uh. Yeah. Alleged molesters deserve the opportunity -- nay, the right! -- to improve.

Don't we all.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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