Friday, October 24, 2014

Not This Anti-Teacher Shit Again

The "reformers" are on the ropes, and the good old media are there to shore them up to lie about the mythical "tenure" teachers don't have and in fact have fewer rights than McDonald's workers:

Meanwhile, the people in public ed who are almost impossible to fire, principals, are protected to the hilt thanks to widespread abuse of the legal system by school districts.

I wrote this over at PerDaily yesterday:

Yes, the public ed system is being purposely failed in order to advance an agenda, an agenda that cannot be separated from what is going on in our country as a whole. Neoliberalism is the problem; it is worldwide in the attempt to pilfer public institutions for private gain.

However, that doesn't truly address what is happening to individual teachers around the country. The truth of the matter is, teachers have NO rights, NO protections, their mythical "tenure" notwithstanding which is only the same rights to a sham hearing as other qualified public employees. People who haven't been through the process, including most teachers, have utterly no clue the games public school districts play to get rid of unwanted employees. They violate the law because they CAN. Administrative law, contracts, even civil law in general, are toilet paper to them. Their lawyers tell them you can do whatever you want, force the wronged party to sue, settle, and sign that all-important gag order so the district can go around and target others. THIS is the dirty secret in public ed, the abuse of the legal system to protect administrators. Try getting any lawyer to take your case when you are dumped--it is almost impossible. Try finding any union attorney who will tell you of your rights to file an EEOC claim or recommend civil options in addition to the administrative hearings--it's almost impossible. Try resuming any kind of career after being illegally fired--it's almost impossible. Try pulling yourself out of destitution because of a school district's illegal termination--it's almost impossible.

Until we have an honest look at how school district legal teams and administrators truly operate and how teachers' rights are routinely trashed, nothing will change.

And it isn't just limited to teachers. At my old school district, Washoe County School District in Nevada, there has been a huge outcry over the district's illegal dumping of its superintendent Pedro Martinez (who was a Broad academy graduate) because the school board wanted somebody they could control easier. His contract was completely trashed, the state Open Meeting Law violated (the board members responsible were fined 1500 apiece for that). He sued, just as the district hoped he would, settled, and had to sign a gag order. The district "won" despite its reputation being thrown into the gutter over this controversy. They got him out. That was the important thing. Similar things happen to teachers all the time, but the public very rarely hears about it. In the Martinez case, the public got to see the district for what it really is. Multiply that by thousands of school districts and thousands of teachers and other district staff every year. It's a huge problem.

School districts operate above the law because they can. It isn't "their" money that they waste. The legal system is not supposed to be used as a first resort, but school districts routinely do it.


I would add my frequently made comments that school districts play semantic games when it comes to firing teachers. The term "fired" isn't used by school districts. Teachers are "non-renewed," "forced to resign," "resigned in lieu of dismissal (taking a severance package instead of going through a sham hearing)," and go through a "dismissal" hearing and lose, and they are all firings. Only those few who go through a termination hearing and lose these rigged tribunals are considered "dismissed," but it's basically a distinction without any meaningful difference. ALL are terminations of employment--firings, not layoffs due to funding or enrollment. Almost all school district applications will ask the dummy questions mentioning all of those types of terminations (a few won't ask about non-renewals, but that doesn't necessarily mean those teachers will get jobs since school districts put "do not rehire" after their names), and the teacher is forever blackballed. Yours truly can't get anything other than short-term jobs or substituting, so I doubt I will ever again be able to resume a career in education in any meaningful way. It was the district's doing, not mine, that put me in this situation.

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