Subsidized Mediocrity

I’ve long been skeptical about labor unions. It’s not that they don’t provide a useful service, it’s just that I believe the negatives far outweigh the positives. This article in the LA Times is actually a well-researched investigation into the problem of tenure for public school teachers and how it protects laziness, incompetence, and borderline criminality. Jason Song backs up the premise he lays out in the early paragraphs:

It’s remarkably difficult to fire a tenured public school teacher in California, a Times investigation has found. The path can be laborious and labyrinthine, in some cases involving years of investigation, union grievances, administrative appeals, court challenges and re-hearings.

Not only is the process arduous, but some districts are particularly unsuccessful in navigating its complexities. The Los Angeles Unified School District sees the majority of its appealed dismissals overturned, and its administrators are far less likely even to try firing a tenured teacher than those in other districts.

Isn’t it reasonable to conclude that something has gone sideways when it’s so hard to rid our schools of unqualified teachers that the authorities simply move them around? Can’t we agree that something needs to change when the preferred method of pushing a teacher out is to harass with in-class observations and vaguely threaten to make life uncomfortable? And, finally, can’t we agree that the unions are part of the problem when they pass the buck with quotes like this?

“The union is bound by law to defend our members, and we do,” said A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles. “That should in no way deter the resolve of the district to do their job, which is to help failing teachers to get better, or, if they can’t, to work to get rid of them.”

So, the same unions that have created the byzantine dismissal processes with review panels an multiple appeals are saying that it’s not their job to help excise the deadwood? In fact, it’s their job to defend the deadwood and it’s the district’s job to prove them wrong. But, fret not, because they assure us that the kids come first.

Reason #418 why we homeschool.

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