I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cleaning Up Gov. Ah-nold's Mess

So my brand new, shiny troll keeps bringing up this LA Times report about how hard it is to fire a bad teacher in California, and particularly in LA. That's got to be the teachers' fault; or, at the very least, the union's fault. Right?

The Commission accredits college and university teacher preparation programs, oversees teacher induction programs, and licenses as well as investigates and disciplines teachers facing misconduct and criminal charges. Darling-Hammond’s particular interest is in teacher preparation. But it was deficiencies in handling the policing function, by the Division of Professional Practices, that led to scathing findings in April by State Auditor Elaine Howle. She told the Sacramento Bee the Commission was one of the “worst run” agencies she had encountered in a long time. In June, a month after coming under fire during a Senate hearing, its long-time executive director and its general counsel resigned.
In the report, the auditor’s office found that practices “significantly delayed processing of alleged misconduct and potentially allowed educators of questionable character to retain a credential.”  Two years ago, investigators found a three-year backlog of 12,600 arrest or prosecution reports, resulting in delays in launching investigations and revoking credentials. The audit also found patterns of nepotism in hiring and employees’ perceptions of intimidation. In a follow-up analysis, released last month, Howle reported that the Commission staff had fixed or made substantial progress on 12 of the audit’s 13 recommendations. [emphasis mine]
So there's now a culture of nepotism and intimidation; do you think eliminating tenure will make that better or worse? And is it the union's fault that California has so underfunded its basic education functions that it can't keep pace with its need to police teachers and dismiss bad ones with due process?

I feel for Gov. Jerry Brown: he is going to be cleaning up the Guvernator's messes for years, and he has to do it with a small, insane group of conservatives on his back - the same clowns that put an unqualified, morally questionable, Hollywood-bred hack into the state house (California has a history of that, don't they?).

But at least California can count on a leader who understands the importance of putting real experts like Linda Darling-Hammond into positions of authority and importance. Here in New Jersey, our governor staffs his teacher effectiveness commissions with folks who have little or no experience or qualifications to deal with this stuff; in some cases, their only qualifications seem to be their ability to raise big bucks from Wall Street.

This is as good of an example as I've seen as to how the overblown problems of schools are really the fault of our politicians and their cronies. All of this time they've been pointing the finger at teachers; they really should point it at themselves.


The Perimeter Primate said...

When mayor of Oakland, Jerry Brown despised the public school district. Instead, he tried to undermine them and even set up two charter schools, the Oakland Military Institute and the Oakland School for the Arts. Even today, he uses his deep connections with local philanthropists, businesses, and celebrities to bring in millions of extra dollars for those schools. One year Sean Penn helped bring in the money; another year it was Robert Downey, Jr.

That said, during his gubernatorial campaign, Brown expressed an awareness that ed "reform" was misguided. It was then that he referred to himself as a "reformed reformer." And thus we had the immediate dismissal of a totally charter-friendly state school board and now the appointment of Darling-Hammond.

Duke said...

Interesting. Thanks for that, TPP.