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    Think about the … teachers?

    Think about the … teachers?

    The WSJ today had a fascinating article about how hard it is to fire teachers, particularly ones with tenure, in NJ. James Smith, the head of security of Paterson NJ’s public schools, gave a great insight to the protections offered to teachers, even when they are blatantly abusing their position:

    Trying to get rid of teachers is “10 times more difficult than any criminal case I’ve ever worked on,” he said.

    One recent case the retired police captain points to is that of a special-education teacher who for years had been accused by students, parents and other teachers of hitting students. The case dragged on for four years and cost Paterson more than $400,000 to finally get the teacher dismissed. That included more than $280,000 the teacher collected in salary (even though he was no longer working) while the case was argued.

    Mr. Smith, 55 years old, estimates that he has filed one to two tenure charges a year—usually in cases where teachers won’t resign when confronted with his allegations.Few in New Jersey attempt what Mr. Smith does. In 2008, the last year for which the state Department of Education provides statistics, only 35 tenure cases were filed in the state. Nineteen resulted in the loss of tenure. There are more than 120,000 teachers in the state, and more than 600 school districts. Paterson is one of the state’s largest districts, with 52 schools and 24,000 students.

    He said he stands out because he employs his police skills, and said it would be hard for principals to know how to do the same. “Just like I wouldn’t know what the benchmarks are for reading in the fourth grade,” Mr. Smith said, most school districts lack the expertise to successfully dismiss teachers.

    For one, witnesses have to be found and interviewed. Sometimes, he said, they are afraid to come forward. In those cases, he uses what he calls his “people skills,” assuring the witnesses—whether fellow teachers, students or parents—that he will “be there for them every step of the way” when they testify.

    The article is well-worth reading and gives great insights to the perversion that is ubiquitous in heavily unionized school districts. Smith is doing a great job by making sure students don’t have to be abused or given a shoddy education thanks to some arm-twisting union leader. While Chris Christie may be the face of reform in NJ, it’s people like Smith who are making it work.

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    sort of runic rhyme | December 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Where bureaucracy, the law, shame, common sense and parents fail the kids.

    I especially include parents, because they cluelessly keep voting in corrupt or weak school boards and teacher-centric policies that are more about nest feathering and job security than giving honest accountings of their compulsory education paid for with confiscatory taxes.

    Good for James Smith, Gov. Christie and warrior others fighting the right fight.

    .

    Oh good. Let's blame the unions.

    "In 2008, the last year for which the state Department of Education provides statistics, only 35 tenure cases were filed in the state. Nineteen resulted in the loss of tenure. There are more than 120,000 teachers in the state, and more than 600 school districts. Paterson is one of the state's largest districts, with 52 schools and 24,000 students."

    120000 teachers, you point to one incident and you want to strip the workers of their tenure and union protection. Due process is a good thing. It keeps management honest. The only protections in the work place workers have comes from being united together in protecting themselves from failed leaders and their lackeys.

    Any time the states or corporations wish to take away a person's livelyhood then it must be required to show cause all the way to the end. Does one have to remind you it is called contract law entered into by consenting parties? You want to make it easier for the state to get rid of people and deny them their livelyhood because you are too lazy to follow the rules that the state governments were equal partners in of the negotiation?!

    "… the perversion that is ubiquitous in heavily unionized school districts. Smith is doing a great job by making sure students don't have to be abused or given a shoddy education thanks to some arm-twisting union leader."

    Unions of workers represent the last hope for protection of working people. Given the environment where failing corporate managers and their pundit lackeys routinely blame the workers for the catastrophic management decisions being made by the managers, the workers need to stick together.

    Need one remind you and your readers that highly paid corporation managers make all decisions? Yet who gets blamed by the elitist pundits when the corporations go bankrupt? It was the unions' fault!

    USA has multi-millionaire Congresspeople ripping off Social Security from the poor people so that their billionaire masters do not have to pay their fair share of taxes.
    (http://legalinsurrection.blogspot.com/2009/02/high-taxes-and-union-pensions-are.html)

    "Is it union-bashing to point out that what is good for the unions may be destroying the state? Do the unions even know or care that they have created a house of cards which looks great to their members, but is on the verge of falling down? High taxes are a reflection, in part, of the need to fund these ever-increasing costs. …

    … high taxes and unsustainable union pensions dwarf all other issues."

    You blame the unions for high taxes.

    Congress, their corporate masters and elitist pundits actively work against the best interests of the working people. Blame the unions.

    USA has Wall Street "Masters Of The Universe" stealing billions from the financial system, leaving reck and ruin. Blame the unions for high wages.

    With whom have unions been bargaining over the past centuries? In collective bargaining it always 'takes two.' Yet who is to blame for failures in management? You of course say, "Unions!"

    Ema Nymton
    [email protected]:o?
    The LEFT – taking shit for being right since long before you were born.
    .

    I realize this may not be the best place to complain about legal procedure.

    Working for the government, in a different line of bussiness, I noticed there was a large discrepancy between common sense perocedures for dealing with an problem employee and the due process procedures to get rid of him.

    Using the legal due process approach was counter intuitive to the supervisor, and would usually not improve the problem and would often be ineffective with most employees whose problem could be corrected.

    Most managers would use common sense and most of the time it would straighten out the particular problem. Sometimes it didn’t. At which point it was discovered the common sense approach violated due process.

    I often told supervisors to give a clean slate on the past and start again using only due process procedures. This was very unpopular with supervisors who were already past granting any favors to the problem employee. But it got rid of the problem in rather quick order and almost never straightened out a performance problem. If they didn’t do this the case dragged on forever.

    As the person interviewed noted school principles are not cops and lawyers.

    But there has to a better way.

    Ema, dear, don't ever change. Keep on justifying your blood sucking theft of funds from my and every other working person's pocket while the nation crashes around you due to your greed and destructive entitlement mentality, it's your most endearing quality. You public sector leeches have your proboscis buried deep in the productive heart of this great nation, but we the people WILL exorcise you from the body politic, oh yes we will.

    Then you'll have to work for a living and be held accountable for what you actually acomplish, won't that be a merry change?

    "Unions of workers represent the last hope for protection of working people."

    So says Emma. In a post about teacher's unions. Not that it is a nuance she'll understand…but teachers aren't steel workers, or coal miners, or railroad workers, or any of the long list of other private industries where the introduction of an employee union might once have reasonably been argued as necessary for the protection of workers.

    The need for a worker's union when the employer is a government agency sorta puts to lie the whole default concept loved by the left of government being some benevolent force for the common good, doesn't it?

    My first hand experience of teacher's unions is that they are primarily concerned with pay and benefits and protecting ineffective teachers from being dismissed. When local or state or federal requirements add hours of unpaid paperwork shuffling to a teacher's duties…the union doesn't care a whit. As an elementary school teacher, my wife easily puts in 15 hours a week of unpaid paper-work that is required by law. And other than to quit she has no recourse. The union only cares about eternally negotiating pay and the school board says of the grievance "that's what your union is for".

    That she has no recourse isn't really the issue. It is that the group that is supposed to be representing her has other agendas. When I was in the firefighter's union it was the same way. The end result is that management and the union become default powerful adversaries and the employee is again left without much of a voice. I can recall a number of times when ideas from fellow workers that would have been a win-win for management and firefighters were simply thrown into the negotiating mix and bargained away for some other perceived benefit. The end result is that neither side gives an inch with taking it from somewhere else…lest the perception be that management or the union "lost" this or that round.

    Yes, the option is always to quit. But that was the case before the unions.

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