Probe shows CA Dems’ talk of ‘social justice’ a smokescreen

Feb. 26, 2013

By Chris Reed

brochure04_MyCTAThere has rarely been a journalistic scoop that did a better job of exposing the fraud that is the claim that state Democrats are the party of social justice than the report last week from California Watch.

Its investigation showed that thousands of teachers in California’s public schools don’t have the credentials to teach the classes they’re teaching — and that the problem is strongly concentrated in poor-performing, often heavily minority schools. If school administrators don’t have enough history teachers, they’ll assign an English teacher to teach the class. In some cases, teachers assigned to teach lack two of the minimum achievements normally required for their specific classes, not just one.

Protecting adult employees while punishing students

It’s hard to find a starker example of how school districts under the control or strong influence of teacher unions value the needs of adult employees over the needs of students. Here are the key findings of California Watch:

“Every year in California, public school administrators assign thousands of teachers to classes for which they lack the credentials or legal authorization to teach. Untrained teachers have been assigned to a variety of difficult classes, including those filled with English-language learners and others with special intellectual and physical needs. …

“Nearly 1 in 10 teachers or certificated personnel – more than 32,000 school employees – did not have the credentials or authorization for their positions from 2007 through 2011, according to data compiled by the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

“The problem is greater at low-performing schools …  . The average rate of improperly assigned teachers at these schools was 16 percent over the same period.

“’That isn’t something that should be acceptable to anybody,’ said Brooks Allen, director of education advocacy at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

“In the 2010-11 school year, more than 12,000 teachers and certificated personnel at more than 1,000 low-performing schools served in positions they should not have held. On average at these schools, 82 percent of students qualified for free or reduced-price meals, and more than three-quarters were Latino, a California Watch analysis found.”

When will, oh, the editorial pages of the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee comment on what this says about the California Democratic Party? The newspapers’ editorialists are happy to dissect the California GOP and give it advice.

Democrats’ not-so-hidden war on minority students

Will these pundits ever get around to pointing out the incompatibility of the interests of state Democrats’ most powerful faction — the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers — with their most loyal voters, Latino and African-American residents?

Will they ever connect the dots and realize that just about all recent school scandals of recent years — bond scams, lunch-money fraud, attendance fraud, making parents pay for school basics — are related to the teacher unions’ push to ensure there are enough available operating budget funds to give them the automatic “step” raises that increase their pay each year?

Teacher union power is always acknowledged in a general sense during budget fights over how much the Legislature and governor will give schools. But it isn’t pointed out nearly enough how this power warps our schools in the most basic ways.

Starting with the practice that the ACLU is right to loathe, the one in which adult teachers are hired to teach classes they have no business teaching.

But, hey, they have a job, and isn’t that the raison d’être for public schools?


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