Watch for weak final version of teacher predator bill

by CalWatchdog Staff | March 23, 2013 7:30 am

March 23, 2013

224109-mark-berndtBy Chris Reed

The California Teachers Association’s decision to quickly endorse a bill that would make it easier to fire depraved teachers was depicted in initial accounts[1] as reflecting the CTA’s understanding that its image took a beating last year when it orchestrated the defeat of similar legislation.

The June power play came as more details kept trickling out about the disgusting events at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles Unified, where teacher Mark Berndt[2] fed his students semen, but LAUSD ended up deciding it had no choice but to pay him $40,000 to get him off the payroll.

“The teachers association customarily takes weeks to analyze bills and seek the approval of member councils before announcing their positions on bills. But the union is sensitive in the wake of horrific allegations of sexual abuse by a handful of teachers. In opposing [Sen Alex] Padilla’s teacher-dismissal bill last year, the union was characterized as protecting abusers over victims.”

That’s from John Fensterwald’s story, which depicted the new bill by Assembly Education Chairwoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, as being nearly as strong as Padilla’s bill.

Follow-through far from sure thing

But everyone should keep an eye on how AB 375 changes as the session goes along. Democrats have a history of promising to clean up after the excesses of their key supporters, only to never follow through:

“Consider what happened in 2003.  Early that year, a series of sickening media reports detailed how several L.A. area law firms, especially the Trevor Law Group[3], filed thousands of frivolous suits against small businesses such as restaurants, dry cleaners and car repair shops, many run by immigrants or minorities with a poor grasp of English and a lack of awareness of their legal rights. The suits, which were allowed under the state’s Unfair Competition Law, would allege minor technical infractions of various state codes and demand payments from $6,000 to $26,000 to drop the suits.

“Attorney General Bill Lockyer probed the scam, corroborated the media reports and denounced the suits as a despicable extortion scheme. L.A.-area Latino Democrats, especially Lou Correa of central Orange County, pushed hard for reforms.

“But the trial lawyers pushed back. And fearful of offending a key source of Democrats’ campaign funds, Democrats didn’t just cave and block reform measures. They actually offered a bill that would have exposed the small businesses being sued to even bigger court judgments — in other words, giving the extortionist law firms an even bigger club to threaten business owners.

“The Unfair Competition Law only ended up being fixed by a 2004 initiative.

“So anyone who believes Democratic lawmakers will quickly do the right thing here — or allow the right thing to be done — should keep this history in mind.”

That’s what I wrote in 2009 in reaction to a Democratic lawmaker’s promise to launch an aggressive cleanup of abuses in the In-Home Supportive Services, an SEIU darling. There were reforms, but they were pushed through by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, not Democrats in the Legislature.

brochure04_MyCTASo be wary, very wary, of what AB 375 will be like when it it sent to Gov. Jerry Brown. In its heart of hearts, the CTA hasn’t changed. It still likes teacher protections so extreme that a vile human being who fed semen to 6-year-olds not only couldn’t be quickly fired, he pocketed $40,000 in return for quitting.

In its heart of hearts, the CTA was willing to let epileptic schoolkids die[4] if union nurses weren’t hired to administer life-saving medicine to the kids.

In its heart of hearts, the CTA is as cold-hearted in pursuit of its interests as any public organization I have ever seen.

I expect my cynicism to be confirmed in coming months. A leopard can’t change its spots.

  1. initial accounts:
  2. Mark Berndt:
  3. Trevor Law Group:
  4. let epileptic schoolkids die:

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