Saturday, June 03, 2006

An Open Letter to CTA chief counsel Beverly Tucker

In the wake of the recent problems at Castle Park Elementary School, many union leaders and their lawyers have reverted to an us-versus-them thinking in which they see themselves as righteous victims and ignore or minimize the injustices they have done, and continue to do, to other people.

In fact, being transferred to another school is not the horrific fate that CTA and the “Castle Park Five” have insisted. However, both students and teachers have suffered great wrongs at the hands of the California Teachers Association. These students and teachers have legitimate grievances, legitimate fears, and legitimate distrust of CTA’s willingness to compromise for the sake of peace.

CTA has made no attempt to build trust. The only alternative to continued dysfunction at Castle Park Elementary is a comprehensive settlement based on simple principles:

--All teachers and students have equal rights to protection of the law; these benefits should not be limited to the leaders of CTA and their allies.

-- If CTA is unwilling or unable to negotiate a policy of respect for the law and the wellbeing of students and teachers, the community must take the lead in promoting one.

-- CTA bears a special responsibility for the current impasse,
by virtue of its massive effort to help union leaders and their allies escape responsibility for their violations of law.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Is it really Jim Groth, not Lowell Billings, who is responsible for the firing of Tim Suanico?

The people who attacked Lowell Billings when he defended the principal of Castle Park Elementary are most likely the people who forced Mr. Billings to fire Principal Tim Suanico.

The teachers' union, Chula Vista Educators, is as powerful as, or perhaps more powerful than, the superintendent, when it comes to personnel actions regarding teachers and principals.

Jim Groth, President of Chula Vista Educators, and his predecessor, Gina Boyd, have worked hand-in-glove with the district in many personnel actions.

But when the district doesn't do what CVE wants, CVE demands arbitration.

In the Castle Park Five case, in which five teachers were transferred out of Castle Park Elementary, CVE presented a shamefully false story to the arbitrator when it demanded that the teachers be returned to Castle Park Elementary.

Why didn't the district counter with the truth? Because the district had worked with CVE to protect Castle Park teachers who violated the law. CVE dishonestly concealed at the arbitration hearing any mention of the large amount of money the district had spent on legal representation for some of those teachers in the Superior Court case which resulted from crimes committed at Castle Park Elementary.

If CVESD had told the truth at the hearing, it probably would have won.

It's time for the truth to come out about past backroom deals between CVE and CVESD regarding personnel actions, and for both CVE and CVESD to begin a new era of respect for the truth and the law.

The similarities between the Tim Suanico case and the Maura Larkins case are remarkable. Teachers, not administrators, initiated both personnel actions. Bullying and cronyism are rampant in Chula Vista Elementary School District, as they are in many other workplaces. Competent employees are frequently attacked by colleagues who fear exposure of their bullying, cronyism or incompetence.

Chula Vista Educators is so powerful that it even pushes around its US Representative, Bob Filner.

For more information, see California Teachers Association and Chula Vista Educators.

Update: The San Diego Union Tribune is widely known for its biased reporting and censorship of the news, but the South County edition appears to be the most deeply-censored edition of the SDUT. The reporting on events at Castle Park Elementary is a case in point. The SDUT knows about the Superior Court Case involving Robin Donlan and other teachers, but has kept that information out of its many stories about Robin Donlan and Castle Park Elementary.