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The tenure dilemma: no easy answers
June 24, 2009
by Casey Weiss
Mountain View Voice
...In 1921, California adopted a policy granting tenure to its public school teachers after a two-year probationary period, becoming the first state to do so. Other U.S. states have since adopted similar policies, although many have a longer probationary period.
...As for teachers' legal costs, Dina Martin, spokesperson for the California Teachers Association, said they are covered by CTA dues.
[Maura Larkins comment: Dina Martin forgot to say that CTA pays only if a CTA-approved lawyer is involved. The reason for this is that the union may want certain facts covered up, and they know that the lawyers on their list will keep evidence out of the hearing. Sometimes a whistle-blowing teacher is a threat to the union as well as to the school administration.]
...Many local parents have asked the Voice what steps they can take to protect their children from an errant teacher, in the rare case that it becomes necessary. After a weeklong investigation into tenured teachers' rights...the Voice found that answers to this question were hard to come by.
[Maura Larkins comment: Secrecy is a hallmark of school districts' relationship with the public and parents. In San Diego County, schools are advised by Diane Crosier, director of the County Risk Management Department, not to let parents see accident reports involving their children!]
...Representatives at the County Office of Education and the California Teacher Association said they were not privy to how districts reviewed their teachers' performance...
[Maura Larkins comment: Not privy or not interested? Click HERE to see the starling testimony of one local CTA affiliate president.]
Attempts to find answers at the state level were even less successful. After looking through her database of specialists, Tina Jung, a spokesperson in the Department of Education, said there was no one there qualified to talk about tenure...Several calls to the state Public Employment Relations Board and the California School Boards Association produced the same answer: ask the school districts...
"We are an association," said CSBA spokesperson Brittany McKannay. "We are there to provide information for the school board."