I believe that every teacher who is concerned about possible false allegations should have the right to request a full evaluation and report, conducted by professionals from outside the district. Also, a teacher who doesn't know if the district is pleased with his or her performance should have that right.
Ideally, school would do this for all teachers on a regular basis, but since they don't, it should be done when questions arise.
In 2001 attorney Mark Bresee worked with Asst. Supt. Richard Werlin of Chula Vista Elementary School to hide crimes committed by employees, and to eject the victim of those crimes because she wanted to know the truth. Before they were done, the district had paid $100,000s to lawyers (you never hear of budget cuts for school lawyers, do you?). Castle Park Elementary went through 11 principals in 11 years, and a public brouhaha developed when five teachers were administratively transferred out of the school. The trigger of all this misery? Mark Bresee's decision to cover up the truth. I was involved in the Castle Park fiasco, and through it I learned a lot about school attorneys. Here's a summary of that case.
For his reward, Mark Bresee was hired as general counsel of San Diego Unified.
Now Mr. Bresee seems to be working his magic at Serra High School in the Sally Smith case.
One of the big problems is that school districts have know idea who's teaching at their schools. Evaluations are a joke. Administrators have no idea which teachers are dishonest, which teachers are pulling strings, and which ones are excellent educators.
And both the teachers union (California Teachers Association--CTA) and administrators want to keep it that way. Why? Laziness. They don't want to be bothered with evaluating teachers. They just want the teachers to keep a low profile and a calm surface at each school, and not bother them. Richard Werlin, for example, relied on the eyes and ears of one teacher, Kathy Bingham, to give him information about Castle Park School. Werlin himself spent his time standing in the hallways of the district office, chatting with whomever happened to pass by. Superintendent Lowell Billings continues to boast about this strategy, which he calls site-based management. It lowers administrative costs significantly.
And if there's ever a problem at a school, these hands-off administrators call in a school attorney like Mark Bresee or Daniel Shinoff to get rid of the problem quietly.
This strategy didn't work at Castle Park Elementary, and it's not working at Serra High School.
What is needed is open discussion, not a cover-up.
I believe that every teacher who is concerned about false allegations should have the right to request a full evaluation and report, conducted by professionals from outside the district.