Union angered because L.A. schools are getting aggressive about firing bad teachers

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LOS ANGELES – The United Teachers Los Angeles union is attempting to force the Los Angeles school district to re-evaluate dozens of teacher dismissals because union leaders don’t think they’re fair.

union angered“… (T)his system leads to many innocent educators being swooped up in the dragnet,” UTLA President Warren Fletcher said, according to the LA School Report.

LA school officials have ramped up teacher terminations. Superintendent John Deasy has made it his mission to remove teachers guilty of misconduct, as well as teachers who have received two consecutive “unsatisfactory” evaluations, the news site reports.

The teachers union is mad because board members, in closed meetings, typically approve all terminations with one unanimous vote, and that’s precisely what happened at the board’s Sept. 17 meeting, the news site reports.

UTLA activists have dubbed the day “Black Tuesday” because more than 30 teachers were dismissed at the meeting. They’ve been raising a stink because “the teachers did not know their names were coming up,” UTLA board member Scott Mandel told LA School Report.

“None of them had gotten previous notification at all. And the board accepted their dismissal recommendation without comment, and nobody questioned anything,” Mandel said. “They didn’t see the other side, they didn’t see any defense.”

Mandel called for the union board to request that the school district halt further dismissals until board members review each of the individual teacher cases independently. The UTLA board approved Mandel’s suggestion, and the full 350-member union governing body is expected to do the same tonight, according to the LA School Report.

In a separate but related issue, UTLA has also filed an unfair labor practice complaint against district officials because the union contends the district is required to provide a full list of “housed” employees and has only provided a partial list, the news site reports.

L.A. school employees accused of misdeeds are typically removed from their positions and “housed” away from students while district officials conduct investigations. School attorney David Holmquist said L.A. school officials provided a list of teachers who wanted to be identified, but did not include the names of teachers who preferred to remain anonymous.

Holmquist also acknowledged the district is dismissing more teachers than in the past, but defended the district’s process for approving the terminations, according to the L.A. School Report.

“There’s no doubt that we have been raising the bar, and one of the consequences of that is there are going to be more dismissals,” he said.

“I can’t talk about what we do in closed session, because it’s confidential,” Holmquist told the news site. “But I will say that in my opinion, the board has all they need to make a proper decision.”

By Victor Skinner at EAGnews.org

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