LA Teachers Union Fires Its Best Instead of Attempting Budget Reform

The insanity that controls the Los Angeles Unified School District continues. Despite the enormous sums of money that both California and the City of Los Angeles spend on education, the people who run LAUSD cannot figure out how operate the system more efficiently or inexpensively.

California will devote $48.3 billion to education in its next fiscal year, and yet Gov. Jerry Brown still wants citizens to increase their tax payments to the state. This, despite the fact that the state ranks 47th in the nation in education. Meanwhile, the City of Los Angeles spends $6 billion. How on earth can this much money be spent and yet result in such terrible schools?

The problem is obviously systemic, yet nobody ever has the courage to dive deep into the system, tear out all the problems, and reform it. Instead, we get another year in which LAUSD bellows that it cannot handle the budget cuts coming its way, so it cuts school days and fires good teachers and – of course – implores voters to approve more taxes.

What’s really disgusting, however, are the “sacrifices” the union makes to close the budget gap that shouldn’t need closing in the first place. Although pitched to the media and parents as a “pay cut,” in reality the teachers just take 10 unpaid days off. The union is so disgustingly selfish that rather than just take the pay cut and serve the full school year, they will just chisel on the kids and take the days off instead.

I had a high school math teacher who came to school every single day for the 35 years he taught. It didn’t matter if he was sick or had a broken leg.  He showed up to teach because he was devoted to the kids. He cared about the kids. He cared about their education and not the union. Furlough days? He’d have ignored them and told his students that he was teaching class on those days. And you know what? We would have come.

That’s what a real teacher would do.

Mind you, this saber-rattling happens every year. The district claims that if the voters don’t approve both the Governor’s economy-stifling tax in November and a local proposition to tax yet another $298 for every parcel in the district, up to ten more may get cut from the schedule. Yet every year, despite the fear of cuts, the district always seems to find the money.

This year, however, they decided not to bluff any more. Rather than just issue pink slips to teachers to scare the parents, they actually went ahead and fired some of them. This includes one of the best teachers in my elementary school by the name of Victoria Greene. This outstanding instructor had been shuttled from grade to grade and never missed a beat, consistently devoting herself to effective instruction and universal winning accolades from parents. Her reward? She gets the boot while utterly useless LAUSD pre-school programs are restored, including Early Childhood Education and the School Readiness Language Development Program. These programs are simply unnecessary when compared with the learning and development that elementary kids need. Talk about misplaced priorities!

This is from the same Teacher’s Union and their water carriers in the State Assembly who refuse to fire teachers who engage in sex abuse, drugs, or violence towards children. It’s utterly shameful.

And if jobs do get restored by some miracle, the fantastic concept of tenure means that some useless administrator like a Vice Principal, who has not taught for years, will be handed a classroom job over a devoted instructor.

I have a very hard time believing LAUSD is putting our money to good use when, driving past a few high schools, I see enormous structures have been erected to provide shade for all the student cars in the parking lots. These structures also double as solar panels. I’m supposed to believe that THIS is a good use of taxpayer money -- spending huge amounts of money today to save money over the long term? The Left keeps talking about “investing in our future”. Is this what it means?

Why isn’t that money being used to save the jobs of great instructors?

I don’t expect I’ll ever know the answer. Perhaps LAUSD will see the mistake in letting go of good teachers.  In case they don’t, however, if your school needs a fantastic teacher, then let me know. Victoria Greene will do right by you.

Because she’s a real teacher who cares about the kids.


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