APS cheating scandal. Little real incentive for implicated educators to resign

Teachers and administrators implicated in the Atlanta cheating scandal are resisting district pressure to resign their positions. An AJC story notes that one reason may be that they have little real incentive to do so.

Last week, APS made an offer to the 60 educators who face the most serious allegations: Quit to avoid receiving a “charge letter,” the first step in the firing process, and one that can undermine their careers. Only five accepted the offer, although others are apparently still weighing the option.

This protracted and costly process is frustrating taxpayers and parents, but the AJC story notes that educators have job protection rights, meaning they can only be fired for eight reasons and it’s up to the school district to prove their guilt. They can request a hearing to challenge the firing and can appeal the decision up to the state Supreme Court. Members of teacher advocacy groups have access to legal aid, which covers attorney fees during this lengthy process.

According to the AJC’s Jaime Sarrio:

That means taxpayers will be on the hook for what is shaping up to be a costly firing process. The district has spent $6.2 million paying the salaries of suspended educators, an expense that increases $600,000 a month. Legal fees have cost the district at least $700,000 and will likely climb as APS attorneys work to build cases against about 120 educators still on the payroll. Those fired may be entitled to employment hearings, which average $9,000 a person.

In the meantime, the district plans to issue charge letters on a case-by-case basis. Superintendent Erroll Davis said Friday the district will start with those who confessed, and other egregious cases. “If in fact they have done these things, if in fact the conclusions are inevitable, I think the benefits of resigning would outweigh the benefits of staying on the payroll for a couple of months,” he said.

Most job applications ask educators whether they have resigned to avoid being fired. Once a charge letter is issued, the educator must answer “yes,” said Ted Frankel, who represents at least four educators named in the report. But that same incentive doesn’t really apply to teachers implicated in the APS case. “There is some feeling that if they apply to other school systems, saying they resigned puts them in a better position than being terminated,” he said. “In this case, you have to be on another planet not to know what’s going on in Atlanta.”

Frankel said one of his clients, who confessed to cheating, decided to resign. He has criminal immunity and has fully cooperated with investigators. Teachers who have confessed may have a hard time defending themselves in an employment hearing, he said, since the APS case has garnered so much attention. In a normal scenario, a tribunal may take into account why the teacher cheated, and opt for a reduced punishment. In this case, APS will ask whether the teacher indeed confessed, and the hearing will essentially be over, Frankel said.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

50 comments Add your comment

RJ

March 1st, 2012
1:43 pm

Most are going to opt to stay on the payroll for as long as possible. They are fighting because the report doesn’t prove anything. Too many statements of “they knew or should’ve known”. That is not proof, but merely an opinion. Those that have already confessed should be terminated immediately if they refuse to resign. How do you confess and then retract that confession? “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to SAY I did it!”. It seems pretty cut and dry to me.

Ultimately this entire fiasco will result in the state changing the laws on how teachers are fired. It will become much easier to terminate in the future.

Thomas

March 1st, 2012
1:44 pm

Mrs.Downey ,

I enjoy your articles as you provide thoughtful cutting edge coverage and opportunity for feedback.

This latest chapter in the disgrace of APS only shows that illegal activity can pay / that private citizens like you and me and the kids these scam artists tried to dupe into learning than failing at that crime an illegal cover up then after the big cheese and her other rats were cornered and implicated they all continued to live in theri land of denial. The cost of this disgrace will travel coast to coast. and Ga will continue to lead in dropout rates/ unemployable riff raff, gang bangers in schools and on the street and they can only point to their “leaders…. the educators who failed them and Ga society

May they all be found guilty and given the disgraceful discharge they have shafted onto the kids and citizens of this state.

carlosgvv

March 1st, 2012
1:48 pm

This will drag on for sometime untill those in power see that the public has lost interest. Then, these teachers and administrators will quietly be re-assigned to other schools and it will be as though nothing happened. This is the sort of thing you would expect in Georgia.

Digger

March 1st, 2012
1:56 pm

Ever tried to drag hogs away from the feeding trough?

GuruLikeDrucker

March 1st, 2012
2:01 pm

If APS wants to provide some incentive and get this done with quickly, they should threaten to pursue RICO charges against the teachers and administrators implicated. Not only does that throw them all in the same suit, it provides the APS with a bunch of nasty options including freezing the assets of the accused.

Ernest

March 1st, 2012
2:06 pm

If I was a teacher and knew I did not cheat, I would resist this also. Some of what I read was extremely circumstantial and did not prove cheating. Those that actually cheated should resign or be fired, especially if there was an admission during the interviews. Those that did not still have the Constitution supporting them. Amendments 5, 6, & 7 to start with.

tim

March 1st, 2012
2:10 pm

Do it like the old days…………….Off with their heads!

Lori

March 1st, 2012
2:12 pm

They need to change the state rules. I think if they are found guilty, they should have to pay back all of the salary they received while on administrative leave. If they can’t afford to pay it back, then they should have to provide community service for the amount of time it would take to equal the dollar amount they owe.

Lakeisha Jackson

March 1st, 2012
2:24 pm

Can’t blame ‘em, especially the ones whose “cheating” was done at the instruction of their supervisor (head teacher or principal). I think a lot of ‘em will get away with it.

Ernest

March 1st, 2012
2:24 pm

Lori, they are attempting to pass a law that would have teachers found guilty of cheating to repay back any bonuses they received.

hhhmmm

March 1st, 2012
2:26 pm

I have not been following this very much. Did the Professional Standards Commission (for teachers) get involved in this matter? If so what were there findings? If they are guilty based on the PSC findings their teaching certificates should have been revoked. No certificate, no job, no way to try to keep it, you are no longer able to teach!

Shar

March 1st, 2012
2:40 pm

These most egregious cases should be prosecuted as quickly as possible, and the prosecution should ask for the highest possible sentences. A few convictions and the incentive for being permitted to resign and slink off will be very clear.

Happy Kine and The Mirth Makers

March 1st, 2012
2:56 pm

The accused in this case are just showing their true nature, that being a lack of character, morals, concern for others, the taxpayer. Its ThunderDome…anything goes, grab all you can while the grabbing is good.

And these mental defectives are teaching your children. Just think about that for a second…mmm hmm…

Bguy

March 1st, 2012
3:02 pm

I don’t know the legalities involved, but is it possible to publish the names of these teachers and their schools? If nothing else works, maybe a little public shaming? I find their actions repulsive, and same for the possibility of taxpayers footing even more of the bill for them, but perhaps some publicity might turn up the heat on these cheaters? Excuse me, “alleged” cheaters.

Beverly Fraud

March 1st, 2012
3:08 pm

Any truth to the rumor that those who did resign did so in erasable ink?

irishmafia

March 1st, 2012
3:36 pm

The heck with the teacher’s –what is APS doing to recover the 500k in fraudulent bonus money paid to Beverly Hall?

Beverly Fraud

March 1st, 2012
3:44 pm

Irish,the board (you know the AWARD winning board) in its INFINITE wisdom agreed to pay all of Hall’s legal fees AND damages. Which means (according to the AJC???) any money they recover from Hall they have to give back.

UNLESS…there is a criminal indictment/conviction. Where’s Paul Howard?

drew (former teacher)

March 1st, 2012
3:48 pm

This is a lose, lose. The accused have the right to hearings, which is costly. And if APS decides to can them without due process, you can bet it’ll cost even more with the class-action lawsuit that will surely follow.

As distasteful as it sounds, the cheapest way out might be to just keep them on the payroll until the end of this school year and simply not offer them another contract. And in the mean time, since they’re on the payroll, put them in schools, even it’s just as hall monitors and aides. Might as well get something out of them.

APS needs to decide what’s more important: minimizing costs or punishing the offenders. Tough call. And when you consider that some (if not most) of the alleged cheaters did it at the behest of administrators, it’s even tougher.

Beverly Fraud

March 1st, 2012
4:04 pm

Let’s not forget the numbers of educators who had their renewals “rubber stamped” by the Hall regime last year, in no small part due to the number of people inside AND outside of APS that advocated Hall stay til the bitter end in the interest of “stability”.

How many HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars might have been saved if the “stability” crowd hadn’t provided the POLITICAL COVER for the board to keep Hall, instead of dismissing her when it became ABUNDANTLY apparent APS was dealing with educational Enron?

Dr. Craig Spinks/Georgians for Educational Excellence

March 1st, 2012
4:04 pm

(D)rew,

Sacrificing issues of moral principle to ones of immediate fiscal benefit is one of the habits which have brought us to the point where honor, integrity, trust and duty are meaningless concepts.

Mom

March 1st, 2012
4:06 pm

Maybe it would be less expensive overall to offer them a financial incentive to resign with no bad reference or good one either. I know it would be gratifying for some to see their careers ruined, but whether they are fired or resign at this point, won’t that happen anyway? As a taxpayer (not in APS) I know I would just want the whole thing over with as soon as possible and those monies to be redirected to the classroom. I do feel that many of them caved to pressure from above–maybe not all of them, but surely many of them. The whole thing is so sordid–it seems it would be best for everyone to just end it and move on.

Mom

March 1st, 2012
4:07 pm

Oh, I didn’t see Drew’s comment. I like that suggestion better than my own. Is there a reason that wouldn’t work? It seems nice and neat to me.

Mom

March 1st, 2012
4:12 pm

Dr Spinks–I think in this case the ones who are making the sacrifice are the children who will not receive the benefit of the money being spent on all this. Its a lot to ask in these tough economic times. And haven’t those kids and parents paid enough already? I do see your point though.

Sarah

March 1st, 2012
4:37 pm

Let’s get the silly work rules, constipated process out of the way and get on to the criminal charges. Nothing would have changed at APS without the criminal investigation. Wasting our time on the endless process of dismissal just angers the public and further guts the credibility of APS. These are criminal matters and we need to handle them in the courts.

Atlanta Mom

March 1st, 2012
4:42 pm

All the teachers on this swear they don’t have “tenure”. And this may not be tenure, but it much more job protection than most of us have.

Very well said...RICCO charges

March 1st, 2012
5:27 pm

This comment is very well said “, they should threaten to pursue RICO charges against the teachers and administrators”

and follow through and go after RIcco, just as we do the other mafia.
GM

Atlanta Mom Makes Excellent Point

March 1st, 2012
5:28 pm

Excellent poiint “All the teachers on this swear they don’t have “tenure”. And this may not be tenure, but it much more job protection than most of us have.

Waaaaay more protection than most of us have. We don’t get a salary when our managers want to fire us and we sure don’t get free legal aid.
Sheesh. I went into the wrong profession. The hits just keep on coming.
GM

Double Zero Eight

March 1st, 2012
5:53 pm

Cathy Cox needs to be subpoenaed along with Beverly Hall.
Someone needs to address under oath why the state, and APS
ignored the numerous tips from educators. They were ignored and
determined to be without merit, which obviously was not the case..

Sounds like a hostile work environment if the principals directed
or orchestrated the cheating, which undoubtedly was the case
in some instances.

There is no incentive for them to quit. They recognize they will
not be able to get another job teaching in Georgia. They won’t
be able to get a recommendation from their previous employer.
Resigning will not preclude the PSC from taking whatever action
it deems appropriate regarding their certificates.

Elizabeth

March 1st, 2012
6:36 pm

Drew:

Not offering teachers with more than 3 years experience a contract is the same as firing them according to state law.. Those with three or more years of experience are entitled to a hearing if thier contracts are not renewed or they are not offered one unless concrete proof can be offered that they are in violation of something that is a violation of their contract. That is why they are still on the payroll. Unless they confessed or it can be proven without doubt that they are guilty, they must be offered a contract . If they are not, the teachers are entitled to a hearing. That is why APS tried to intimidate them into resigning. Otherwise they must be allowed due [process.Contract offers have a deadline imposed by the state, and if the deadline is not met by the school board, the teacher automatically has a job for the next year.

This is the real meaning of so-called “tenure”. This is what APS does not want to do. Teachers CAN be fired but they are entitled to a hearing first. Most principals just do not take the time to do the documentation needed to fire a teacher. Concrete evidence of a violation MUST be presented. The teacher must be given a chance to present evidence refuting the violation. This is what APS does not want to do, probably because they do not have enough evidence or aconfession in order to fire them now.

Those with fewer than 3 years of experience do not have that protection and can be terminated at will by the school board.

Tenure is not tenure. The correct term is “fair dismissal” which means that the teacher is entitled to a hearing before termination. Principals who say they cannot fire bad teachers are lying. They CAN, IF, IF, IF they document and do the paperwork. Most don’t take the time or want to go through the process.

RJ

March 1st, 2012
6:38 pm

The”free” legal aid is only available to those that are members of one of the professional organizations. You must pay a monthly fee to be a member, so it isn’t really free. I have seen teachers get fired many times. The issue with this situation is that not everyone.is guilty. Also, APS does still offer tenure. But you can still be fired. The job protection comes from state law. On the flip side, teachers cannot quit easily either. APS is known for going after your certification if you try and break contract, even in the summer with well over two weeks notice.

Dekalbite

March 1st, 2012
8:14 pm

“Waaaaay more protection than most of us have. We don’t get a salary when our managers want to fire us and we sure don’t get free legal aid.
Sheesh. I went into the wrong profession. The hits just keep on coming.
GM”

If you choose to leave your job in November for a higher paying position, can your current employer take any certifications or licenses you have ensuring you cannot take that better job offer? That is the position teachers are in. For example, I choose to leave my teaching job in Cobb in November for a better paying teaching position in Fulton, Cobb can insist I stay or yank my certification which I cannot teach in Fulton without. They can insist I stay a full year. That is what a contract is all about.

Now if you want teaching to operate like your job in business, more power to it. I’m all for that and it appears you are as well. Just let them be free agents coming and going with two weeks notice. If your child’s fourth grade teacher finds a better position, she can just give two weeks notice (or maybe no notice), pack her bags and walk out the door. Let the school system figure out what to do as a substitute manages the class. A freshly minted teacher can take a job in a school with high risk students, but on the side be interviewing like crazy for a higher paying, less stressful position (isn’t that what business careers are all about – maximizing your earning potential and ensuring you have the best benefits possiblle? It was for me when I was in sales.). As soon as she gets a better offer, off she goes. I guess this what you had in mind.

Be careful what you ask for. A teaching contract works both ways. There are reasons for teaching contracts. There are benefits for teachers, but the main benefit is for students.

Ed Johnson

March 1st, 2012
8:23 pm

@drew (former teacher): “This is a lose, lose. … APS needs to decide what’s more important: minimizing costs or punishing the offenders.”

A lose, lose? Absolutely.

A matter of punishing? Fire the teachers.

A matter of minimizing costs? Redistrict and close schools.

“One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other departments. Life is one indivisible whole.”
–Gandhi

Laurie

March 1st, 2012
9:17 pm

“Sacrificing issues of moral principle to ones of immediate fiscal benefit is one of the habits which have brought us to the point where honor, integrity, trust and duty are meaningless concepts.”

Hear, hear!

Laurie

March 1st, 2012
9:29 pm

Elizabeth wrote: “Tenure is not tenure. The correct term is ‘fair dismissal’ which means that the teacher is entitled to a hearing before termination.”

And you are distinguishing that from “tenure” how? What are the grounds for termination from life-time appointment as an APS teacher, and how do they differ from the grounds for termination of, say, tenured professors?

chiming in

March 1st, 2012
10:06 pm

I hate that taxpayers will pay for this debacle- however, I would not want to be a casualty of poor and inadequate school leadership. Sooo much happens behind closed doors. I have seen adminstrators do some EXTREMELY unethical things. The public should wake up and understand that education is as much a cesspool as any skeptical entity of government- local, state, or otherwise.

Jenna

March 1st, 2012
10:42 pm

@Dekalbite…Well said! Take away the contract and see how many heads roll…teachers are indentured servants……the public can’t have it both ways…teaching is a totally different beast than corporate America..give teachers the right to quit at anytime and the students are going to suffer…

Laurie

March 1st, 2012
11:12 pm

So, the contract says that a teacher cannot quit before the year’s up, but the school district cannot (without just cause or some similar standard?) fire him EVER; is that right? A one-year obligation in exchange for a life time obligation.

If I’m misunderstanding, just tell me; I’m truly just trying to understand the rules based on the explanations being given here.

A more typical employment contract in the business world would be one that aligns the obligations: an employer can’t terminate an employee without just cause for, say, a 12-month term, and the employee can’t quit for the same 12-month term. There’s no reason why the terms must align, but that’s more typical. I can’t think of any employment contract in the private world I’ve heard of in which the employer is obligated to the employee for his life, but the employee is only obligated for one year.

Except, perhaps, tenure in the college setting, to protect academic freedom. And civil service.

You can try to argue that K-12 teachers need civil service protection and that’s not, I think, a completely insane argument. But if I’m understanding the rules correctly, you can’t act like this just like any old contract in the business world.

William Casey

March 1st, 2012
11:21 pm

@Laurie: “fair dismissal” only guarantees a “hearing” and the only real card an innocent teacher holds is the threat of a lawsuit. The outcome of the “hearing” is usually a foregone conclusion. True “tenure” is a concept rooted in the notion of “academic freedom.” It developed over time to protect proffessors from being discharged for presenting unpopular ideas. It broadened over time through many court cases. K-12 teachers in Ga. (to my knowledge) have never had true tenure.

Laurie@William Casey

March 2nd, 2012
12:23 am

So as far as the initial hearing, you’re saying that there is no standard for permissible termination? Or that there is a standard, but it isn’t really followed – it’s just a kangaroo court?

As far as needing to resort to a lawsuit, that’s kind of true of employment contracts, isn’t it? I mean, if a private company (or for that matter, a university) fires someone in violation of its contract with him (or its tenure policy), it’s not like he can just intone “contract contract contract (or “tenure tenure tenure”) and magically reappear at his desk with a pile of backpay in his lap. He has to sue to get enforce rights (and usually has to pay his own attorney fees in the American system). It can no doubt be very frustrating – “possession is 9/10ths of the law” can be a very frustrating principle – but that doesn’t mean that the K-12 teacher is in a worse position than an employee with an employment contract or a university professor with tenure.

Again, perhaps I do not understanding something; I am sincerely trying to understanding, because I have been reading for years on this blog how teachers do not have tenure, and I’m trying to figure out what that means.

Elizabeth

March 2nd, 2012
5:16 am

Thank you, Mr. Casey, for clarifying what I wrote so well!

Laurie

March 2nd, 2012
6:47 am

@William Casey

So as far as the initial hearing, you’re saying that there is no standard for permissible termination? Or that there is a standard, but it isn’t really followed – it’s just a kangaroo court?

As far as needing to resort to a lawsuit, that’s kind of true of employment contracts, isn’t it? I mean, if a private company (or for that matter, a university) fires someone in violation of its contract with him (or its tenure policy), it’s not like he can just intone “contract contract contract” (or “tenure tenure tenure”) and magically reappear at his desk with a pile of backpay in his lap. He has to sue to enforce his right rights (and usually has to pay his own attorney fees in the American system, though contracts can state otherwise). It can no doubt be very frustrating – “possession is 9/10ths of the law” can be a very frustrating principle for anyone wronged – but that doesn’t mean that the K-12 teacher is in a worse position than an employee with an employment contract or a university professor with tenure.

Again, perhaps I do not understanding something; I am sincerely trying to understand, because I have been reading for years on this blog how teachers do not have tenure, and I’m trying to figure out what that means.

Jenna

March 2nd, 2012
7:06 am

@laurie…who do you think are paying the attorneys fees for these teachers? You couldn’t be that delusional….the teachers are paying their own fees and if their association are paying them it is because part of their membership fee goes into a legal defense fund. Fair dismissal is not a job for life. You are one of those people that creates your own truth…William Casey and others explained the process to you but you are hell bent to create another truth in your mind…smh

Entitlement Society

March 2nd, 2012
8:09 am

If we are paying over $600k each month for these “teachers” to sit on their tails at home watching Dr. Phil while this saga painfully plays out, why doesn’t Mr. Davis reassign them to other duties that don’t involve instructing children – i.e. janitorial, grounds maintenance, etc. As a taxpayer, I resent going to work everyday earning a living, so I can pay my taxes which in turn are wastefully spent on teachers directed to sit at home (fully paid) watching soaps or out shopping at Lenox Mall. Something stinks…

Ernest

March 2nd, 2012
8:51 am

Great points by both Elizabeth @ 6:36 and Dekalbite @ 8:14! I still contend Davis made a strategic mistake by publicly stating he wanted to fire the teachers based on the allegations along. While this had great appeal to a public looking for action, it was in violation of due process and fair dismissal rights afforded to teachers. It could end up costing APS more by not following the law.

Would it have been possible to assign the accused to non teaching positions during their suspension? If the district got some value from the payments, perhaps the request for action would subside somewhat.

RJ

March 2nd, 2012
8:53 am

Not all school systems offer tenure. I know Fulton does not. APS just happens to still offer it.

Dekalbite@Laurie

March 2nd, 2012
9:15 am

Beverly Hall extended a yearly contract to all of those teachers so that’s why you see such a fuss. Atlanta was stuck with teachers under suspicion that have yearly contracts. There is nothing for Georgia teachers teachers that says we must guarantee them a position for life which is what you imply. If you know of such a clause please provide us with a credible web link.

It would be a much better deal for teachers to be free agents, coming and going into classrooms throughout the year, leaving as they got positions closer to home or a school with a better administration, better pay (e.g. APS may pay better on year 12, but Fulton pays better on year 13). If I’m teaching 30 students calculus and another principal offers me class sizes of 20, then I just jump ship. No contract, no stigma, all teachers teaching where they can get jobs, coming and going whenever they get a better opportunity (opportunity meaning different things to different teachers – some attracted by location, some pay, some flexible hours, etc). This is common in the corporate world. Do you think it would work for teachers? I think it would work great for teachers. School systems offering different pay for different teachers, always trying to keep up with other systems. I’m a AP physics teacher who knows I cannot be replaced so I go into the principal and ask for a raise mid year or I’m out of there.

But this will never happen. Why? Because it is very bad for students. Why do you think teaching contracts have been around for hundreds of years – way before unions. Why are teachers all over the world on contracts (I know many teachers teaching abroad and they are ALL on contracts)? There are actually many other obligations in the contract for teachers set up by school systems that discourage movement in and out of schools that you are unaware of. Teacher turnover is not good for children and certainly NO ONE can ever be held accountable the higher the turnover.

If we ran schools like businesses we would qualify our students like I used to qualify my customers – only serve the ones who are willing to buy. Many countries who have the most successful school systems in terms of producing students that are literate and can do the jobs of the 21st Century do indeed qualify their customers. China, Singapore, Germany, and North Korea come to mind. In these countries students are tracked at a very young age ( around 12 or 13) into vocational or academic tracks. That’s where they stay the rest of their school careers and most of them the rest of their lives. It’s efficient, effective and the educational system provides a very good ROI for the public. IMHO – we need a national conversation to ask why we are not doing that in the U.S. We are asking our teachers to use one model to compete in academics with countries that use an entirely different model.

C Jae of EAV

March 2nd, 2012
9:33 am

Correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t the district simply deside not to renew the contracts of these teachers at the end of this school year? Is there something that would compell the district to renew those contracts? Given where we are in the school calendar for this year, I would say bite the bullet pay them through the end of the year and don’t renew the contract. What am I missing here??

I agree that most will opt to stay on the payroll for as long as they can milk it. Some may actually be very dedicated teachers who found themselves responding to intense pressure of misguided adminstrators to conduct themselves in behaviors they may not have otherwise done. Thus I can see some wanting to fight to the end.

More unfortunate fall out from this drama. I’m abit inclinded to say that if Mr. Davis didn’t see fit to apply the same “zero tolerance” approach to the adminstrators involved (I mean the re-hire of Dr. Augustine was on his watch right?), then I wouldn’t expect many of the accused to go quietly into the good night.

C Jae of EAV

March 2nd, 2012
9:54 am

@ Elizabeth – A rose by any other name is still a rose. If Tenture is defined as “status granted to an employee, usually after a probationary period, indicating that the position or employment is permanent”, the contracts as written effectively set up a system of tenture that’s masked under the term “fair dismissal”. Essentially after 3 years of contigious employment in a given district amounts my job is mine to keep for all practical purposes as the rules of “fair dismissal” create an burden of proof for termination of an employee that’s WAYYY higher than what the avg employee in private sector would be afforded.

This situation is a sticky wicket for APS and given the way the chief adminstrators have been handled with kid gloves in this situation (and I would argue they are most responsible and accountable for what’s happened), I say pursue the cases with the most legs and let the rest be. That being said, I wouldn’t allow the teachers to return to the scene of there alleged crimes. Thus I would reassign them to different schools and keep it moving.

I think the APS has lost the opportunity to take a strong principled stance (like you saw in California recently when we saw a mass firing for alleged crimes not yet adjudicated). Therefore, I say don’t waste any more of the taxpayers funds than necessary.

Prof

March 2nd, 2012
1:01 pm

@ Laurie, Mar. 1, 9:29 pm: “What are the grounds for termination from life-time appointment as an APS teacher, and how do they differ from the grounds for termination of, say, tenured professors?”

“Tenure” means two different things for the K-12 teacher and the college/University professor. William Casey, Mar. 1, 11:21 pm, and Dekalbite, Mar. 2, 9:15 am, describe “tenure” for the K-12 educator very well…I would just add that it also means that due process must be observed (you must have one of eight specified reasons for firing, and must allow the teacher a hearing to present his/her side); and it only comes after 3 years of teaching. But the teacher is only hired for 1 year, contract to contract.

In the college/University, not all teachers are hired as “tenure-track”; and larger and larger percentages are being hired as temporary, usually without the Ph.D. Those who are tenure-track have 7 years’ apprenticeship; and then in a year-long process their peers evaluate them at the department, college, and University levels. Once granted tenure, they cannot be terminated except for a few specific, very serious reasons, usually including “moral turpitude” (drug-dealing, etc.), criminal guilt as found by court, or “financial exigency” (the school has to close programs for financial reasons).

And yes, the rationale for tenure is rooted in academic freedom, considered necessary for teaching. That includes freedom from pressures to inflate grades, to avoid controversial political statements, to teach evolutionary theory a certain way, to teach history a certain way… yes, academic freedom is still necessary today.

Doris M.

March 3rd, 2012
3:19 am

If you really want to mess up things ,just involve educators.