Tuesday, July 31, 2012
... Under current New York law, an accusation [of child sexual abuse] is first vetted by an independent investigator. (In New York City, that's the special commissioner of investigation; elsewhere in the state, it can be an independent law firm or the local school superintendent.) Then the case goes before an employment arbitrator. The local teachers union and school district together choose the arbitrators, who in turn are paid up to $1,400 per day. And therein lies the problem.Not to absolve the teachers unions of their responsibility for this state of affairs, but it is crucial to recall the context in which this situation occurs: the near-monopoly of government schools, all of whom can plausibly claim to be "free" since they don't charge tuition. Most parents cannot realistically move their children out of the public school system (or even change schools) in order to serve their children best.
For many arbitrators, their livelihood depends on pleasing the unions (whether the United Federation of Teachers in New York City, or other local unions). And the unions--believing that they are helping the cause of teachers by being weak on sexual predators--prefer suspensions and fines, and not dismissal, for teachers charged with inappropriate sexual conduct. The effects of this policy are mounting. [bold added]
There will always be criminals and accomplices, but for something like this to become a systemic problem, consumer choice has to be rendered all but moot. If anything like the examples this article describes happened in private school -- a business whose customer base is parents -- the school in question would swiftly take drastic measures to keep from going out of business.
This story (like a litany of others about how ineffective government schools are at actually providing education) bears remembering the next time someone claims we need government schools "for the children". It is high time to discuss the best way to rid ourselves of the plague of government schools.