Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 23, 2014
California Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu made a ruling with broad implications for the education system, teachers and society. The ruling found that teacher tenure violated the State Constitutional civil rights by not offering poor inner-city students equal opportunity for a quality education. In essence, the Judge found that tenure protected teachers at the expense of damaging the quality of education in inner-cities stating:
“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students.”
“The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”
Judge Treu specifically criticized California’s inability to fire incompetent teachers stating: “All sides to this litigation agree that competent teachers are a critical, if not the most important, component of success of a child’s in-school educational experience,” and “there is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms.”
The negative reaction from teachers’ unions was immediate with California Federation of Teachers president saying: “We believe the judge fell victim to the anti-union, anti-teacher rhetoric and one of America’s finest corporate law firms that set out to scapegoat teachers for the real problems that exist in public education. There are real problems in our schools, but this decision in no way helps us move the ball forward.”
This is a typical unionists/leftist response, attacking the opposition’s integrity. To accept that there are “real problems” in America’s schools and exonerating teachers unions and their parochial interests from any part of the problem defies logic. The union’s real intent is clear; protect its members irrespective of the needs of greater society.
Tenure in the educational field came into existence to protect teachers with dissenting views from being harassed or fired. Tenure was therefore not for the protection of teachers, who currently in California received ten-year after 18 months of service, but instead for the protection of freely expressed knowledge and its related discourse. The result of tenure, however, has been much different. Not only has it helped incompetent teachers retain jobs, but it has not broaden political views within educational institutions with teaching positions, especially in universities, controlled by the Progressives.
With the decline of many American schools and the poor results graduates have performed in standardized test, the debate about tenure will continue to grow. There can be no more of a justification for teachers’ tenure for job protection than for any other American worker.
In recent decades the judicial system has become activist, inflicting Progressive dogma on society. That activism is now coming full circle with more conservative judges becoming willing to use judicial power to change society. The implications of this activist court are no more dangerous today than they were decades ago. To my friends on the Left, I say what goes around comes around.
Posted in Education | Tagged: California, civil rights, Judge, Rolf, tenure, Unconstitutional, Union | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 7, 2014
Supreme Court Justices are appointed by our presidents and are given lifelong tenure. The logic behind this tenure was in the effort to keep the Court from being politicized. Unfortunately, that has not been the result.
For at least recent decades, sitting Justices of the Supreme Court have been divided into two main groups, the liberal and conservative wings. They often vote as a block that results in many fairly evenly split decisions. This reality is evidence of a politicized court that makes decisions based on biases in interpreting the law, rather than objective interpretations of it or the Constitution.
In addition, the lifelong tenure for Justices results in decisions being made by legal minds that are often long pass their prime. For example, former Justice Jon Paul Stevens stepped down from the Court in 2010 at the age of 90. While Stevens may have been sharp for his age, it is reasonable to conclude that his last years in the Court were hindered by declining capabilities.
Currently, the Court’s oldest Justice is Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is 81 years old. In addition, Ginsburg has had serious and ongoing health issues including two bouts with cancer. Again, it is reasonable to conclude that her intellectual capabilities have been declining. However, during a recent interview Ginsburg said: “I do know that once I feel I am slipping, I will not stay here, because this is a very hard job. But that time, thank goodness, has not yet come.” With all due respect Ms. Ginsburg is not capable of making that call.
Progressives like former Justice Stevens and current Justice Ginsburg take the view that the Constitution needs to be a dynamic document, especially with changes in society. Taking such a view seems in conflict with remaining on the Court so late in life when their own values have been so ingrained.
Posted in Supreme Court, Uncategorized | Tagged: Constitution, Ginsburg, Justice, old, Stevens, Supreme Court, tenure | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 16, 2011
As reported by the Blaze.com, a professor at Northern Michigan University offered students extra credit for taking part in an Occupy protest. Sociology Professor Jeanne Lorentzen offered 20 credits to attend the Occupy the Upper Peninsula rally on Saturday. Students that did not attend may instead write a 20-page term paper about a social movement and receive the same 20 credits.
It is clear that Professor Lorentzen’s motivations are purely political. Her offer to students to write the alternative term paper for the same credit is a ruse. Giving college students the choice of a walk in the park or writing a lengthy term paper is tantamount to no choice at all.
The Blaze.com did some research on the good professor and found that her Facebook profile is loaded with Leftist political leanings including backing Occupy Wall Street rallies. Her true intent is included in her comments about the assignment that include: “The Occupy Movement is not aligned with any particular political party as it focuses on a multitude of social inequalities a topic we’ve been studying for the last week, and which we will continue to study (Global Stratification) for the next week.” The Occupy movements have a strong and often radical Leftist bent. It doesn’t take a PhD to know that nearly all in this movement are more closely allied to the Democrats than Republicans. For Ms. Lorentzen to suggest otherwise indicates she is either being disingenuous or lying. Neither makes her fit to teach young people. However, she undoubtedly has tenure.
Professor Lorentzen is continuing the indoctrination techniques that elitist Leftist has used in education for generations. Her use of expensive educational time to promote liberal causes helps explain why reasons college graduates have obtain degrees that have not prepared them for the jobs that society actually requires.
It is interesting that Leftist educators like Professor Lorentzen attack the money grabbing ways of capitalist while ignoring similar traits in America’s higher educational system. The cost of a college education has risen significantly more than the rate of inflation for years. It is likely that Professor Lorentzen’s promotion of the Occupy movements is not only due to her Leftist leanings, but also self-serving; i.e. to keep the gravy train going in the education business.
Posted in Occupy Wall Streed, Radical Left | Tagged: College, Jeanne Lorentzen, Northern Michigan University, Occupy the Upper Peninsula, Occupy Wall Street, tenure | 2 Comments »