Anote of gratitude is due Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe for ordering the immediate firing of Matthew Kim after a tortuous seven-year saga. This wasn't the first time that Yaffe tried to inject common sense into the absurdly difficult and expensive task of ridding classrooms of teachers who don't belong there. His previous decision to allow the Los Angeles Unified School District to fire Kim, issued in July, was ignored by the panel that has authority over contested teacher dismissals.
The Kim fiasco is a reminder of just how many thousands of dollars and costly lawyers and innumerable court appearances are currently required to fire incompetent or otherwise troublesome teachers. And, adding insult to injury, Kim has been paid his full salary and benefits since 2003 while doing no work for the district.
So we find it a heartening coincidence that on the same day Yaffe ordered Kim's firing, the president of the American Federation of Teachers called for new procedures making it easier to remove bad teachers. Randi Weingarten, who has been one of the more progressive teachers union leaders, said the AFT would develop a proposal, with the project overseen by Kenneth R. Feinberg, the federal government's "pay czar" on executive compensation.