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New Teacher Project

November 20, 2005
A RECENT STUDY SHOWS HOW union contracts can hamper school improvement -- and provides another compelling reason why having L.A.'s mayor run the schools could help. The study by the nonprofit New Teacher Project found that teacher contracts place seniority over what's best for students, especially by favoring longtime teachers for desired teaching slots over newer teachers who might be better for the job. That's true even if the more senior teacher is needed in another school.
Sue Cirillo was putting up decorations in her first-grade classroom the day before school started, preparing for her first day as a teacher. Unexpectedly, her principal came in and told her that there would be some changes. Her new students would now be first- and second-graders, and some would speak only a little English. Besides that, she would be teaching on a different track, meaning that her vacation time would be changed.
October 14, 2003 | Erika Hayasaki, Times Staff Writer
Last November, Los Angeles schools Supt. Roy Romer stood before reporters at John C. Fremont High School and enthusiastically called on professionals, including lawyers, bankers, engineers and accountants, to switch careers to teaching under the Los Angeles Teaching Fellows Program. Now, that teacher training program has been killed amid budget cuts and a surplus of better qualified teachers, some laid off from other districts around the state.
March 24, 2010 | By Timothy Daly and Arun Ramanathan
Over the last several weeks, in what has become a dismal rite of spring, nearly 30,000 teachers throughout California received layoff notices. Knowing how crucial teachers are to student success, you might wonder how schools make the difficult decision of which teachers to cut. After all, if layoffs are unavoidable, you would think that it would be in the interest of everyone to keep the best teachers and cut those who are least effective. Unfortunately, the only tool that California schools can use to make these decisions is a calendar.
June 15, 2009
They put it off. They debated it at length and watered it down. And in the end, the Los Angeles Unified school trustees barely passed a resolution asking the Legislature to make it a little easier to fire teachers accused of serious crimes. Mind you, not the ineffective teachers who sleep in the classroom, ignore the curriculum and pass their unprepared students to the next grade. Just the ones who stand accused of abusing or molesting students.
Los Angeles schools Supt. Roy Romer says accountants, bankers, sales managers--heck, even journalists--can make good public school teachers with the proper training. And so, to ease its teacher shortage, the Los Angeles Unified School District is launching a campaign to attract professionals from such various fields.
September 29, 2006 | Nancy Vogel, Times Staff Writer
In a rare defeat for teachers' unions, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Thursday to make it easier for some principals to reject incompetent teachers. The new law won't make it easier to fire public school teachers -- something the governor sought and failed to win with an initiative last November -- but it eliminates one escape route for teachers facing bad reviews. SB 1655 by Sen.
June 14, 2009 | Jason Song and Jason Felch
After listening to the debate at last week's Los Angeles school board meeting, business leader Carol Schatz said she was appalled. She had attended to support a resolution to speed the firing of teachers accused of serious crimes. But even this proposal -- tiptoeing on the margins of improving teacher quality -- generated heated objections from the teachers union and its supporters. With some last-minute amendments and sniping among board members, the resolution passed by a single vote.
November 17, 2005 | Duke Helfand, Times Staff Writer
Teacher union contracts are thwarting efforts to improve schools in big cities by placing seniority rights and other teacher protections ahead of the needs of schools and students, said a report released Wednesday by a national research organization. The study of five large school systems nationwide, including the San Diego Unified School District, found that union staffing rules often allowed veteran teachers to transfer to new assignments without giving administrators a say in the matter.
February 10, 2003 | Erika Hayasaki, Times Staff Writer
The great national teacher shortage is easing. After long struggles to employ enough adequately trained teachers, school districts across the country this year received a windfall of applicants. Some systems that previously had relied heavily on day-to-day substitutes even had the luxury of turning away fully credentialed instructors.
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