The Reed Case Appeal, Dueling Lawyers, and the Rush to Court
The Reed Decision, which I have mentioned before in Tales of Adequacy, protects inner city, primarily minority schools from the destabilization of “seniority based” layoffs. The short form is this: teachers, if they stay with the profession, migrate to calmer, much whiter schools. Thusly, when layoffs are done by firing the most junior teachers, schools in East LA, schools with primarily African american and Latino students, have the most loss. This makes them constantly building new staff, and denies them the continuity that is associated with a good education.
To be frank, it is pretty discriminating.
However, the Union doesn’t put students first. It puts adult issues first, and is obsessed with Seniority as the sole hiring principle for teachers. As a result, the Union has filed an appeal of the Reed Decision…the second in fact. 45 Schools are protected from layoffs under it…and the Union is actively working against those 45 schools. Both against their own dues paying members, and more importantly, against the students.
I want to make this clear…the Teachers’ Union is opposing a decision that protects teachers…because it isn’t protecting the teachers they WANT to protect. Students, to the Union, in this matter, are not an issue.
Hence the above piece of art. The Union Hulk is attacking its own team mate, the protagonist…but the protagonist, although under pressured is having none of it. Vowing to get backup from lawyers, we head to the next panel.
In the course of January, I became involved in an amicus brief…one that advises the court, as a “friend of the court.” This brief opposed the Union’s appeal of Reed, on several fronts. Somehow, teachers didn’t want to be involved in supporting that one…causing a second more teacher friendly brief opposing the Union’s choice, and supporting Reed was written. This brief, Brief B, basically speaks only to the students’ constitutional rights…which is fine, since that is the point of the decision.
A group of teachers and I went to a meeting last Thursday, with the express reason to become part of this Brief B, and sign it. We charged across town to a fancy meeting with a Not For Profit, and a bunch of lawyers, only to discover…
Unfortunately, the panel lawyers were not the lawyers writing the brief. In addition, the lawyer writing the brief was late, and had not yet established a procedure for getting people to sign on or support it. My group came with documents to get us on board…at least, those that stayed. It was pretty discouraging, and disappointing. All of our prep for this second brief seemed useless, and the powers put together unable to be brought to bear. Hence, in the above image, the Hebrew Hammer being dropped, and the lawyer having the bewildering arms of Doctor Octopus.
However, the not for profit was very aggressive about wanting to get teacher support. I got e-mails for much of the weekend, about organizing things to get this together. It became an operation with a deadline, that had to be done at the eleventh hour, fifty ninth minute.
I hate that. I do, however, believe that my students are entitled to the very same conditions as students in fancy West LA schools, so I buckled down, and ran myself ragged getting teachers to sign on, yesterday.
The drop dead date for getting the support “signatures” in is tomorrow.
Literally, at seven forty five this morning, I handed off a stack of signed amicus briefs to the not for profit representative, for delivery to the lawyer in charge of Brief B. It was an ugly hassle, and now, the fate of my school is in the hands of a crowd of lawyers, and the court system…none of whom have ever met any of my students, or seen the conditions they argue about.
I’ve done my best here.
More Tales of Adequacy coming! Excelesior!