"Bad Teacher," a raunchy comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and Jason Segal, is scheduled to arrive at multiplexes across the land on June 24. Diaz's character drinks on the job, takes "copious amounts of drugs," and curses at her students. The plot apparently involves her character trying to seduce a well-heeled but straight-laced colleague to pay for her breast implants.
Once again, though, the finest minds in Hollywood are way behind the zeitgeist.
Larry Sand, president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network and a regular City Journal California contributor, writes at RedCounty today about an eye-opening audit of the state's Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The CTC's mission is to "ensure integrity and high quality in the preparation, conduct and professional growth of the educators who serve California's public schools." Turns out, the agency has been grossly deficient in carrying out that assignment. Or, as Sand puts it, CTC is "in fact a corrupt, callous and self-serving club that cares nothing at all about your kids."
Among the audit's findings that Sand highlights:
There's plenty more where that came from. But as Sand points out, the scandal here doesn't begin and end with the bureaucrats at the state credentialing agency. "There is an important player in this scandal that has thus far escaped any scrutiny: the California Teachers Association." Sand explains:
The CTA, with its hairy-but-not-so-hidden-hands, has a full complement of "liaisons" which act as representatives of the union and monitor, advocate, lobby, testify, etc. before every state government agency that has an effect on education policy. Hence, the CTA liaisons are regulars at CTC meetings, and are not shy about weighing in on issues affecting teacher competency. Since the union has a terrific record in protecting criminal and incompetent teachers, this is hardly surprising.
Sand also notes the audit has resulted in changes at the top, with the CTC's executive director and the general counsel both tendering their resignations last week. That's good news. Doubtless, new management will see to it that new safeguards and procedures will be put into place that ensure such abuses are curtailed in the future.
But is that enough? Although Sand doesn't put it in quite these terms, the mismanagement, curruption and garden-variety inefficiency of this one watchdog agency seems to be the logical outcome of a system designed to protect the interests of certain adults at the expense of the public it is supposed to serve. The teachers unions often like to say their members don't have "tenure," as such. Their contracts, rather, guarantee the right to "due process." If you've ever wondered what exactly that process entails, look no further.