BY MIRYAM MORA-BARAJAS
The Miramonte child abuse scandal and several other cases recently unraveled show how for so many years our educational system has failed our community and, more importantly, the children they were entrusted to educate.
Having grown up in Los Angeles County, not unlike many students at Miramonte Elementary School, we too as an immigrant family sought to escape poverty through an education. My sister and I, out of six children, were the only ones who accomplished degrees from higher institutions. Our nieces and nephews are now attending LA Unified schools, as we once did, and the descriptions of these schools now being reported leave us and our family frightened.
Even after the recent arrest of two Miramonte teachers for lewd acts against their students, there are those in our community who still argue that our school districts don’t need tougher rules governing the dismissal of bad teachers. There are still those who believe tougher enforcement and reporting guidelines is not that necessary as a prevention tool against those suspected of physically and sexually abusing their students.
The California Professional Practices Committee recently released a report outlining more than 25,000 criminal cases against teachers statewide since 2006. Only 1,121 of those cases were reported by the school districts. The majority were found after an FBI background check.
During the 2010-11 fiscal year there were more than 5,000 open investigations against teachers. 34 percent of those teachers were classified as a serious crime such as felonies, drugs, child abuse, and sexual crimes.
Given these facts, the same union groups that flood the state capitol protesting against school choice, school reforms, and the implementation of teacher evaluations are now claiming that the current teacher reporting system is not broken, that these child abuse cases are simply the result of random administrative errors.
Where are these unions? Where are the unions who, in the past, have organized rallies, protest, and walkouts at the capitol and across the state? When it comes to keeping our children safe from sexual predators in the classroom, why do they oppose such reform?
To add insult to injury, our community pays an average of $300,000 for each teacher dismissal because of how difficult the union contract makes it to dismiss problem teachers – money is being taken away from our classroom to pay incompetent and/or criminal teachers to go away.
These students not only live in the poorest area of Los Angeles, they face difficult odds when attempting to break the cycle of poverty. Unless these union groups put politics aside and put our students first, thousands of students – future and present – face the risk of psychological trauma inflicted by a broken system that protects criminal teachers.
Source : politic365