By Jill Stewart, OP-ED in the INFORMER, an LA Weekly blog |http://bit.ly/cu9NPN
<< DUFFY: Does A.J. stand for ‘a joke’?
Mon., Sep. 27 2010 @ 1:53PM -- Pipsqueak United Teachers Los Angeles chief A.J. Duffy, who has turned the L.A. teachers union into a national laughingstock and encouraged this region's teachers to think like infantile whiners, should resign after trying to blame the Los Angeles Times for the tragic suicide of South Gate teacher Rigoberto Ruelas.
Duffy is perhaps the lowest of the low among teachers union leaders fighting reform in the United States today.
Duffy played a key role in California's loss in the Race to the Top competition for reform money, with President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan both appalled at how L.A. teachers and Duffy conduct themselves.
He fights the firing of abusive and incompetent teachers, he fights charter schools, he fights the embarrassing clinging to lifelong tenure -- still being granted to green teachers after just two years. Sick! But the real reason Duffy should resign now:
Before decent, smart School Board member Marlene Canter left the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, she tried to bring forth a discussion to at least fire the truly egregious teachers.
You know, the LAUSD teachers who have committed sexual abuse and other abuse against children?
See, it is impossible right now to fire any LAUSD teachers. It can't be done.
They have to practically be on their way to prison, in order to be fired in real time. Otherwise, it takes about seven to ten years to fire a single teacher, as the Weekly and the L.A. Times have both reported.
Thanks to A.J. Duffy and his ilk, currently, most of these awful people are kept on, at full pay, in their homes or in a "rubber room" away from children, while they cost all of us about $500,000 or so in legal fees, not to mention fat paychecks and big mounting pensions.
But A.J. Duffy and School Board President Monica Garcia and the cowering school board members stopped the gutsy Marlene Canter cold.
Canter's reform idea vanished behind closed doors.
And A.J. Duffy did something equally evil:
Years ago, Duffy had the chance to make sure all teachers got the very same classroom score information and warnings that we all read in the recent L.A. Times blockbuster series on teachers who can't teach, producing kids who fail.
Teachers deserved long ago to get that classroom test score data. Duffy knew it was there, in the computers.
Duffy should have led that reform.
Teachers should have gotten the wake-up call saying "Hey, your kids are falling way behind every year, but the rest of the kids in classes on the same hallway are doing fine so that means YOU are doing something wrong."
But A.J. Duffy likes to keep teachers infantile, whining and in the dark.
So listen, you pipsqueak, anti-reform, craven, do-nothing, sad-sack: if anyone should be blamed for a suicide, which is truly, truly absurd, is it you, A. J. Duffy.
And it is so, so, so sad to learn that the wimpy LAUSD Superintendent, Ramon Cortines, is suggesting to KNX and others today that he, Cortines, is not going to demand the L.A. Times un-publish the list of 6,000 teachers and their classroom test scores.
Instead, Cortines suggested to KNX, the public must be the ones to demand the list of teachers and the classroom scores be un-published.
God almighty, Cortines, the LA. Times is not your problem. And we don't live in Russia where it's best to keep the public in the dark.
The absurd, ossified, anti-child atmosphere in which grown-ups cannot be told they are failing, and cannot publicly discuss how to change their profession, is your problem, Cortines. Not the newspaper's problem.
Be a man and fix it, Cortines. Don't wallow in it.
Your problem is personified in A.J. Duffy, pipsqueak in body and mind.