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Roundtable: Teachers, Iraqis, NCTD Knocked For A Loop

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Roundtable: Teachers, Iraqis, NCTD Knocked For A Loop
Tenure dismissed, Iraqis Overrun, NCTD Losing ManagersHOST:Mark SauerGUESTS:Mario Koran, Voice of San Diego Tony Perry, L.A. Times Brad Racino, iNewsource

Teacher Tenure Dismissed

This week a Los Angeles Superior Court judge handed total victory in a landmark case to attorneys arguing for the end of teacher tenure in California.

Judge Rolf M. Treu said the state’s job protections for teachers regarding layoffs, tenure and dismissals were unlawful under the California constitution because they favored teachers and harmed students.

It is too easy, said the judge, for teachers to gain strong job protections and too hard to fire the incompetent ones.

The lawsuit, Vergara v. California, was brought by a non-profit Silicon Valley-based group called Students Matter, which cited five laws they said stymied the removal of bad teachers. Lawyers for the state, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers defended the laws, saying they were not the problem, poor management was to blame. They said the laws helped students by enabling districts to recruit and retain teachers.

The plaintiffs brought forward evidence that teachers have more job protections than any other state employees and that the dismissal process, even for the grossly and obviously incompetent, can be long and expensive.

There is no doubt the case will be appealed to the state Supreme Court or that it is likely to affect education policy nationwide.

Sunnis Rise, Mosul Falls, Marines Watch

Iraqi security forces melted away Monday as Sunni militants from Syria and elsewhere overran Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and a transportation hub for goods from Turkey.

The militants were said to be on their way to Baghdad.

The area around Mosul and Fallujah was secured during the Iraq War at great cost by American troops, including Camp Pendleton Marines.

Since Monday, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled toward the capital as well as l and Kurdistan, where tens of thousands have not been allowed in. The militants, of which there seem to be an endless supply in the region, are with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an expanded version of Al Qaeda and the leading force of foreign fighters in Syria.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maleki ordered a state of emergency for the entire country. The situation was described by James Jeffrey, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, as “extremely serious, far more serious than Fallujah.”

The community of Iraqi Chaldean Christians living in San Diego has expressed grave concern that the entire area is now so unstable that there is nowhere for the refugees to go that is safe.

President Obama said this morning that the United states will help, but will not send troops.

NCTD Hemorrhaging Managers

At least 20 high-level managers and employees have left the North County Transit District since January 1 of this year.

This latest exodus means at lease 45 managers and high-level employees have left the agency since 2012. The latest departures include the chief of safety, the chief operations officer and the chief of transit enforcement.

Matthew Tucker, NCTD’s CEO, would not confirm which employees have left or comment on the turnover. Concern about the stability and viability of the agency has been voiced by critics. They wonder about replacements, who will train them and the possible effect on public safety. Further, the recent departures have cost the district nearly $300,000 in severance pay..

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