When Will We Start Protecting Children From Classroom Abuse?

Published November 30, 2017

It seems every time you turn around, turn on the news, open a webpage, etc., someone new is being accused of sexual assault or harassment. Unfortunately, our nation’s classrooms are not an exception to the rampant abuse and immorality prevalent in modern society:

New York City education officials have rarely been eager to provide information about the Absent Teacher Reserve, a pool of fully paid, tenured teachers who haven’t found new positions after losing their old ones because of school closings, budget cuts, or disciplinary problems. Although some teachers are quickly hired out of the ATR, many remain for years, and almost one-third had unsatisfactory evaluations or faced disciplinary or legal charges.

Last summer, the Department of Education announced it would partly offset the cost of the ATR, which exceeded $150 million last year, by placing hundreds of the sidelined teachers in positions still vacant by late October. More than a month later, it has yet to provide records about the teachers or where they were placed.

Because high-poverty districts tend to have more open positions, advocates worry that the new policy could assign “struggling and less effective teachers to disproportionately serve students of color and low-income students.” To answer the question, two education advocacy groups jointly submitted a public records request just before Thanksgiving asking the DOE for non-identifiable information about the teachers and the names of their assigned schools.

People are demanding answers about how and why abusive teachers retain access to classrooms. (A New York City mother is actually suing the city for letting an alleged abuser retain his position.) But how many more innocent children will have to suffer before the situation is amended? Teachers unions are notorious for keeping their own employed, regardless of misconduct, so let’s start at the root of the problem before one more child is hurt.

SOURCE: the74million.org


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