I've said a bazillion times that teachers' unions (not teachers) are the biggest hindrance to our public education system, and here's a perfect example: teachers at LA's Locke High School voted to approve a proposal to tun the school under a charter instead of under the regular LAUSD. That school has been a debacle for years -- when I lived in Los Angeles Lock High School was a public laughing-stock for under-performance, corruption, and ineptitude. However, when even the teachers are ready to change direction, you can count on the local teachers' union (the UTLA) to impede progress and eagerly sacrifice thousands more children on the altar of money and power.

The Los Angeles Board of Education voted Tuesday to turn over one of the city's most troubled high schools to a charter school organization, marking the first time an outside group will run a traditional public school in Los Angeles.

Leaders of the teachers union said they would file a grievance to block the transfer on grounds that the decision violates the teachers' labor agreement and state law.

The board's 5-2 decision to hand control to Green Dot Public Schools in the fall of 2008 followed an impassioned debate among board members, supporters and opponents that lasted more than three hours. ...

"Today is about historic accountability," said Bruce Smith, an English teacher at Locke who gathered signatures for the Green Dot petition. "Finally a day of reckoning has come. . . . Real change is coming to Locke High School." ...

Charters are public schools run independently of school districts. They are free from some traditional constraints, including collective-bargaining agreements. Unlike most charters, Green Dot is unionized, although not by UTLA, which argues that it must be the union at Locke.

I'm amazed by the courage shown by the Los Angeles Board of Education, but I'm also incredibly encouraged. If a city as leftist as Los Angeles can see reality clearly enough to throw off the shackles of the United Teachers of Los Angeles and really make a move to help their students, then similar change can happen elsewhere as well. Despite my respect for most individual teachers, I honestly believe that most teachers' unions are sociopathic organizations that are interested in nothing but money and power... and they're willing to cripple our students to get them.

Here's on-the-scene reporting of the hearing via WitnessLA.com:

The anti-charter speakers are made up of a small cadre of angry Locke teachers plus a bunch of UTLA union officials including union president, A. J. Duffy who weres his very snazzy, trademark, two-tone shoes, and insists the Green Dot petition is breaking the law.

“I’m not backing off,” Duffy stage whispers to UTLA VP, Linda Guthrie, after he leaves the mic.

Guthrie herself makes an impassioned pitch against the conversion. “If you do this,” she says, “you’re going to send a message throughout this district, that the district is unable to heal itself.”

“Well isn’t that the point?” mutters one Green Dot supporter. In truth, Guthrie has inadvertently brought up the outcome that many Locke transformation advocates are hoping for. Based on personal conversations, I know that Santee teachers are watching the Locke process closely trying to decide if they want to go charter too— as are several schools in the valley.

“If we get Locke,” says Steve Barr a few minutes later, “I think we’ll eventually get Jefferson.” In some ways, Jefferson and Santee are more pressing cases that Locke. Certainly, Locke is a perennial low scorer in the district (of the 1318 ninth-graders that enrolled at Locke in the fall of 2001, only a terrifyingly low 332 managed to actually graduate in spring, 2005. And only 143 of those getting diplomas had the right credits to apply for admission to the University of California and/or California State University systems). Sadly, however, Santee and Jefferson’s scores—and graduation rates—are worse.

Isn't it ironic that the leftist "liberals" are now the power-hungry establishment, and blinder to their hypocrisy than their younger selves would ever have imagined?

As the last “YEA” vote is cast—I think it was by Richard Vladovic—wild cheering erupts immediately.

When the cheering subsides, Duffy and other union officials say that they’re going to sue to stop the conversion. “This isn’t over, not by a long shot,” yells UTLA regional coordinator, Mat Taylor, as he stalks out of the auditorium.

(HT: Kausfiles.)

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