Thursday, August 14, 2008

A loss for Beverly Tucker and California Teachers Association: child-molesting teachers lose credentials

The California Teachers Association's efforts to protect child molesting teachers from losing the right to teach have come to nothing. Beverly Tucker, the chief counsel for CTA, has lost her long battle.

Calif. lawmakers close teacher license loopholes
By JULIET WILLIAMS - Associated Press
August 12, 2008

The state Assembly approved two bills Tuesday designed to close loopholes in California's teacher licensing laws that had allowed some teachers accused or even convicted of serious crimes to remain in the classroom.

The legislation would allow the state to revoke licenses from teachers who plead no contest to certain sex crimes or drug offenses or have had their licenses revoked in another state.

The bills by Sen. Bob Margett, R-Arcadia, and Sen. Jack Scott, D-Pasadena, were prompted by an Associated Press investigation last year into sexual misconduct by teachers.

The AP's investigation in California confirmed at least 313 cases in which teachers were punished for sexual misconduct from 2000 to 2005.

That included dozens involving pleas of no contest, a common legal agreement that allows a defendant to avoid a trial or civil liability but still leads to conviction.

An analysis by the California Teacher Credentialing Commission following AP's report found that about two-thirds of the educators who face revocation or other serious action are convicted following a plea of no contest to a serious offense.

That triggered a discretionary review by the commission rather than the mandatory loss of teachers' licenses, a process that can sometimes take two or three years.

Margett's bill also targets another problem. Under current law, the results of misconduct allegations are sealed by the credentialing commission after one year. That restricts the ability of school administrators to confirm a teaching candidate's complete record if they learn later that the applicant lied about his or her background.

Margett's legislation makes the records available for five years instead of one...

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