On January 13th, 2016, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) approved an audit requested by State Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) regarding the use of "Teacher Jail" by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Although the audit report is scheduled to be finished at the beginning of October, one can justifiably wonder how this audit process can possibly come up with an impartial broad spectrum of testimony and evidence on the "teacher jail" used at LAUSD and elsewhere, when up until now nothing has been done to reach out to teachers and others in the general public who might offer a different and possibly more enlightening alternative take on why the isolation and long term incarceration of legally presumed innocent teachers was necessary in the first place. Simply stated: Is teach jail about bad teachers or just about saving LAUSD money by getting rid of those at the top of the salary scale as I suggested in my January 15, 2016 article at www.perdaily.com? Up until now has the JLAC looked at LAUSD's financial motive for teacher jail?
While it is understandable that the JLAC would want to be secretive in protecting the integrity of their investigation and what they were looking into and what they had already found out, one must wonder why it took me weeks of reaching out to them before they finally were willing to spend an hour with me on the phone on 8/24/16 listening to my take as to what teacher jail might just be all about, if one was willing to look at all the evidence.
What follows is the JLAC's ten point audit mandate. After going through it yourself, you might consider getting directly in touch with those doing the audit at the JLAC listed below to tell them your experience. One would hope that the more testimony supported with evidence you give, the better chance the JLAC will have in coming up with the real truth about teacher jail. Who knows, maybe if enough of you contact the JLAC, they just might ask for an extension of time to continue looking into the practice of teacher jail at LAUSD and elsewhere.
California State Audit
Elaine Howle, State Auditor
621 Capitol Mall, Suite #120
Sacramento, CA 95814
Mark Reinardy ext. 295
Tammy Lozano ext. 346
2016-103 AUDIT SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES School District Employee Discipline Process
The audit by the California State Auditor will provide independently developed and verified information related to the Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) credentialed employee discipline processes, as well as those of select other school districts, and will include, but not be limited to, the following:
1. Review and evaluate the laws, rules, and regulations significant to the audit objectives.
2. Determine the circumstances under which LAUSD houses teachers who are the subject of a misconduct investigation, and determine the cost of housing teachers, based on the per-teacher cost and overall cost, for the past five years. In determining these costs, include the cost of compensating the housed employee and the cost of a substitute teacher, when applicable.
3. Survey a selection of school districts regarding their policies and practices used when a teacher is the subject of an investigation for misconduct requiring his or her removal from the classroom.
4. Determine the reasons LAUSD houses teachers who are the subject of a misconduct investigation, evaluate the appropriateness of those reasons, and determine whether other, less costly alternatives exist.
5. For a selection of teachers, assesses the manner in which their cases were evaluated, investigated, and resolved. For a selection of teachers who have been housed for a significant amount of time, determine whether the investigations related to those teachers were conducted timely. Also, to the extent possible, for those cases that are still unresolved or were not resolved timely, determine whether the process LAUSD uses to investigate teacher misconduct and to house teachers who are the subject of such an investigation is sufficient to protect the procedural due process rights of the teachers involved.
6. Evaluate whether housing teachers who are on paid leave pending the outcome of a misconduct investigation is a reasonable practice, and determine whether LAUSD follows appropriate policies and practices in making the decision to house such employees.
7. Determine, to the extent possible, whether employees, including those employees who had been housed for a significant period of time during the last five years, ultimately have disciplinary action taken against them by LAUSD or by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing with respect to their teaching credential.
8. Review data from the last five years concerning the number of credentialed school employees at LAUSD who have been housed and the length of time they have been housed. To the extent possible, categorize and present the data grouped by the type of misconduct alleged.
9. To the extent possible, review the impact on students whose teachers have been housed.
10. Review and assess any other issues that are significant to the audit.
This document is #2016-103. Estimated release date of final audit is October 2016.