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Times investigation finds tortuous path for firing LAUSD teachers

May 2, 2009 | 11:00 am

It's remarkably difficult to fire a tenured public school teacher in California, a Times investigation has found. The path can be laborious and labyrinthine, in some cases involving years of investigation, union grievances, administrative appeals, court challenges and hearings.

Not only is the process arduous, but some districts are particularly unsuccessful in navigating its complexities. The Los Angeles Unified School District sees the majority of its firings overturned, and its administrators are far less likely even to try firing a tenured teacher than those in other districts.

The Times reviewed every case on record in the last 15 years in which a tenured employee was fired by a California school district and formally contested the decision before a review commission: 159 in all (not including about two dozen in which the records were destroyed). The newspaper also examined court and school district records and interviewed scores of people, including principals, teachers, union officials, district administrators, parents and students.

Read Part One of The Times' "Failure Gets a Pass" investigation, written by Jason Song. 

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