Hard-charging investigative reporter Scott Reeder has done it again. Last seen documenting the hidden costs of teacher tenure, Reeder has just published the findings of another months-long investigation into how Illinois schools are rigged in favor of protecting bad teachers. As usual, teachers unions share the blame.
One example is that of teacher Derek Babcock, who was accused by a former student of serious sexual abuse. In exchange for his resignation, the school district agreed to tell his prospective employers the following:
Derek Babcock was employed by the Board of Education of Seneca Community School District #170, LaSalle County, Illinois, from August 1984 until November 1996 when he resigned for personal reasons. Mr. Babcock performed his teaching duties throughout this period which consisted of teaching third grade, elementary physical education and coaching various sports. His final annual salary was $43,416. The board does not release further information.
Why was Babcock given such a privileged resignation instead of getting investigated and fired? An earlier Reeder investigation reveals the answer:
[Babcock] had leverage to get a job referral because the school district hoped to avoid the costly litigation incurred in tenured teacher dismissal cases.Using open records laws, Small Newspaper Group obtained attorney billings from all Illinois school districts that retained outside counsel to fire a tenured teacher during a five year period. The average legal bill was $219,000.
It’s the teachers unions, of course, who “protect a procedure the law has put together called tenure.” (That’s a quote from Newark Teachers Union president Joseph Del Grosso, whose union has provided exactly the same kind of cover against allegations of sexual misdeeds — click here to read a sample settlement.)