As we recently noted, California’s government employee unions do not hesitate to tell anybody who will listen that the state capitol is “our house.” Indeed, they hold mass rallies for that purpose. Journalists, on the other hand, have a hard time getting across the reality that government employee unions really run the place. But taxpayers may find some illumination in recent legislation dealing with child abuse.
That has been a big story centered on the Catholic Church, including a notorious Sacramento case. As veteran Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters noted, legislators responded with Senate Bill 131, to allow victims of abuse to sue their abusers’ employer. Trouble is, “the measure also happened to exempt public agencies, including schools, from liability.”
Abuse has also been going on in government schools, including a grade-school teacher charged with 23 counts of lewd acts on children aged 6 to 10. The Los Angeles Unified School District paid the perpetrator $40,000 to drop an appeal of his dismissal. The Senate responded with a bill that would have made it easier to dismiss child abusers, but the California Teachers Association pressured the Assembly to kill it. Instead, as Walters notes, “the CTA and other unions ginned up AB 375, which superficially changes some dismissal procedures but falls well short of what should be done. It would even limit the number of abused children whose testimony could be used against a teacher.” The Assembly duly passed the measure, which prompted Walters to observe, “if the unions can have their way on child abuse, they can have their way on anything in the current legislature.” But long before AB 375 government employee unions knew full well that the state capitol is their house.
That’s why the public K-12 system, the biggest government expenditure in California, is first and foremost a jobs program for adults. For its proclaimed beneficiaries, the students, it remains a collective farm of incompetence, mediocrity and failure. Government employee unions also get their way on gold-plated pensions, benefits and salaries, whatever the cost to embattled taxpayers.