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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Teacher credentialing commission fails students in California - Orange Punch - The Orange County Register

"Twenty-four past and present members are related to each other — “a small percentage,” according to the leaders of the 160-person staff.

But the matter cannot end with a few personnel changes and short-term oversight. Every member of the commission who abused the public trust by allowing children to be stuck in classrooms with incompetent or criminal teachers should immediately step down and possibly face child endangerment charges. More extensive audits need to be done to identify and address serious problems. In addition, the watchdog position should be permanent.

And there needs to be transparency. Currently the public can go into the commission’s database only to verify a teacher’s credential. The system should be upgraded to operate like the Medical Board of California’s website, where one can learn if any doctor has been accused of wrongdoing by the board, convicted of a felony or issued a letter of reprimand.

Even if the worst offenders detailed in Howle’s report constitute a small percentage of the overall cases, our children should never have been exposed to those teachers once the problems surfaced."


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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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