Times investigation: Failure gets a pass

Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times
Joseph Walker, former principal of Grant High School in Van Nuys, says that because of the uphill battles that administrators face in terminating teachers: "You're not going to fire someone who's not doing their job. And if you have someone who's done something really egregious, there's only a 50-50 chance that you can fire them."
ABOUT THE SERIES: Examining California public school districts' effectiveness in removing teachers and other educators who harm or poorly serve their students.
Judge gives L.A. Unified permission to terminate Matthew Kim, who has done no work for seven years.

L.A. Unified has failed to follow up on complaints once police or prosecutors dropped criminal actions, leaving students vulnerable to molesters.

About 160 instructors and others get salaries for doing nothing while their job fitness is reviewed. They collect roughly $10 million a year, even as layoffs are considered because of a budget gap.

Matthew Kim, one of LAUSD's educators removed from schools with full pay and benefits while awaiting resolution of misconduct cases, speaks publicly for the first time. He denies harassment claims.


A Times investigation finds the process so arduous that many principals don't even try, except in the very worst cases.

Background documents (PDFs)