Maybe it’s just because I live in New York. I mean, intuitively I’m positive that there must be stories in nearly every state of the union where you’ll hear about public school systems, teachers unions and horrendous educators running out of control. But it sure seems like these stories all come from the Empire State. Case in point.

A health teacher at a high school in Manhattan, joking about life for homosexuals in prison, forced a male student to bend over a desk, lined up behind him to simulate a sex act…

A high school science teacher in the Bronx who had already been warned about touching female students brushed his lower body against one student’s leg during a lab exercise, coming so close that she told investigators she could feel his genitals…

And a math teacher at a high school in the Bronx, investigators said, sent text messages to and called one of his female students nearly 50 times in a four-week period…

The New York City Education Department wanted to fire these teachers. But in these and 13 other cases in recent years in which teachers were accused of inappropriate behavior with students, the city was overruled by an arbitrator who, despite finding wrongdoing, opted for a milder penalty like a fine, a suspension or a formal reprimand.

In New York it’s nearly impossible to get rid of a failing teacher under normal circumstances. The system is rigged worse than a Vegas casino. Once the teachers receive tenure – which I believe happens about five minutes after they send in their first dues payment to the union these days – they can pretty much never show up for work again and you can’t get them off the public payroll.

But what about when they are accused of things which are either criminal offenses or, if not technically illegal, so far beyond the pale that no sane person would consider leaving them in a room with children? Apparently there are no sane people in the system, including the “independent arbitrators” who get to review each and every case, including criminal convictions, and decide if firing is appropriate.

What I’d like to see next is an investigation into exactly who these arbitrators are, what process is used to select them and who qualifies to be in the pool of potential candidates. This is all far too much to be simple coincidence.