If you run a business that depends on hiring folks with high school diplomas, you are perfectly justified for feeling distressed. Two recent events have damaged your prospects.

The first is the non-decision in the Vergara vs. California lawsuit. That’s the case in which a Los Angeles judge a couple of years ago said it “shocks the conscience” how students, particularly poor students, are hurt by terrible teachers who can’t be fired, thanks to teacher tenure laws.

The case revealed that only 91 teachers in the entire state had been dismissed over a 10-year period. Yet the state Supreme Court on Aug. 22 refused to hear an appeal, which means teacher tenure rules remain the law of this undereducated land. And terrible teachers may continue in their classrooms, pushing through generations of your future work force.

The second damaging development is the legislature’s failure to renew the so-called district of choice law. That law allows parents to freely transfer their children out of their home public school district to another one, so long as that second district agrees to take them. It’s a way for some motivated parents to get their kids into a district they think is an upgrade. But with the renewal of the law intentionally blocked, it appears the district-of-choice option is in peril and could cease next summer. That would be particularly devastating, by the way, to the Oak Park district, where 40 percent of the students are transferred in.

A man I know once managed a fast-food restaurant, and he relayed his frustration over the poor education his high school hires had. Notably, they routinely struggled to make change, he said. If the cash register told a kid to give 68 cents in change to the customer at the counter, for example, the kid might say something like, “Let’s see, 68 cents. Do I start with two quarters or three?”

If you hire college graduates, you are not directly affected by this. But if you are dependent on hiring people with high school diplomas or less, you can expect more employees who can’t make change taking command of your cash register.

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The article in this issue about Louis Perry points out something interesting: Business operators don’t need to hire an expensive public relations professional to get attention in the press.

If you work at it and learn a few secrets, as Perry has, you can get plenty of free articles about you in the news media – without a press agent.

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