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Education The Courts

Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California 519

Posted by Soulskill
from the maybe-we-could-start-paying-teachers-well-instead dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Tenure laws one of the most controversial aspects of education reform, and now the tide seems to be turning against them. A California judge has handed down a ruling that such laws are unconstitutional, depriving students of an education by sometimes securing positions held by bad teachers. The judge said, "Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience." The plaintiff's case was that "California's current laws make it impossible to get rid of the system's numerous low-performing and incompetent teachers; that seniority rules requiring the newest teachers to be laid off first were harmful; and that granting tenure to teachers after only two years on the job was farcical, offering far too little time for a fair assessment of their skills." This is a precedent-setting case, and there will likely be many similar cases around the country as tenure is challenged with this new ammunition."
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Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

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  • Sound like it is a bad thing...
    • Re:You make it... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Noah Haders (3621429) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:12PM (#47208401)
      this is the best news to happen to k-12 education in a long time.

      some background facts. primary school tenure was first designed as part of the progressive movement in the early 1900s. At the time a teaching position was a super sweet patronage position that a politician awarded his friends. teachers didn't actually do anything, and were replaced when the next pol came in. Nobody was learning!

      one of the successes of the progressive movement was to make a professional class of primary school teachers who were insulated from political fortunes and were professionally schooled in the art of teaching. This was accomplished through employment contracts that made it really hard to fire teachers.

      but the reasons that necessitated tenure are long gone, and all teachers are protected under the standard laws for hiring and firing, which cover us all. They also have a strong union that will ensure protections. So there's no need for special laws that give teachers more advantages than everybody else at the expense of their students.
      • Re:You make it... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:27PM (#47208467)

        Uhhh most states have 'fire at will' laws that mean you can get rid of a person for any reason or no reason whatsoever.

        The long history of public employment abuse definitely shows some sort protection is needed.

        • 1) The abuses go both ways. That's why the need for tenure is in question in the first place. At every place I ever worked, even though it's at will employment, management made sure to have a good case together before letting anyone go out of fear of any litigation. Through the court system there is some level of protection if rights are being violated.

          2) You second statement can be said for anything. "The long history of [insert whatever you want here] abuse definitely shows some sort of protection is n
          • Re:You make it... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @11:00PM (#47208639)

            In every job I've ever held (IT and later engineering), I've seen employees abused by management. The employees ranged from bad to mediocre to great.

            Unpaid OT (as non-exempt), unpaid on-call time 24/7/365, vacation blackouts with a use-it-or-lose-it policy, reprimands for not completing insane workloads and salary / promotion denial are some of the ways in which I have personally witnessed management abusing employees. Some of these things not only happened to myself, but the majority of my coworkers at 4 separate mid to large organizations.

            You will not normally win a lawsuit against your employer with the current labor laws. They will get away with abuse after abuse until something changes.

            These corporations thrive through abusing the working class. Stop defending this behavior.

            • by pete6677 (681676)

              Tenure would do nothing to stop this, and would in fact make it worse. Without tenure, you're free to go work somewhere else if you find the current environment too oppressive. Anyone working in IT knows the importance of being able to switch jobs. You can't plan on working in one place forever. If there were tenure, you would be unable to switch jobs without starting on the bottom at the new place. Good luck escaping a bad work environment under that system! Imagine the horrible political environment that

              • Without tenure, you're free to go work somewhere else if you find the current environment too oppressive.

                Not if the oppression is at the level of an entire school district and you need both your income and that of your SO to make your household's ends meet. Worse, not if the oppression is at the level of an entire state school system.

          • Re:You make it... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by fustakrakich (1673220) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @11:48PM (#47208863) Journal

            The abuses go both ways.

            No, the abuse is always top down. The more power, the more abuse. And why should we have to go to court for every damn thing? That's half the problem anyway, write crappy rules and let the courts "fix" it. Damn lawyers have more clout than anybody... well, after accountants..

            • No, the abuse is always top down.

              Having worked for a union shop (U.S. DoD civil servant), I will simply assert that you're very, very wrong.

        • by Euler (31942)

          Employers (school boards) are not specifically all a bunch of fat cat a-holes walking around looking for people to fire. They will absolutely retain people who do their jobs well. What is the specific conflict of interest inherent to the teaching industry that requires tenure as compared to other industries?

          • In real life, the opposite is true, unfortunately. Even without tenure, incompetent teachers will never get fired, UNLESS they either get active in union politics or express mildly controversial opinions. An obedient drone who doesn't do his job is nevertheless an obedient drone, and thus is not threatening to administrators.
        • Uhhh most states have 'fire at will' laws that mean you can get rid of a person for any reason or no reason whatsoever.

          The long history of public employment abuse definitely shows some sort protection is needed.

          So instead of having excessively permissive state legislation permitting abusive "fire at will" scenarios, coupled with excessively restrictive tenure laws carving out a special exception for educators, doesn't it make more sense to just deal with the source and amend the problematic state legislati

      • Re:You make it... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Jim Sadler (3430529) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @11:42PM (#47208837)
        Not all states allow unions to have much power at all. Favoritism and influence can play a huge part in getting School Board employees wrongfully fired. I will not say that I have never seen a lousy teacher but they are rare. I have seen numerous students that never should have been allowed in a classroom. Teachers have not been allowed to fail many students that need to be failed. In my area it seems that the teachers must beg and cajole students not to drop out of school as our beaches and the like are far too tempting and the curse of the GED diplomas causes kids to quite school early. I would suggest that no driver's license be allowed for school drop outs before the age of 35. That one law would stop half of our drop outs from happening. I would also like to se employers refusing to accept drop outs or GED graduates.
        • Re:You make it... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dentin (2175) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:19AM (#47209021) Homepage

          While I can at some level understand refusing dropouts, refusing GED graduates is stupid. The GED is basically the outer 'catch' block of the primary school system, and without it, there's no legitimate way to get a diploma if you have unusual circumstances. The fact that some kids use it to 'escape' primary school should tell you that there's either a problem with primary schooling, or that the GED process isn't sufficiently strong - but in both cases, the solution to the problem is NOT to make the GED worthless.

    • Re:You make it... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:13PM (#47208405)

      Oh, it's a bad thing, depending on which way you look at it. For union busters this means you can finally sacrifice the weak and infirm on the altar of efficiency. For education activists this means teachers will be more concerned with their job security than ever before, creating a chilling effect in alternative curricula and teaching styles that would reach kids the system would otherwise fail.

      In other words, the education system is about to get a whole lot more one-size-fits-all in California.

      • by mc6809e (214243)

        Oh, it's a bad thing, depending on which way you look at it. For union busters this means you can finally sacrifice the weak and infirm on the altar of efficiency.

        Wait. Are you talking about the children or the teachers?

      • Re:You make it... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TWX (665546) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:42PM (#47208535)
        Some of the details of California's rules really seemed ripe for this ruling, but I don't think that it's ultimately necessary to throw out the entire concept. Case in point, two years? That is too short. The word "tenure" itself was based on an expectation that it would take ten years to get there.

        On the other hand, teachers can only work with the students that they are assigned. The only way to fairly assess teacher performance is to compare not only the performance of the students during the year that they're assigned to that teacher, but to compare all other years both before and after.

        The simplest way to do this is to remove assessment from the teacher's responsibilities. Let teachers teach, let section, unit, quarter, and semester tests be a function of the school district or the state, and use curriculum services to ensure that what the teachers are asked to teach actually matches what the district or state expects them to do. This frees up teacher time from rote grading of exams, and lets them spend more time on their lesson plans and on extra assistance if students need it.

        The other advantage is that now one can track both the student's achievement across multiple teachers, and the teachers' achievement across multiple students over multiple years, and how those students have done as they've progressed through the grades. This allows the school district as the employer to identify teachers that are struggling or are bad-fits for the grades that they're teaching, or to identify teachers whose majority of students do poorly for the long term. It also lets the system identify teachers that receive severely underperforming students, to honestly assess how they do with students that come in to a school year without the fundamentals needed to succeed on the level that they're normally expected to.

        It can also show exemplary teachers that take students that are highly underperforming and bringing them up to levels to succeed.
        • Re:You make it... (Score:5, Informative)

          by physicsphairy (720718) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @11:30PM (#47208797) Homepage

          The word "tenure" itself was based on an expectation that it would take ten years to get there.

          It actually stems from the Latin word tenere meaning to hold, as in tenant, tenacity, etc. It's not etymologically related to the number ten.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by rtb61 (674572)

          You missed bits and pieces like. Whose fault is the student teacher ratio, the students, the teachers or the administration. Interactive learning experiences that help engage students in learning and put lessons skills into practice, how often are they provided, student's fault, teacher's fault or administration's fault. How about teachers skills, science teachers teaching science, maths teachers teaching math, computer teachers teaching computers, so inappropriate teacher assignment, student's fault, teac

          • by nbauman (624611)

            So some politically motivated judge makes a pretty crap ruling based upon ideology and not law.

            Judge Treu isn't able to get his facts right, either. Treu quoted David Berliner as saying that 1-3% of teachers in California are "grossly ineffective." What Berliner actually said was that 1-3% of teachers would give him "cause for concern."

            http://www.eiaonline.com/inter... [eiaonline.com]
            Judge Rules in Favor of Vergara Thanks to David Berliner?!
            Mike Antonucci - Jun 10, 14

            Despite his efforts, it might have been better for the defendants if Dr. Berliner had stayed home. Judge Treu’s decision contains this paragraph:

        • by khchung (462899)

          On the other hand, teachers can only work with the students that they are assigned. The only way to fairly assess teacher performance is to compare not only the performance of the students during the year that they're assigned to that teacher, but to compare all other years both before and after.

          Almost EVERY SINGLE JOB IN THE WORLD IS LIKE THAT, it must be news to teachers who never worked other jobs.

          Every salesperson in a store can only work with customers that come in the store. Every bank teller can only work with customers coming into the branch. Every programmer can only work on projects they were assigned to. etc, etc.

          That doesn't stop all other professions' performance from being assessed.

          To the similar extent that a usual worker has in choosing their work, teachers also get the negotiate

      • And that is just one of the many many motives because education should not be managed by the government. It can be paid by the government, but putting the government to manage it opens the doors for all kinds of abuse in addition to government's natural inefficiency. Either you have overprotect employees that can do or not do anything and are all but unfireable or you have employees fired because of political and bureaucratic motives regardless of their competence.
      • by Jack9 (11421)

        > In other words, the education system is about to get a whole lot more one-size-fits-all in California.

        That was the whole point of the suit.

    • Re:You make it... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twistedcubic (577194) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:18AM (#47209011)
      Of course, now the best teachers will flock to the poorest schools since they no longer have job security. It's about time! I refuse to work for any Wall Street firm which gives year-end bonuses. How can you attract the best and brightest by making the job more attractive? That's insane.
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:07PM (#47208375)

    Tenure exists to ensure that professors can pursue unpopular lines of inquiry without being troubled by university politics. It makes no sense in primary or secondary education.

    • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:14PM (#47208415)

      I mostly agree, but OTOH, some subjects do deal with touchy topics in highschool. History is a good example, it wasn't until I got to college and took a history class when I learned just how much of what I was taught was outright wrong. But, it was popular to paint slavery and WWII in a specific light even though the reality was very different. Nobody bothered to talk about the free blacks that lived in the South prior to the civil war. And the history teachers never bothered to mention the Germans and Italians that were in American concentration camps alongside the Japanese.

      You're right that tenure doesn't make any real sense in the primary or secondary systems, but that's not to say that it's a good idea to completely chuck it.

      • But you have to weight the good that a good teacher can do with more breathing room with the bad. For every single teacher who might chuck the curriculum because it is politically correct garbage, 100 would use it to teach creationism.

        At the end of the day these are high school teachers, they are not really qualified to make judgement calls on what the truth is.

        • by Euler (31942)

          Exactly. A university professor may have some argument for tenure when doing controversial research. But even then, maybe that professor should shop around for a university that is more sympathetic. But in primary and high schools, the curriculum is usually predefined. The school should absolutely have the tools to retain and reward the most effective teachers.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:17PM (#47208429)

      The thing is, what I see it do, working at a university, is protect old professors from having to do any work. We have professors who teach one class, or even none at all, do not have a research lab, and are barely around on campus. Yet they are not fired, because revoking tenure is a near impossible process. So they get to collect their paycheck and do next to nothing.

      It doesn't seem to help with regards to unpopular research because you have to do a bunch of research to begin with to get tenure. Who decides if you get it? Your peers, of course. So if you show up and do unpopular research, well then you aren't going to get tenure. It is a very real popularity contest.

      The only way it would help is if someone came in, didn't say what they really wanted to research, did popular research for 6-8 years, got tenure, finished up that research to satisfy the grants they had gotten, then started on their unpopular research. That requires an awful lot of planning and subterfuge. Hence you basically never see it.

      It really seems mostly to function to protect a good old boys club and make sure that if professors want to be completely useless during their twilight years, but not retire so they can still collect more money and get to play big shot on the university's dime, they can do so with no real fear of retaliation.

      • by SydShamino (547793) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @11:11PM (#47208687)

        My old professors who had retired from research were the best I had. The younger ones were all too focused on their research ("other job") to be an effective instructor. The older ones still taught because they loved to teach and it really showed in their classes.

      • by chihowa (366380) * on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @11:24PM (#47208759)

        So they get to collect their paycheck and do next to nothing.

        That must vary by field.

        In the sciences, if a professor doesn't bring in funding for research, doesn't have any administrative roles, and doesn't teach, they don't get a paycheck. Their lab space will eventually be taken away and they will be left with only an office (which may be downgraded, Office Space style, to let active faculty have the nicer offices). It's a pretty pathetic way to go out and very few people seem to do it.

      • It goes both ways; there may be a lot of sub-par lazy professors out there, but the fruits are so valuable that you can see it as buying a lottery ticket that actually has a positive expected payout. It's hard to picture a world where breakthroughs on difficult problems and honest research that lead to controversial findings don't exist, so we get too used to it - and forget these can't be allowed to happen if they are hindered by poor academic culture and policies.

        A lot of professors that work hard are pro

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Until you consider EXACTLY how unpopular hard teachers are with students, and parents, because they make the students learn, not just pass them blindly.

      Especially when it's the football team.

      But hell, I'll believe politicians care about tenure when they start voting themselves out.

    • Nonsense. If your reason for the existence of tenure is valid, then K-12 teachers need it much more that university professors. K-12 teaching is ALL politics. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you have no experience in education.
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SydShamino (547793) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @11:19PM (#47208731)

      I think you woefully underestimate the office politics in primary school administration. There are far too many administrators who want to micromanage their teachers and/or suck up to parents. And the "unpopular" part is telling parents that it's their fault - or their kid's fault - that he or she got a bad grade, especially when that parent can march into the office and complain to the principal thereafter.

      It's not exactly the same as at college, but the pressures are there. The process to get rid of bad teachers needs to be objective, and merely eliminating tenure to restore "fire at will" will be nothing of the sort.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What, you mean like refusing to teach teach intelligent design ?

      How about a teacher who ARE good but is not anti-gay or not anti-abortion within the bible belt ?

      How about teachers who ARE good but are unpopular because they have high homework requirements, or they have a non nonsense in class attitude.

  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:11PM (#47208399)

    It's worth pointing out the law was ruled unconstitutional vs. the California state constitution, not the Federal constitution. Any state that does not have a "right to an education" clause in their constitution probably has legal tenure laws, at least vs that argument.

    The slightly breathless article claiming this is "new ammunition" for challenges in other states is overstating the usefulness of the ruling, especially considering the judge ordered California tenure law to remain in place during appeal. State constitutions are independent of one another, so a ruling in one state court carries very little weight in another state's court.

    • related to this is the joke of a document that is the CA constitution. if the US constitution is like the three laws of robotics, enumerating a core set of principles from which other principles follow, without containing any fluff or extra junk, the CA constitution is like that scene in Robocop where the citizen's commission filled Robocop's head with dozens of directives like "don't jaywalk" and basically shut him down.

      Case in point - there was a big fight over whether or not to legalize indian casinos.
      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @11:25PM (#47208767) Journal

        pretty sweet to be in a politically connected union and have no ambitions other than riding your current job into a fully-paid retirement at age 55.

        This used to be called "middle class."
        You're so far divorced from the way things used to be, that now it's some kind of offense for people to retire while they still have their health.

        Books have been written on the destruction of the American pension system.
        The "how" varies from decade to decade, but it's not a pretty story, no matter which period of time you want to look at.

  • by wannabe (90895) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:12PM (#47208403)

    At the college level, tenure is an important consideration for professors. It allows research into areas that are unpopular in a contemporary setting without fearing for employment. It facilitates the free exchange of ideas that are so important in a proper educational setting. However, in a public school at the primary or secondary level, what new and contentious ideas are expressed? What fear do teachers have in parroting their lessons to the students? Lessons are handed down from on high and the teachers are responsible to ensure students are proficient (in theory). So why is it that we need public school teachers to have tenured positions?

    I am open to thoughts on this subject, but based on what I know right now, providing high school teachers with tenure is a big load of crap. It keeps bad teachers in place and is simply one more outdated benefit that society can no longer afford. When high school teachers are working on original research and disseminating their results to students, then tenure is justified. Until then, it's just one more barrier to improvement.

    • by bussdriver (620565) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @11:03PM (#47208647)

      Universities have decreased in tenure and didn't give it out easily to begin with; that is what I've been told, I don't have data to back that up but in my experience, only 1 person in the dept had tenure. It took the poor guy just 4 years from retirement to finally get it; the rest are probably not going to get it and they are not much younger.

      Meanwhile teachers in k-12 only have to survive without making waves for 2 years and they are set. Now, people might hear that they can't be fired; but that is NOT the case. It depends on the system how bad that is.

      The standardized testing system is a joke and you won't make it much better than the joke it is. Unlike most subjects, education is a FUZZY topic and trying to quantify it is is impossible to do. But we are making idiotic metrics so that we can "fix" the system along those metrics...

      The reality is, from what I heard from a big player in the GOP is the plan is to RUIN public education and destroy the union as well. People like education too much so they must be made to hate it, then they will be receptive to formerly unpopular ideas like privatization of schooling and letting the poor fend for themselves -- a neocon dreamland. The expensive debt producing No Child Left Behind was designed to harm the system; it had no motives other than that. I got it from the horse's mouth.

      Their plans have worked extremely well. we hate the unions, we hate teachers, we love accountability but hate that people wanting to keep their jobs are teaching to the tests we measure them on. Education is turning into wrote learning; which is great if your future is at Walmart or in a 1st world sweat shop. The elite can pay for better schools (because they are better humans; duh! they have more money ) so their kids can learn to rule. History repeats... One has to expect it to trend towards the norm of human history (which never was democracy or upward mobility.)

    • by bhlowe (1803290)
      If it is a pile, then rest assured it will be reinstated by the ninth circuit court.

    • However, in a public school at the primary or secondary level, what new and contentious ideas are expressed?

      That's easy. A 3rd grade math teacher insists on his students memorizing multiplication tables. The principal disagrees, saying "drill and kill" is just outdated, and the students must use calculators instead. The teacher ignores the principal, who knows nothing of mathematics instruction. The teacher is put on leave for insubordination, and eventually fired.

    • However, in a public school at the primary or secondary level, what new and contentious ideas are expressed?

      Another example: Instead of participating in "social promotion", an 8th grade math teacher fails 50% of his class since none of them can add fractions. The principal considers this outrageous since the students have been taking lousy math courses their entire lives and deserves a break. The teacher disagrees, and is aware of state (California) law which says teachers have the final say in grades
    • This is another one of those political talking points that amount to nothing more than dishonest quibbling. Yes, the kind of "tenure" that university professors get would make no sense for a high school teacher, but that's not what "tenure" means in public schools. It has the same *name*, but it means something *different*.

      It's practically impossible to get rid of a university professor with tenure. An elementary school teacher *can* be fired, but only for specific causes. Here are the list of causes whic

  • About time... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:16PM (#47208421)

    I worked in schools as an IT guy for several years. I cannot tell you how many bad teachers were there simply because they had tenure. Far, far too many. Teachers should be judged by their ability to teach, impart knowledge, by their merits as educators. Full stop. Test results should count against teachers. As should ability to control the class at large. So many teachers fail in the basics of being an adult. Sadly, college does not prepare teachers to handle conflict, personality traits, student discipline, etc. Most teachers throw their hands up and either declare the children delinquents or send those same children to the office over and over again rather than try and get to the root of the issue.

    I was blessed to have been given the chance to be a mentor for a student that wanted to go into IT via high school graduation and onto college. He was my intern for a school year. All he wanted was to learn in an environment that worked for him, not the stoicism of the classroom. I let him run with tasks to see him work and he shined. I spoke to the couselors about him and his grades for the year in other classes improved markedly because of a little care from someone. Schools suck largely because there is no accountability of the teachers. They "teach" students to pass the state standards exams. There is NO critical thinking taught, no thinking for yourself. Most kids in their senior year don't even know what a dangling participle is, let alone a gerund, or basics like using semicolons. My own intern thought Africa was a single country. He said others think the same. He couldn't find Israel on the giant wall map with the laser pointer.

    Teachers need to be taken to task as well as school administrators. Education is not what it once was, sadly.

    • Bad Comparison (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twistedcubic (577194) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @11:33PM (#47208807)
      Your example shows that if a knowledgable person takes a single student under their wing, the student might thrive. Now, imagine yourself in front of a classroom full of 30 students, most of whom are totally uninterested in your field. Do you have the same amount of time to commit to that one student who is really interested? You can't compare yourself to "bad" teachers, for you might be a bad teacher yourself under the same circumstances. Anyone can be a great teacher to one bright, really interested student.
  • by DarkFencer (260473) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:23PM (#47208455)

    There are important reasons for tenure in K-12 education, especially in this era. K-12 schools (and in turn teachers) in many areas receive incredible pressure from parents. It used to be if a child got poor grades the teacher wasn't the one blamed. Now there are many parents who have spoiled brats who they believe can do no wrong.

    That being said, tenure's protections should exist but should make teacher's positions far less invincible than they are in many areas now. There should be a process of discipline and removal for poor teachers. It should be as objective as possible so as to avoid undue parental pressure.

    Otherwise it creates a perverse incentive for teachers to inflate grades of their students.

    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      There should be a process of discipline and removal for poor teachers. It should be as objective as possible so as to avoid undue parental pressure.

      Therein lies the problem. What should it be based on? How many students pass? Standardized test scores? How about teachers that are good but get a job at a school whose students are generally poorer-performing vs teachers that aren't as good but work at a school with a higher caliber of students?

      • Therein lies the problem. What should it be based on? How many students pass? Standardized test scores? How about teachers that are good but get a job at a school whose students are generally poorer-performing vs teachers that aren't as good but work at a school with a higher caliber of students?

        Oh - I completely understand that it is a difficult question. Many of the evaluation options thrown out by people involve more standardize testing (which will favor students, and in turn teachers in better socioeco

  • Sure, tenure makes no sense for schools.

    But, what I'm really wondering is: Just what was the creative logic that the /judges/ used to conclude that tenure violated something (civil rights?) enshrined in the state constitution..

         

  • Can't be. What next? PEU-Dem (Public-Employee Union-Democratic party relationship) found to be one party rule? Nah. A judge actually shedding light on Calfornia's corrupted system. It's got to be April. I'm sweating like a pig, it's 8 PM and the Sun ain't gone down yet though. Something ain't right. Damned pranksters.

  • The others will be evaluated highly time and again. Hence the majority of teachers (which are incompetent, have no doubt) tried to secure their positions by lobbying for these laws. The same is, incidentally, going on with professors.

    • Nonsense. It's not unheard of that an unscrupulous principal tries to fire a teacher who makes his incompetence evident via simple free speech.
  • "Tenure laws one of the most..."

    Can the poster buy a verb? Or maybe have their non-tenured English teacher buy one for them?
  • "Tenure laws one of the most controversial aspects of education reform, and now the tide seems to be turning against them.

    Clearly, the submitter was instructed by a series of undeservedly-tenured English teachers.

  • mixed bag (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rutulian (171771) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:20AM (#47209033)

    Tenure is a mixed bag. Yes, it can protect bad teachers, but it also...
          1) Protects experienced senior teachers. You might not think this is important, but guess what? Older, experienced teachers are generally more expensive and have more political influence. Hip new administrator comes in, wants to to change things up, slim down the budget. Get rid of the older teachers first beacuse the younger are cheaper and easier to control.
          2) Protects good teachers. You know the ones that actually teach and care about education, and don't just give A's to everyone for showing up and sitting at their desk. Actual teaching and enforcing academic standards tends to upset certain kinds of parents. Administrators don't like vocal and upset parents.
          3) Protects teachers that push against the administration. Not teaching to the test, enriching the curriculum, doing what might be considered risky things by some ( lab experiments, field trips, etc). Administration often doesn't want this, because it creates headaches for them, but teachers want it because it enhances the education of their students.
          4) In areas with strong influence by outside political groups, protects teachers that teach controversial subjects. Science vs. creationism is one example, but certainly not the only one. History, economics, literature, art...all of these can have controversial topics. Of course, we don't really teach these anymore, but that is a different topic.

    Whether or not tenure exists and how it is granted is really missing the point. If you want to improve the quality of teachers, we need to be looking at the evaluation systems that are in place, whether they exist, and why they may or may not be working. Most teachers simply are never evaluated ever, or they are evaluated in completely useless ways. Address that, and then maybe we can deal more easily with underperforming teachers, adjusting the tenure rules as necessary but keeping its major benefits.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen

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