California - LA Superior Court judge rules tenure unconstitutional

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by joeschmoe, Jun 10, 2014.

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  1. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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  3. KinderCowgirl

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    I think it's a big deal that it went through. Pennsylvania is considering similar legislation. I have a feeling we'll see a lot more being repealed across the US. California tends to start trends in education.

    What really angers me is they are saying they did it for the poor kids-because they deserve good teachers too. What they could have done for those kids with the money they spent on a lengthy lawsuit....
     
  4. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I was really surprised to hear about this today. I think there will be a ripple effect from this. CA is a pretty influential state.

    The disparity, including educational inequality, between the haves and have nots in California is disgusting, but I really don't think it has anything to do with tenure. This is just an example of focusing on the wrong issue.

    This doesn't affect me personally at all since I work at a charter, but I'm still curious and scared to see where this leads.

    I had to stop myself from reading more than 2 or 3 comments...nothing makes me angrier than the comments on these education articles.
     
  5. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I think what disheartens me more than anything are the comments following this article. It's basically a chorus of:

    I don't have any job protection so why should teachers? Your job is a piece of cake anyway!


    I predict within 10 years public education will either be eliminated or in the small minority.
     
  6. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    A cynical part of me wish everything they want comes to fruition (union abolished, test based evaluations, privatized education, etc.) so they can see first hand how stupid they are.
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I used to think it was only cynics who thought that, but now I truly believe that as well. The PR machine has done a really good job at only getting negative stories out in the media. I don't think people really understand the process for teachers. And Arne Duncan was all for it, so that should tell you something as well.
     
  8. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    They may find themselves with a bunch of high school drop-outs teaching the K-12 students. No self-respecting person with a bachelor's or advanced degree will take the job. (Who knows? Maybe they're deliberately trying to attract people who'll work for $9-an-hour!)

    :dunno:
     
  9. gr3teacher

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    I really wish the general public would stop actively hating teachers and public education. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that some people in power really want the general population to be poorly educated.
     
  10. GeetGeet

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    i agree.
     
  11. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Just to clarify, this is not a law that was enacted, but a court decision rendered by a single judge. My California public school terminated four tenured staff members last year, almost ten percent of the tenured staff. I find the argument that terminations are impossible to effect in the face of tenure to be ridiculous. The cause of poor teachers continuing to be employed in California schools is primarily that administrators are unwilling to make the hard choices they are being paid to make.
     
  12. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    To put it bluntly, any tenured teacher anywhere in the US, at any K-12 school that needs to be fired, WOULD be fired if administration did their due diligence.
     
  13. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I see this over and over and over again.
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Hmmm... It will be interesting to see what happens now.
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Interesting point. I remember when I went through my credential program my professor, also a HS principal, talked about a time she fired a tenured teacher. There is a process that admin has to go through, but it is possible. So, the idea that you can´t fire tenured teachers is not exactly correct. It is possible, given that the P (and possibly school board? I´m not sure ) go through the correct process.
     
  16. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Your anecdotal evidence does not stand up to the real story. When a forum as liberal as the LA Times bemoans how difficult it is to get rid of teachers that is undeniable.

    It was also determined last week that keeping teachers on the payroll not teaching is illegal. Why would districts keep bad teachers on the payroll for any reason other than it is simply not worth the headache to get it of them? Is it impossible? No. Is it needlessly complicated? Absolutely.

    Supbar teachers should not be the classroom, period. Let's start with that the premise and go from there. I'm glad this judge is more concerned with the rights of the students to have a proper teacher than for a teacher to have a proper job.
     
  17. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I hesitate to say this, but I don't disagree with what the decision actually says: that teacher tenure decisions are made too soon -- really after just 18 months -- and that allowing three to five years before making a decision would be fair. I actually think giving more time before offering or denying tenure would benefit teachers, since newbies struggling in their first years wouldn't be penalized too soon. (Aka, in all honestly, people like me).

    However...the decision cites from Brown vs. Board of Ed, saying that all students have a right to an equal education. I could not agree more with this idea. However, I think it's ridiculous to think that teacher tenure laws are what is keeping more bad teachers in low-income, under-performing schools. It's not tenure laws causing the achievement gap between high-paying, high-performing districts and low-paying, low-performing districts. There are so many other factors at stake, and the huge disparities district to district in teacher salaries alone is just one issue that pops right out to me. So the decision might not be bad, but it also isn't going to solve the problem it's supposed to be tackling. IMHO.
     
  18. PrincessDaisy

    PrincessDaisy Rookie

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    Am saddened for those who tenure, but not surprised. This will spread. :( Tenure is becoming a dinosaur.
     
  19. PrincessDaisy

    PrincessDaisy Rookie

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    To be fair, there's a certain element that feel will never be out of public schools that will always make private schools better. If I had children I wouldn't send them to public schools.
     
  20. PrincessDaisy

    PrincessDaisy Rookie

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    A lot of subpar teachers not only started that way, these usually have the "right" last names... :unsure:
     
  21. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    It's also not the end of the world- I've been a private school teacher for 6 years now, never had tenure in a private school, and it's fine. It keeps me on my toes and I honestly think I'm a better teacher for it.

    Perhaps the tenure program does have to be revamped to allow more time for new teachers to learn and develop their skills and for more experienced teachers to continue to develop their expertise as well.

    (As a side note, it concerns me greatly that a single judge can throw out a law/rule like this. Seems to be happening more and more often.)
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Perhaps this lack of tenure might be enough to look at teaching degrees and training in the whole picture. If a teacher needs more than 3 years to "learn" how to be competent, think of all of the kids along the way that get a subpar education.
     
  23. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    As a 31 year teacher, what worries me is that teachers with seniority could be fired based on one unreasonable complaining parent, or a principal with a bias.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

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    And will be, because more experienced teachers are more expensive.
     
  25. KinderCowgirl

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    Right, and it also directly said that when they need to do layoffs based on enrollment changes, etc. seniority rules that usually apply will not anymore. Of course if you have to lay off 10 teachers, the business-minded admins will choose those that cost them the most. So it won't just affect "bad" teachers.

    We don't have tenure in our district anymore. I agree it's not the end of the world, but I do think it's a big step for those who are anti-educators these days.
     
  26. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I was just stating that tenured teachers can be fired. I'm not opining on my own thoughts on tenure, just making a statement.
     
  27. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    This bothers me too. Although, when I tell people (who know MD well) that I teach for Baltimore City PS, they usually begin to change their tune. Then, I get a lot of comments praising me for teaching those "delinquents, future criminals, blah blah blah." Or they give the look-of-pity.

    Whenever someone talks about how easy teaching is; I offer them to come to my job and teach my kids for a day. Hopefully, they're still standing at 3 pm.
     
  28. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    When it comes to poor preforming schools, I don't think tenure is the key reason why these schools are failing and I don't think low pay is necessarily the issue either. I'm all for making the most money possible but I also agree with those that say earning more money will make teachers work harder.

    I really don't believe that higher pay does will equate to better student outcomes. I work in one of the highest paying districts in my state (which pays very well in general). Yet, we are one of the worst performing districts. Have been for decades and paying teachers more won't fix the underlying issues.

    Also, spending more money on students does not always equate to better outcomes. When I was in grad school and worked with Detroit PS (2007-2008); I studied data that showed that DPS spent more per-pupil than many of the wealthy districts in the state, yet had little to show for it regards to academic results. Spending more money on students and teacher salaries is a start, but I really don't think it is the solution to solving the issues that plague many of the lowest preforming schools in the nation.

    There are some fundamental, foundational issues that need to be addressed in the communities of these districts in order for things to improve and change.
     
  29. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    :yeahthat:

    People don't like to hear that because it complicates the whole economic disparity narrative, but it's true for many under-performing districts.
     
  30. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    As an 11 year teacher, what worries me is that teachers with seniority can hold a position over a teacher who outperforms him.

    That's what this lawsuit is really about, the whole "tenure" side of it is really just a red-herring. It was brought specifically because good teachers were being laid off strictly because they were number x on a list of seniority. I've seen it happen repeatedly as my site in my 11 years. Apparently the judge agreed.
     
  31. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I have so many mixed emotions right now.

    First off, as a classroom teacher, I was given a pink slip on THREE different occasions. Each of those times, though, I dodged a bullet and was rehired before the school year was over (unfortunately, I was moved to a different site after being rehired). It was sickening having to go through this year-after-year. The teachers with my seniority date and I all experienced the layoff process together (thankfully, we can smile about it now--although we shed quite a few tears together at the time).

    It was so incredibly unnerving knowing that there was a teacher at my site who would literally sit with her feet on the desk when the principal did walkthroughs. Her response in the teachers' lounge was always, "What're they gonna do? Fire me? I've been here for 25+ years!"

    On the other hand, I know a ton of really wonderful teachers. What happens if they work under administration who really feels that they're not the right fit for the district? Or even worse--what if the district wants to get rid of a teacher who's well paid in order to hire two fresh-out-of-college teachers for half the pay as the tenured teacher? Will they be able to be let go?

    Here's what I do know: As an administrator, I will never earn tenure. I'm the type of person who will put forth 150%--tenure or no tenure!
     
  32. Go Blue!

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    Between city/local funding and state funding (which usually includes money from other districts); many urban, inner-city districts are actually pretty well-funded in comparison to surrounding districts. The real issue with these funds is that the money is usually misappropriated and wasted at the city and/or district level. Lots of this money never actually makes it to the important things (PDs/workshops, curriculum, school-based needs, salaries, etc). There is also wasteful spending at the school level also.
     
  33. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    This is so true. I can honestly say that my teacher credentialing program provided me with very little of what I actually needed to make it through my first years teaching. Student teaching is not always, but too often, a far cry from actual teaching. There was a thread recently in which some current student teachers said they were never allowed to manage a classroom on their own. I was lucky in my ST experience since I had a great mentor who let me fly solo early and often, but it was still not enough.

    I think teacher preparation programs should cut down on the BS classes and put student teachers in the classroom, for a full day, from Day One of the school year, and they should be there all day, every day, teaching alongside their mentors and eventually planning, prepping, teaching and grading on their own, until they can fully function as actual teachers. Classroom management also needs to be systematically taught with specific skill training, role play and modeling. We should not be turning out new teachers who are woefully underprepared and letting them learn the trade on one, two, or three years' worth of students.
     
  34. Jerseygirlteach

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    I don't know that there's a perfect solution and I certainly don't want a teacher to be able to put her feet up and mock that she cannot be fired. Although, truth be told, I think that's a big exception rather than the rule for tenured teachers. Almost all the teachers that I work with are tenured and they work their behinds off - not because they fear losing their jobs, but because they are dedicated professionals. Fear and greed are not the only motivating factors in this world.

    I want teachers to be accountable and bad teachers that cannot and/or will not improve should be removed from their positions. However, I also want teachers to have job protections in place so they cannot be fired without cause. Otherwise, you can bet that when it comes to trimming the budget, the higher paid teachers will have a target on their backs. That should keep overall teacher salaries low. Also, the same things that come into play in the private sector can also come into play in the public sector:

    Nepotism

    Teachers being let go because of personality differences

    Administrators who come from one district to another and want to bring their own people with them so some who are already there have to go

    And please don't come back at me with "Well, the private sector doesn't have job security so why should teachers?" I think everyone should be entitled to some level of job security, especially after being in their position for several years.
     
  35. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    We don't have tenure in my state. The system we do have though seems to work pretty well, except that good teachers can and sometimes do get let go for one reason or another. First year teachers are on a probationary contract. They are evaluated their first, second, and third years at a specific district. After year 3, they are evaluated every 3 years afterwards. And they're contracts go from probationary to continuing.
     
  36. KinderCowgirl

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    STG-our district doesn't issue continuing contracts anymore. Everyone is evaluated year to year and considered "probationary". To my knowledge since we started this system there was not a huge number of teachers who were fired because of it.

    It just surprises me that the general public/education system thinks this is going to fix anything. As others have said you can get rid of tenured teachers, it's just a more lengthy process that admins don't always want to get involved in. I think people's view is that there is a huge number of ineffective teachers out there and that's why Johnny is not learning-I don't think facts support that.
     
  37. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    :yeahthat:
     
  38. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    That sounds like a really good program to have. :thumb:
     
  39. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    :thumb:
     
  40. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    All I want from tenure is that I'm given the right to due process before being terminated because of a he-said-she-said between me, a student, or a parent, and the right to go through an improvement plan before I'm just randomly terminated without warning.

    If they can still guarantee that, then I don't care if they take away tenure.
     
  41. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    While it's true that credentialing programs need major overhauls, new teachers are going to be new teachers. And they only get to be old teachers by teaching. You're going to have to deal with that, and I don't care how much you 'love children' and want to protect them from the evil inexperienced teachers because you don't want to give new teachers a chance. We cannot create package perfect teachers without giving them teaching experience with real kids.
     
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