Colorado reforms tenure

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by smalltowngal, Jun 13, 2010.

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  1. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    What are your thoughts on this story?

    I think that tenure should be reformed because a lot of teachers hide behind tenure and do the bare minimum in terms of teaching. However, I see the need for tenure for those more experienced (and expensive) teachers that the district would get rid of to save money.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Tenure NEEDS to be reformed!!!!!!

    I've always thought so, but my recent experiences have left me with no doubts.

    And what reassurances does the rest of the working world get that they won't be fired and replaced with someone cheaper?

    There HAS to be a way of getting rid of bad teachers. Simply putting in 3 years of acting like a real teacher is NOT ENOUGH!!! It shouldn't be a guarantee that, barring budget cuts that reach up through seniority to your level, you'll have a job for the rest of your life.

    Simply "not abusing" a child should NOT be enough to keep you in the profession.

    Sorry, guys, I think the time is long past overdue to re-evaluate tenure. A kid who spends an entire year in your class SHOULD show improvement.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I thought of you, Alice, as I was reading this.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Tenure is not about having a job for life. It's about 'due process' when a tenured teacher is being non-renewed. Schools have ways of getting rid of bad teachers, but there is protocol and process which must be followed. Most districts are unwilling to go through the process. Tenure protects GREAT teachers whose administration is out to cut the budget as well as protecting the not so great who 'hide'..believe me, there are plenty of administrators who would let highly paid great teachers go as a means of keeping costs down...
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not saying teachers should be left to hang.

    But it shouldn't be so costly to get rid of bad teachers that it's simply not worth it. There should not ever be a teacher so confident that he or she has a job that there's no need to do the job.

    You guys can probably figure that this is personal with me. Bad teachers harm kids. Yet it's possible, easy even, to hide behind tenure.

    That's just wrong. My kids, everyone's kids, deserve better.
     
  7. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I agree as well that tenure needs to be changed.

    I, however, do not agree with what Colorado is requiring.
    I hate standardized testing and I hate that they are putting even more pressure onto it.

    There are so many other outside situations that affect learning. I have a child who has had social services called THREE times this year. The latest round happened right before testing and the child was pulled from school to talk to the social workers the day before testing began at my school. This child's scores dropped from the previous year's scores. Understandably.
    I have another student that ended the year with 54 tardies and 20 absences. Her scores went down as well. I began math as soon as the bell rang this year and they left for their 'specials' 55 minutes later. Therefore, she missed math 74 times this year!!
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    giraffe~I could be wrong, but the way I read it, it wasn't based on test scores alone, but a student's progress through the year. So a child doesn't have to pass the test, just show some marked improvement.
     
  9. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    So, how will improvement be measured?

    Not all grade levels or content areas have state tests.

    Improvement in 'Welding II' looks a lot different than improvement in 'Chemistry.'

    Is it improvement from the year before or from the moment they walk into my classroom?

    Reading improvement for a 5 year old is a lot easier to measure than reading improvement for a 17 year old.

    I am NOT opposed to showing I am an effective teacher, but the measurement tools will be so varied that I don't know how reliable the data will be.
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    In NC, they have a 'growth' formula for the EOGs (End-of-Grade tests).
    That is how NC sees if a child improves or not- it is compared to the previous year's score (it is way more complicated than is should be, because the scale changes every year- hence the need for a formula).
    So, anyway, my 2 students mentioned did not 'grow' this year. They went backwards. The one only went backwards due to emotional distress- she has made improvements all year long. The other was never there for me to teach. Yet, the NC Department of Public Instruction only looks at the black and white.

    I see another side as well- we have a REALLY bad teacher at my school. My P has tried to transfer her several times. Last year she even moved everything to the new school, only for our enrollment to change and we got her back before July was over. However, she teaches 1st grade. It would be REALLY hard for a first grade NOT to improve! It happens so quickly at that age. So, while her kids may improve, they are not proficient in anything. Over half of her class was retained last year. But- if you go by improvement only, they improved.

    It is all so gray. It can't be black and white as much as we all wish it could be. The only way to tell if a teacher is effective is to go into that classroom and see. Putting more pressure on testing will cause more 'teaching to the test'- which I abhor.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    For those that do have tenure in your state, do teachers with tenure still get evaluated?

    Here in TX (at least the districts I've been in), new teachers are evaluated every year for the first 3 years. After 3 years, they are evaluated every 3 years.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    And what happens if they get a bad evaluation?

    Better yet, are observations announced? Or are they the horse and pony shows I read about all the time here..."I"m being observed, I need a good lesson."

    You need a good lesson EVERY day, because a room full of kids is observing you.

    Bad teachers should NOT be tolerated, much less coddled and encouraged. They make the rest of us look bad. And they do immeasurable harm to children.
     
  13. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I am tenured and my district follows this policy as well. I told myself not to read this thread because I have issues . . . . .

    Here's my issue with tenure . . . poor admin's that fail to write up teachers. I think this is what gives tenure a bad name. I don't understand why my P can walk by the teacher next door to me doesn't write up the teacher that allows students to bring food and drink into his classroom (school rule - not food or drink in hallway or classroom); or write up the teacher that contines to release their students 10 minutes early to lunch EVERY DAY; or write up the teacher that is on her cell phone every day in class, or the teacher that is on her facebook during classtime, or the teacher that leaves the building everyday during her prep, and I could go on and on and on . . . this is what I think gives tenure a bad name. Tenure doesn't protect bad teachers, admin's do

    Didn't I tell you I have issues :D

    Just my :2cents:
     
  14. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    A teacher who gets a bad evaluation normally gets put on a growth plan. Should they not show any growth, then they are more than likely non-renewed. Evaluations are scheduled, observations are not. I think principals take into consider observations with their evaluations.
     
  15. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    INteacher~there are many teachers like that in my district too, and it makes me upset..
     
  16. KinderCowgirl

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    Our district is revamping their evaluation system as well-and I am all for it! This year our P's had to rank their teachers into 4 groups-best to worst. The bottom group was put on growth plans and will have pd's they have to attend that specifically targets their weaknesses. A few teachers were dismissed. I think our district will be better for it. One of our new teachers this year often said she wasn't worried "because it's really hard to get rid of a teacher"-that attitude just has to change. It's not fair to the people who really work their you-know-what's off, not to mention, not fair to the kids.

    Most of that ranking was determined by test scores. I do believe every teacher's students should be making progress over the year. However-it's hard in early childhood because we do take Stanford in January, but nothing at the beginning of the year to show growth. In K-2 those are the scores being used to judge good teachers-Jan-May the previous year another teacher is teaching your kids-you have from August-Jan to show growth with those kids. So I'm echoing Giraffe's concerns that the test score part may not prove to be valid in all grade levels.
     
  17. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I agree with most of what you have said. However, the theory that every child should show improvement would work for children who are at or slightly below grade level and are tested on grade level appropriate exams. A lot of us teach children who are three or more years below grade level yet are expected to show the same growth on those same grade level exams. For example, I have a couple of children who are 4th grade chronologically, but below preschool academically. One of those children this year learned to write his name and can now recognize most letters and can also toilet himself independently and tie his shoes. For him, this is tremendous growth. For the district, he made no progress because he can't pass a standardized 4th grade exam. I would now lose my job when this happens two years in a row if I lived in that state.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, I didn't say "the same growth."

    But kids should know more when they leave our classes than they did 10 months prior when they entered them. Whether it's a matter of a standardized test or a one on one interview with a principal or something else, kids should show growth.
     
  19. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    In the state I work in evaluation is every other year after getting tenure. If it is deemed necessary the evaluation can go to yearly.

    I disagree with you. I believe the incentive and limited reasons to choose to teach besides liking working with kids will be gone if the current government has their way, this will lower the number of people willing to commit to teaching.

    Think about it I choose to teach and thus take a way lower wage than I could make with a masters degree and credential in other areas, I give up years worth of social security, I give up the social security my husband would provide if he passes away, I provide hours of work for free, I provide hundreds to thousands of my own money to supplement the classroom, I might work in schools where there is rampant crime on the street and the children do not eat breakfast so thus do not necessarily do well on the tests, and my job hangs on whether or not I can force these children to do well on one day out of the year. Give me a break! Especially since I took similar tests back in the 1970s called the IOWA tests (probably owned by the same billionaire company that puts together the tests we give). By the time I was in 6th grade I had figured out the test had no real effect on me so that year I played dot to dot through my math test on the day I took it. The kids today are able to figure out the same thing I figured out 30 years ago.

    Teachers can be fired at this time. The administrators have to follow through in order for it to happen. If a district or state has the guidelines way to stiff then change that, do not gut tenure. I do not believe any evaluation that is based on state standardized testing will be an accurate measurement of teachers. The current methods of evaluations that are being used are incredibly arbitrary, they would be unfair methods of firing without some stop gaps.

    This potentially makes the taking away of tenure as an opening to fire anyone who costs the district too much money. I doubt any one would like to be fired due to the cost to the district of you vrs. some new person. It also places us back in the position of teachers getting fired because of personality clashes with the administration.
     
  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    In my state, tenured teachers ares still evaluated once per year. This year a teacher with 30+ years of experience was put on a growth plan. So, it happens.
     
  21. KinderCowgirl

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    Believe it or not, it works the other way too. If you have GT or truly advanced students who score a 4th Grade level in 1st Grade, it's really hard to advance them another whole year on the test. We had a teacher who wouldn't teach GT anymore because her scores were through the roof, but not high enough to show the requisite progress for each student. And it wasn't because they didn't make progress, it just wasn't something that would show on the test.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    If tenure isn't the reason we have so many bad teachers, someone please explain to me: WHY is it????
     
  23. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Again, I absolutely agree with what you are saying. But, these states are kind of putting the cart before the horse. They are passing laws to change tenure before they put in place the necessary measurement techniques. It has been my experience (our state went through the same thing this year) that the measurements were going to be based on end of course exams (not yet written) and state exams.
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I don't know whether Colorado has it right.

    But I'm thrilled that the issue will now receive national attention. I've cried too many tears-- and responded to too many PMs-- about people who have no business being in a classroom.
     
  25. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm not sure if the question of incompetent teachers lie with tenure, or the fact that admin has to do paperwork to remove an incompetent teacher. In my career I have worked for about 15 different principals. Almost every single one chose the route of making an incompetent teacher so uncomfortable in their situation that the teacher quit rather than going through the process that is established to remove a teacher. Unfortunately, by taking the easy way out, the principal just made it easier for that incompetent teacher to move to another school and continue their practice of not teaching.
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    But again, doens't that come down to the fact that it's too hard to fire incompetant teachers?? If it weren't sooo much easier to just pass the buck, good administrators would do what was necessary. Instead, the current system makes it just too difficult, so they play the "not in MY school" game. Or they try to put those weak teachers into grades and classes where they're less likely to do harm-- the non testing years.
     
  27. TiffanyL

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    I'm thrilled about the national attention as well. Its time for teachers at all stages in their career to realize that they are not untouchable.

    As an administrator, I would never remove a tenured teacher due to that teacher's higher salary but I sure wish I could due to lack of effectiveness.
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I was hoping you would weigh in Tiffany.
     
  29. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    I will agree that not everyone who has the degree/certification to teach should be in a classroom.

    We receive tenure after 3 yrs. With RTTT, we will be evaluated every year. Evaluations are formal (with 3 a year for nontenured which take the better part of the year to complete). Observations/walk throughs are informal but we do receive feedback.

    Our district usually gives a new teacher the three years to prove her/himself. Some new teachers are very good from the get go but everyone can improve. If they aren't cutting it then the will be nonrenewed.

    I can't think of anyone at our school who would hide behind tenure. We are all professionals who put our students first.

    However, I hate the thought of our job security being tied
    to one standardized test score. I don't even know what method our state will use to show growth in K as we do not do state testing. We are a Title 1 school with minimal parent involvement so the responsibilty really falls on our shoulders.
     
  30. TiffanyL

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    We all speak of school reform as if it is so difficult. The teacher is the number one variable in the classroom.

    If we did two things, we would see a huge difference:

    1. Stop tenuring ineffective teachers.
    2. Remove already-tenured teachers who are ineffective.

    To me, its a no-brainer. Our best teachers lack excuses. They do not blame the kids, the parents, the economy, the admin, etc. They figure out a way to reach the kids no matter the circumstances....and they get results because of it.
     
  31. TiffanyL

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    This thread has my full attention. ;)
     
  32. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm going to turn this around a little bit and speak from my experiences as a school employee. We talk about the principals not willing to follow through and remove ineffective teachers. How do we remove those principals who refuse to follow proper procedures? I have worked for several principals who retained bad teachers because they were "pets" or who let wonderful teachers go because the teacher had the nerve to speak up about injustices. In my long career about half of the principals I have worked for have been wonderful, caring individuals (like you, Tiffany). The other half should never have been allowed to go into an administrative job. Again, I'm only speaking for my own experiences. It really does take a village to teach the children...an effective administration supporting effective teachers. If this will be the end result of removing tenure, then it gets my vote. At this point, based on my research, I'm not ready to vote yes quite yet.
     
  33. EMonkey

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    Maybe you live in a different state. I have seen teachers fired due to incompetence while having tenure a couple of times in the district I work for. I also have observed administrators choose to force teachers into transfers. I know firing can be done with tenure in place. It is easier to encourage a problem person to transfer. It is easier to bug one person than to actually proove your reason for firing the person is valid. Tiffany, maybe you would not do it based on money, however I believe that many people, especially with the huge budget cuts currently going on, would not be so scrupulous.

    How many bad teachers are you talking about? I actually have only been able to say one teacher I observed was truly bad (guess what, she got fired). I have not been in that many classes that are not mine though, so I saw some one complaining about how there are so many bad teachers, it makes me wonder what you are basing it on. Did you actually work in those classrooms for a long time? Did you observe on a regular basis? Was it from walking by and noticing a difference between what you thought was ok and the other teacher thought was ok? Was it because your child was in the class and reported back incompetence? If it was your child did you go in and observe? Was it through gossip? Was it through supposition? Was it because you are the person evaluating? Just curious.

    swansong's statement is also one of my worries. The laws seem to attack the teachers but give no protection or solutions to poor quality administrators. I work in a district that seems infamous for bad admin. There is very little protection or solution without them obviously stealing from the school. There is no way that staff can evaluate the administrators. With poor admin the whole school has problems and new teachers or teachers who are struggling get no quality support.
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I've never had any experience with a bad administrator; I can't address that.

    The most recent bad teacher with whom I've had contact is currently being paid to teach my daughter.

    But there's no denying that there are lots of bad teachers out there. And far too many of them have job security.
     
  35. MsT

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    My main concern with this law is that instead of driving away the incompetent teachers, it will actually do the opposite and states will lose their best teachers and their ability to replace them. I teach in a Title I school with a large ELL and IEP population. Quality teachers are working harder than ever to meet the testing expectations and throwing their job on the line as well would be the last straw. Children in poverty will pay the price again and not receive the education they deserve because they will be taught strictly to pass a test by a teacher who is only concerned about keeping their job. Objective evaluations are not going to occur with this law. Why must the mass be punished for the wrongs of a few? Education cannot be ran like a business - there is not a one size fits all mold for kids.
     
  36. TiffanyL

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    I'm not sure how it happens elsewhere but, in my district, p's get evaluated by their staff at the end of each year. It is a confidential survey that ranks our effectiveness in areas such as vision, communication, discipline, teacher support, operational procedures, budget, etc.

    If we show poor results on this survey, we are placed on an improvement plan. Eventually, struggling p's are removed. I've seen it happen multiple times, sometimes several are removed annually.

    As a teacher, I taught in several different schools. Some for excellent admin, some for weak admin. I always got results because I was there for the kids. Of course, I did move on as did many of the teachers who worked under a weak admin. My district is full of experts who see that as a major red flag; multiple teachers seeking transfers to other sites rather than remaining at their own.

    As P's, we are held as accountable, if not more so, as the teachers at our sites.
     
  37. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I believe NC evaluates every 5 years. I am not sure because I am still on my provisional license.
    I do not sign my 'lifetime' contract (tenure) for another year- at the end of year 4.
    We are beginning a new evaluation tool next year that I hope will help. We are a non-union state so I am not sure why we still have the awful teacher.
    One teacher of my school is either being fired or transferred- and it is an ethics issue. However, this teacher, while a wonderful teacher, should have been fired a long time ago. She is late nearly everyday- some days she does not show up until after the final bell for students has rung. She overdosed on prescription meds earlier of the year and left on a stretcher. There are many other issues as well. However, they did NOTHING to her until she cheated on our standardized test. And even this has been dragging on for over a month to fire her. They just made the decision Friday to not allow her to come back to my school.
    I do believe things need to change, but I am not for putting more pressure on kids taking tests. I also think good teachers need protected- but not allowed to get away with murder.
     
  38. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    In my 30+ years in the classroom, I have personal experience with about 5 that should have been removed. I'm talking about teachers I have co-taught with, teachers who have taught my own children (in the same school as me), etc. There may have been others, but I can't speak for teachers I have not had personal contact with. In the last 6 or 7 years, I have been a supervisor for student teachers. I have recommended two of my own student teachers not be passed and I have passed on the names of a couple more from the cooperating teachers that I work with. Someone at the college made the final determination for all of those student teachers. I would never dream of recommending a teacher be removed based on the gossip of others.
     
  39. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Not so in my district, I fear at this point the upper administration looks for the most incompetent, power hungry, easily manipulated people they can find for administration. The less experience teaching the better. I think the goal is to keep away the affiliation between the teachers and the admin. You can walk into a school and often just see the difference of administrative quality.

    Thank you, swansong, that was what I was curious about. That is why I can only say one that I saw. I saw her when I was a resource specialist and working in her room. The number you listed is not that many for thirty years.
     
  40. cmw

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    I think it is weak admin. Whether there is tenure or not admin. has to evaluate and help teachers become better teachers. In the non teaching world there are people who are awful at their jobs, but they don't get fired. :) I feel that principals need to be evaluated. Their admin. need to walk through the building to see the climate of the school to see if they are doing their job.

    I think tenure needs to be revamped, but I don't think it will solve the issue. :2cents:
     
  41. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I think administrators are sometimes part of the problem as well. I worked for one P who was forced to retire because she was ineffective. There are ineffective teachers in my school, and I have been in the classroom over the course of the school year to see their ineffectiveness. I would never judge a teacher who I had not observed more than once.
     
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