Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I just read the full decision of the judge who ruled California's teacher tenure and seniority laws are unconstitutional.  Fortunately, the judge said his ruling will not go into effect  pending appeals.  (There is a link to the complete ruling here.)

All of us should be very troubled by the decision but we can hope it will be a wake-up call for teachers and other public employees.  The ruling elite of this country are out to destroy us and will stop at nothing.

The best reaction to the decision I have seen comes from new United Teachers of Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl who said: “The outcome if this is going to be that it actually creates more instability at the very schools and with the very kids who need stability.”

Oh the irony. It is so true that promoting instability in schools as the judge wants to do, particularly in urban areas, does nothing for kids.

Read this piece to find some important advocacy arguments favoring teacher tenure.

Or, try these seven reasons defending tenure from Russ on Reading .

  1. Tenure Prevents Teachers from Being Fired for Non-Performance Reasons - Without tenure you could be fired because you weree hired by a Democratic board and then Republican board took over or because a new principal wanted to hire a friend. Long ago my second grade teacher was fired because she got pregnant. 
  2. Innovative Teaching Requires Risk Taking - Engaging instruction is often noisy and messy instruction. If teachers are afraid to take risks to provide good instruction, learning will suffer. Good teaching is also often experimental. If teachrs are afraid to experiment, learning will suffer.
  3. Professionalism in  Teaching Requires Student Advocacy - The teacher must often act as an advocate for a child. Occasionally, this advocacy may come up against some goals, finacial or other, of the administration. A teacher must feel secure in the knowledge that advocating for children will not cost her her job, otherwise who will speak for the children?
  4. Tenure Prohibits School Boards from Firing Experienced Teachers to Hire Cheaper Inexperienced Teachers - If you believe this can't happen look at what is happening in Newark, NJ with Teach for America.
  5. Tenure Protects Teachers from Being Fired for Teaching Controversial Subjects - Any volunteers for teaching evolution or sex education or civics in a world without job protections?
  6. Tenure Assures Due Process When a Teacher is a Target of an Accusation from Student or Parent - This should resonate with any teacher who was not backed by an administrator after a parent complaint.
  7. Tenure Protects Teachers from Punitive and Unreliable Evaluation Systems - Think aboout the combination of value added measures basing teacher evaluation on student test scores and no job protections. That should scare us all.


Anonymous said...

Here's to tenure. The only thing that allows me to speak up for students.

Zulma, NYC retired math teacher said...

After I retired as a NYC teacher,I moved to Ohio. I live in the suburbs of Cleveland and I decided to attend a BoE Executive Board meeting (likened to a NYC PEP meeting) when I read in the newspaper that 70+ teachers' contract (probation) was not being renewed. Those teachers would be replaced by TFA. I got to speak to one particular union rep and we were speaking about the issue of tenure, TFA and the closing of schools which are replaced with charter schools. She explained to me that the Cleveland school system was horribly decimated by the unfair, ridiculous education policies that were created by Barbara Byrd-Bennett. "She became Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland schools in 1998, the first to hold the newly-renamed position after the district shifted to mayoral control instead of having an elected school board."

The Cleveland union rep explained that the teachers' termination had no rhyme or reason and no probable cause for not renewing contract (probation). But the exec board will feign "fairness" by giving each teacher two minutes to speak to them behind closed doors with union rep regarding their dismissal. However, it is the pattern that the deformers continue to use in each state. Come up with a reason that they don't have to justify to terminate teachers and replace them with TFAs.

A retired Cleveland teacher was telling me that Cleveland school district only has 861 days left before it ceases to exist. It will be another New Orleans. And the national union for Cleveland is the AFT, which explains a lot.

It's so sad what is happening in NYC, Cleveland, and now in California. Something has to give! We are at war with these deformers, the charter school chain gang, TFA, and the 1%ers.

We need to have a national school walkout!

Anonymous said...

With Randi leading the AFT, there will be no national walkout or anything else beyond wearing ribbons for a day.