Friday, August 05, 2005

More On The Teacher Tenure Reform Initiative

I don't support it. Here's part of the reason why.

I'm all for getting rid of some of what I call "undue process" in firing truly bad teachers, but I see some baby going out the window with the bath water here. Irascible Professor writes, in part:

While the IP supports the part of the initiative that would extend the probationary period, there are two features of the initiative that are troubling enough to cause him to recommend a "no" vote. The first is that the five-year probationary period would apply to all probationary teachers whose "probationary period commenced with the 2003-2004 fiscal year or any fiscal year thereafter." This means that probationary teachers who already have been hired with the understanding that the two-year probationary period applies to them would be affected by the new law. There is something distasteful about changing the rules in the middle of the game, and the law -- if approved by the voters -- should only apply to those hired after the date the law goes into effect.

More troubling is the section of the initiative that would allow school boards to ignore sections 44934 and 44938 of the California education code when dismissing tenured teachers for unsatisfactory performance. The first of these sections ensures that the teacher is given an adequate notice that outlines the specifics that resulted in the unsatisfactory performance evaluation. The second section gives the teacher the opportunity to correct his or her deficiencies.

If the probationary period for tenure is extended to five years, then the tenured teacher should be presumed competent unless a good case can be made for the contrary conclusion. Dismissals of tenured teachers should be made only for good cause, and only after due process. The changes proposed in the initiative would make it too easy for vindictive administrators to dismiss tenured teachers for reasons other than genuinely unsatisfactory performance.

Gotta vote "no" on this one.


@mit said...

You have a good blog - your perspective is interesting on things...

Do you care to follow the Rabbit Hole ?

Polski3 said...

Agree. One of the few things I encourage CTA to encourage people to vote against. How'd your move go?

Walter E. Wallis said...

The reason for tenure was to shield teachers from being punished for unpopular opinions. Teachers have abused that privilege. I don't even believe in tenure for judges any more.

SemiMBA said...

Its funny, they want a 5 year probabationary period for a teacher, but a CHP officer only has a 1 year probabtionary period

Very odd

Matt Mo said...

I semi-agree with your worries over including those who have been promised a 2 year probation period getting that extended to 5 years. But I feel that is a minor issue in the long run and if you do a good job you shouldn't have too much to worry about.

Personally I feel that sections 44934 and 44938 have both good and bad sides to them, 50% good, 50% bad. I really don't care if those sections are made void.

Do you really think that somebody can't become a bad teacher after 5 years. And if anything I think there is just as much chance of having vindictive teachers as there is for administrators.

Overall I think there is more good to the bill being proposed than bad. Teachers are crapping themselves over it because now they are going to be held accountable to doing a good job.

Don't forget that the U.S. is no longer a leader in education. Look at all of our engineers... They are all from Asia. Our teachers, over the past many years, have really failed in keeping our country educated enough to be competitive. With the baby-boomer generation retiring the dumbing down of our nation will become even more apparent than it already is. Those born here in the U.S. will end up being the ones working at McDonalds while those from other countries get the work needed to live the "American" dream.

SemiMBA said...


The reason a majority of new engineers are from asia is because of the pay vs. education requirement. Intel will pay a new PhD in engineering a paultry $45K a year - not much for someone with 8+ years of eduction from MIT or Stanford. With a two year education and a real estate license, a go-getter can make 10X that much selling real estate. You do the math.

Until we get serious about engineering, we will continue to educate less and less engineers.

dkd43537 said...

I totally disagree with you. It is NOT the fault of teachers that our children are not competitive with Asian children. That is a cultural difference. Asian children are raised to take school seriously, American children are raised to take sports seriously. Asian children go home from school, where they study until they go to bed. The Asian adult also works endless hours of the day. While some Americans work every waking hour of the day, it is much more common in Asia. Our values are different here!

Teachers are in a position where they can't win. Some people, like yourself, are wanting us to raise the bar. Then when we do, we hear, "they are just kids, you are being too hard on the children."

Teachers need job security, just like any other profession. Many states literally BEG for teachers, and I guess that is one of the problems with the system.

The reality is...if you are not a teacher, or have never been one, you have no business giving advice on how teachers should improve job performance. Being a taxpaying former student does NOT qualify you to critique teachers.

Darren said...

dkd, what does your comment have to do with this post?

Also, if taxpayers can't critique teachers because they're not teachers, does this mean that you can't critique the President because you've never been the President?

And I'm not sure which "you" you're referring to, but I *am* a teacher.