Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Teachers Unions, All For The Kids

Two articles in the local paper put the lie to that common misperception.  The first is the news story:
A legislative committee on Wednesday rejected Republican education bills that would have overhauled teacher tenure and firing rules in response to a federal judge striking down California’s teacher employment laws.

In a resounding ruling last year, Judge Rolf Treu declared that California’s laws violate the civil rights of students by allowing ineffective teachers to remain in classrooms. Treu’s decision in Vergara v. California specifically targeted the method for firing teachers; the length of time it takes teachers to win permanent employment status; and the last-in-first-out policy dictating that the least experienced teachers go first during budget-driven layoffs.

The teacher firing method was addressed in a law passed last year. Majority Democrats killed the latter two in the Assembly Education Committee on Wednesday by sending them to “interim study.” The politically powerful California Teachers Association has appealed Treu’s ruling and opposed the Republican bill package. Representatives of the CTA and the California Federation of Teachers union testified against the bills Wednesday, as did long lines of working teachers.
The second is an opinion piece:
Shirley Weber, born in Arkansas and reared in a poor neighborhood of Los Angeles, acquired a doctorate degree and taught at college for four decades before becoming San Diego’s first African American Assembly member in 2012.

This year, she introduced two bills that drew the ire of teacher and police unions, and they pounced last week as a deadline for committee action loomed.

One, Assembly Bill 1495, would make mild changes in the state’s teacher tenure law, responding to a judge’s ruling that the existing system shortchanges poor children.

Protecting tenure is a bottom-line, line-in-the-sand issue for the California Teachers Association and other unions. But Weber, a former president of the San Diego Board of Education, believes that more should be done to weed out bad teachers, who often wind up teaching – or not teaching – poor children.

The Assembly Education Committee, dominated by CTA sycophants, gave Weber a rough hearing before killing her bill. But she matched her critics word for word, saying, “When I see what’s going on, I’m offended, as a senior member of this committee who has probably more educational background and experience than y’all put together on top of each other.”

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/dan-walters/article20221530.html#storylink=cpy
This is what happens when you live in a one-party state, especially when that one party, while bad in its own right, is beholdin' to very bad friends.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article19903074.html#storylink=cpy


maxutils said...

First, your premise is faulty, and you know it. The reason for tenure is not to protect bad teachers -- no one wants that, except bad teachers. Tenure is meant to protect good teachers whose views or teaching styles may differ from from whatever administrative bozo is at the helm , embracing what ever flavor of the moth trend he or she just learned about at a conference in San Diego. You, of all people, should appreciate that: I can think of two specific instances in which you were wrongly harrassed by administration for using rights to which you were entitled to point out failings in the school, and breaches of the Ed Code … without tenure, you could have been ousted immediately just because you were inconvenient, despite being a very good math teacher. And, you regularly talk conservative politics in class -- which I disagree with, but I know all the liberal teachers (the vast majority) do as well, so it's nice to have some balance. But get the wrong administrator? You'd be gone. I've always had very good results, but I constantly am criticized for not questioning stdents by keeping them in a state of fear, and drawing names to call off a handful of popsicle sticks. Sorry … not my style. If it works for someone else, fine. But tenure also prevents firing for nit-picky differences like that.

On to the secon point: bad teachers in the poorest schools. Also wrong.That's simply not true. Sure, some administrators shuffle bad teachers around because it's easier than actually doing their job and evaluating them, but they are just as likely to wind up at a good school, depending on need. The teachers at the poor schools aren't 'bad' … they are just the newest teachers in the district. They can be great, but it takes at least two years to become really good. So why do they end up there? Because the 'good' teachers want a better environment, and take the first transfer out that they can get. So you have two problems: inexperience, and instability. Neither of those is relevant to tenure. So, you want to fix it? Offer the 'good 'teachers a stipend to go teach at a 'bad' school, with a commitment of at least … I don't know, pick a number - three years. Unions get to keep tenure; Union loses no face, because any experienced teacher can apply for the stipend, or not.

Darren said...

YOUR premise is wrong, in that I don't argue for getting rid of tenure; rather I argue against *excessive* protection of teachers that anyone in the real world would recognize shouldn't be teaching.

maxutils said...

Well, I'm happy you clarified that, but both of these proposals would dramatically reduce the power of tenure. Tenure, I think we can agree, protects mostly good teachers, because most teachers range from acceptable to excellent. It's unfortunate that it also protects some who suck on ice … but that a necessary, and relatively minor ancillary consequence. But you can fix that without changing tenure: Seriously, everyone knows who the awful teachers are -- so why not change observation rules so that the teachers who DON'T need checking are observed less, so that the bad ones can be observed more? And yes, it takes a lot to fire a teacher. But the way you do it is by showing that they aren't good.