Things are pretty dire in New Zealand with the mere idea of performance pay getting scuttled by the unions, but in the US they have an even more destructive situation: tenure.
California is trying to break the back of this problem that puts the needs of teachers before those of the children.
A California judge ruled as unconstitutional Tuesday the state’s teacher tenure, dismissal and layoff laws, saying they keep bad teachers in the classroom and force out the good ones, the plaintiffs said.
The ruling was hailed by the nation’s top education chief as bringing to California — and possibly the nation — an opportunity to build “a new framework for the teaching profession.” The decision represented “a mandate” to fix a broken teaching system, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.
The Los Angeles County court ordered a stay on the decision, pending an appeal by the state and the teachers union, the plaintiffs said.
Reforming teacher tenure and firing laws is a hotly debated issue in American education, and the California case is being watched nationally — evidenced by a statement by Duncan immediately after the court ruling.
Nationally and internationally. The whole situation where bad teachers are just about impossible to get rid of has its parallels in New Zealand too, with hundreds of convicted teachers continuing to teach under the protection of name suppression, and absolutely zero visibility on teachers’ individual effectiveness.
Reformers say firing a bad teacher is almost impossible because of tenure laws and union protections, but teachers and their unions argue school boards and their firing criteria have unfair, overtly political standards.
Duncan, a former schools chief in Chicago, said he hoped the ruling will spark a national dialogue on a teacher tenure process “that is fair, thoughtful, practical and swift.”
At a minimum, Duncan said the court decision, if upheld, will bring to California “a new framework for the teaching profession that protects students’ rights to equal educational opportunities while providing teachers the support, respect and rewarding careers they deserve.”
But who started this legal process? Government? Teachers’ unions? Educators? Principal associations? Maybe even local government? Can you guess? Read more »