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Judge rules California has right to fire incompetent teachers

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by YankeeFan, Jun 10, 2014.

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  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    This is a big fucking deal.

    A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that teacher tenure laws deprive students of their constitutional right to an education, a decision that hands teachers’ unions a major defeat in a landmark case that overturns several California laws that govern the way teachers are hired and fired.

    “Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” Judge Rolf M. Treu wrote in the ruling. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”

    The ruling, which declared the laws governing how teachers are hired and fired in California to be unconstitutional, is likely to set off a slew of legal fights here and in other states, where many education reform advocates are eager to change similar laws. The ruling brings a close to the first chapter of the case, Vergara v. California, but both sides have made it clear that they plan to appeal any decision that goes against them to the State Supreme Court.

    The plaintiffs argued that California’s current laws made it impossible to get rid of low-performing and incompetent teachers, who were disproportionately assigned to schools filled with poor students. The result, they insisted, amounted to a violation of students’ constitutional rights to an education.

    But lawyers for the states and teachers’ unions said that overturning such laws would erode necessary protections that stop school administrators from making unfair personnel decisions. They also argued that the vast majority of teachers in the state’s schools are competent and providing students with all the necessary tools to learn. More important factors than teachers, they argued, are social and economic inequalities as well as the funding levels of public schools.

    Observers on both sides expect the case to generate dozens more like it in cities and states around the country. David Welch, a Silicon Valley technology magnate who financed the organization that is largely responsible for bringing the Vergara case to court — Students Matter — has indicated that his group is open to funding other similar legal fights, particularly in states with powerful teachers’ unions where legislatures have defeated attempts to change teacher tenure laws.

  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Tenure rules below college are absolutely ridiculous. You don't get tenure at college by length of time anyway, it's by achievement and rigorous evaluation.

    This is a good decision.
  3. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    As is usually the case in higher education, "it depends" is the correct answer. In more teaching-oriented schools, you often are tenured simply by being around long enough. And I don't raise this to grind any particular ax, but if it is a teaching-oriented school with a unionized faculty, the probability increases that tenure-by-calendar is an option.
  4. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Really? What is the length of time?

    Here it's very low. Two years, five years, it's something like that.
  5. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    Oh, I've heard of three-year clocks in higher education.

    In general, the ranks of higher education can be summed in annual teaching load. So someone saying he/she is at a 4/4 place means he/she teaches four courses a semester, two semesters a year. At the uppermost echelons, you have people with 1/0 or 0/1 loads, but they're exceptions even there. You'll tend to see those short, timecard-punching clocks at schools in the 4/4 to 5/5 range.
  6. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Well, all right. Learn something new every day.

    I still give a huge thumbs up to this ruling. For the life of me I have never understood why the chance of favoritism or unfair hiring and layoff decisions is any greater at a public school, and thus must be guarded against, than it is at the millions of other places where people work.
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Agreed. Like any job, when people realize they can't be fired, it doesn't usually result in someone giving their best effort.
  8. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    The INTENT of teacher tenure ...

    (I repeat: THE INTENT)

    ... is to prevent, say, one connected parent from getting ticked off and having a teacher fired.

    If you don't think this happens, you haven't had kids (or a spouse who teaches) at a private or charter school.

    A teacher should be judged on overall job performance, not whether or not the "right people's kids" get everything they want in class and extracurriculars.

    Again, I believe that is the INTENT of tenure. It certainly can and has been abused. Rotten apple, every barrel, etc.
  9. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Exactly. Excellent job explaining why tenure exists.

    I can understand both sides of the argument. Yes, the end of tenure could get rid of some bad teachers. It will also cost some good ones their jobs as well. It will make it harder for administrators to support good teachers and lead to more movement of educators from one district to another. That means less consistency for the students, which is a bad thing. It also makes the career itself less attractive, which is already happening in many states do to the push toward more and more testing at the expense of actual learning.
  10. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Yay for intent.

    An argument for tenure is one for a system where poor kids get their constitutional rights to an education robbed from them, so that teachers don't have to face the same work/hiring/firing environment that 90% of professional employees face.

    And, I'll never understand why good teachers are so constantly worried about getting SCREWED.
  11. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    That's because you stick your head in the sand when somebody explains it to you as coco did.

    Take away tenure, and you are taking needed protections away from good teachers. Treating education like every other profession is idiotic. One among the many reasons for that is the approach you seem to be advocating is one that leads to much more turnover in teachers at each school, which will hurt the level of education the students receive, not help it. I'd explain that to you to you in more detail, but you won't listen. You would rather continue to ignorantly attack educators just as you do with journalists.

    Heck, you need a system with large school districts to even have a problem like the accusation cited in the California case. Many districts are too small for that type of abuse to even happen. But hey, you'll assume it is happening everywhere just so you can launch an attack on another profession you know nothing about.

    To your last point, good teachers are worried about being screwed because they know it is a very real possibility. That you don't realize that just shows once again how little you know about education.
  12. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    YF, I have tenure, so perhaps I'm not as unbiased a source on this, but ...

    Bureaucrats are NOTORIOUSLY risk-averse, often to the detriment of the institution for which they're responsible. Tenure, in theory, ameliorates this to a degree.

    Just last week I endured a weeklong email tennis match with a student who just HAD to have an A. She didn't earn an A, however, and I wasn't budging. It was in my institution's interests for me to not cave, and that I am tenured reduced any fears I might have had about NOT caving.

    But you are right that plenty of people in other professions manage to protect their employers' interests without that guarantee, so it may well be an institution that is past its time. I do think it's probably further past its time in the "lower levels" than in higher education, but then again, you should probably keep in mind where my bread is buttered.
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