Wednesday, April 28, 2010

State Legislature takes on Teacher Tenure (SB 955)

Check out the MDUSD Voice Blog. They've written about SB 955 that takes on the issue of tenure reform.

From their blog:
On April 21st, a California legislative education sub-committee voted 5-4 to pass along Senate Bill 955. SB955 revises the teacher layoff notice deadline from March 15 to June 15, removes the seniority provision and allows districts to layoff teachers based on subject needs and teacher effectiveness, and provides school boards the final say when firing a teacher thus shortening the process of removing a teacher from the classroom.

Check it out. Something tells me that parents may be open to changes in this regard, and something else tells me teachers will not. Hmmmm, how do we close that gap? What kind of private sector job can you have that you're essentially guaranteed job security as long as you just keep showing up?

Update: The MDUSD Voice has reported the following:
State Senator Mark DeSaulnier has met with CTA and has decided to support CTA’s decision to oppose the bill. Senator DeSaulnier represents the 7th District which includes all of MDUSD. Senator DeSaulnier’s phone number is (925) 942-6082 or you can email him by going to his website DeSaulnier’s staff could not confirm if the Senator also met with parents in his district to hear their concerns.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Let's Talk Teachers. Last In, First Out? There's another way...

Last In, First Out is something we hear when talking lay-offs. If you were one of the last teachers hired, you'll be the first ones asked to go. What about performance? WOW! What a concept I know. But don't we all know some teachers that stay and survive the "pink slip" year after year because they have that thing called "seniority?" Yes, we do. Sadly, there are teachers in our school who are sour, and more interested in drama and politics than the students. Those are likely the ones there a long time, the ones in many cases who NEED TO GO! Do you know one of these?

Surely I will be the first to say I know MANY, MANY lovely veteran teachers with oodles of experience and years of structured know how that benefits students every year, but there are those.... I hate that they "get to stay" simply due to their seniority.

New York has another idea... see this article for a new approach that I wish we could attempt here. But imagine, if we wanted to deal with teachers on a "performance" measure vs. seniority, I'm certain there would be some sort of war declared.

But there, I said it, there are some teachers who need to go.

After what I've seen at my own school this year, I will be hard pressed to ever stand shoulder to shoulder with teachers in support of their "rights." What about the rights of my student(s) to have happy, focused teachers? What about a school community free from political drama and infighting? What ever happened to working together, team work, community?

We don't talk about it because we don't want to discredit our schools, bring disrespect to the teachers who do a great job every day, or create a hostile environment for our students. So we stay quiet... sad but true.

What are your thoughts? Certainly not all brand new teachers are automatically bright and wonderful either? Some say it would allow the districts to lay off more senior teachers because they cost more. I don't advocate that either, but there must be a better way. Arizona abolished seniority rules, so maybe we should take a closer look at how that's going. I'll admit, I've only begun the research...

Ok, so from the article:

“Nobody I’ve talked to thinks seniority is a rational way to go,” Mr. Klein said. “Obviously there are some senior teachers who are extraordinary. You recruit young talent you think is good for the future, and to just get rid of that by the numbers seems to me to be a nonsensical approach.”