"A California judge today ruled the state's laws governing teacher tenure and the firing of public school teachers unconstitutional, saying they interfere with the state's obligation to provide every child with access to a good education.
The plaintiffs in the case, Vergara v. California, argued that the tenure system for public school teachers in California verges on the absurd, and that those laws disproportionately harm poor and minority students. In his ruling, Judge Rolf M. Treu agreed."
This ruling is big. It could potentially change the education system drastically. But this ruling in California won't exclusively stay within the state. Across the US, many states may follow suit as school officials and teachers are battling through this controversial debate. What do you guys think about this issue?
I think that tenure should be reformed but not eliminated. I think that some people may have the wrong idea of what tenure actually is. From what I understand, all teachers are either are tenure or on probation. Teachers on probation (the newbies) can get fired at anytime. Tenure is different in each school district, but overall it's suppose to not allow school administrations to fire teachers on a whim. If a teacher is really bad, then the district can fire the teacher if they have evidence and go through due process. The problem with this, is that getting the evidence and going through due process is both time-consuming and expensive for districts, and when districts are short on time and are suffering through budget cuts - bad teachers get to stay.
I think that the best way to handle this, is by tenure reform - to make achieving tenure harder so that only good teachers can get it and we must somehow find a way to hold tenured teachers accountable by establishing a better and more efficient process for the districts to fire teachers. Tenure can attract talented and innovative people who wouldn't get into teaching without it.
Once the legislation is made, I am scared that fully eliminating tenure will force school districts to be "tough" on teachers who don't produce the best standardized test scores for students. I think that our educational system is in major need of reform, I think that it's easy to place individual blame on bad teachers (and there are plenty), but I also think that we are ignoring the real much bigger underlying problems that plague student's education like poverty, racial segregation, and questionable academic curriculums that don't adaquately prepare students for college, life, and employment.
I'm planning to become a teacher myself. Eliminating protections for bad teachers might mean more openings and positions for me in the future. But I worry that teaching will become more and more unattractive and we will lose out on potentially great teachers who will go into other fields instead. We live in a society where a highschool diploma isn't good enough for most jobs. That's understandable. But we are also witnessing the highest rates of unemployment in college grads and the largest amount of average student debt ever owed. I think the issue is much bigger than teacher tenure.