Monday, March 16, 2009

CitiBusiness focuses on teacher tenure attack

Kudos to New Orleans CitiBusiness for being the first major media outlet to understand the threat posed to teacher tenure in the school board "reform" agenda pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek.

As reporter Stephen Maloney writes here, the LFT believes one of the changes "will effectively eviscerate teacher tenure and leave them vulnerable to unfair persecution. "

So far, most of the attention paid to the school board proposals has centered on eliminating members' pay, imposing term limits and limiting their authority. It is when you dig into the meaning of "limiting their authority" that the threat to teachers emerges.

Right now, tenured teachers accused of wrongdoing may appeal to the school board for a hearing on the charges against them. The reforms" would give school superintendents sole authority over dismissing teachers.

But in tenure cases, it is the superintendent who recommends dismissal. The change would make superintendents the prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. Which is why LFT President Steve Monaghan says the change would "gut" tenure.

To get an opposing viewpoint, Maloney quotes a spokesperson for the supposedly nonpartisan National Council on Teacher Quality. That organization thoroughly misstated Louisiana's teacher tenure law, claiming that teachers automatically and easily earn tenure after three years in the classroom. As this LFT report demonstrates, NCTQ left out all the rigor that is part of the tenure process.

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