Monday, February 9, 2009

Teacher tenure could be under attack this year

Here's more on a recent EdLog post about a bogus study that seemed to declare Louisiana would find it easier to attract and retain teachers if we just take away their tenure, give them merit pay and privatize their retirement system.

In this story, Gannett reporter Mike Hasten makes it clear that an attack on teacher tenure could be a part of Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek's legislative agenda in the coming session. Hasten quotes Pastorek's communications director as saying "it's a possibility that there will be legislation on tenure. We're looking at exploring that, examining the pluses and minuses. We're not ruling that out."

The big lie about tenure in the NCTQ report is this:

"Louisiana's probationary period for new teachers is just three years and the
state does not require any meaningful process to evaluate cumulative
effectiveness in the classroom before teachers are awarded tenure."

The truth is that before teachers can earn tenure, they must earn certification and successfully complete a probationary period during which they are monitored and mentored. During those three years, school systems can fire teachers for any reason or for no reason.

So when Pastorek says "The finding that tenure is granted in Louisiana based on the passage of time, not on the quality of the teacher, is a fair criticism," he is being disingenuous at best.

Teacher tenure exists for very good reasons. Without it, teachers have little protection from favoritism on the part of administrators. Tenure is also a firewall that protects academic freedom, the ability to teach without fear of reprisal. It is a vital protection, and a key professional right. The Louisiana Federation of Teachers will vigorously fight any efforts to water down the state's tenure law.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So which is it? Do they want to retain teachers or get rid of teachers by relinquishing tenure?