Response to today’s conversation

Commenters on the AJC Get Schooled blog debated a ruling this month by a California judge that teacher tenure laws deny students their constitutional right to an education. The state of California and the California Teachers Association failed to persuade a judge that the teacher job protections in state law benefited students. The judged ruled the protections keep inept teachers in classrooms too long. Here is a sampling of responses:

Astro: This ruling will provide a template for parent groups to sweep away obstructive rules in all states (real union and otherwise) that allow substandard teachers to keep their jobs. The unions wouldn't allow their house to be cleaned; now it will be cleaned for them. The impact of this will reverberate across the country.

Batgirl: Please remember that tenure also protects good teachers from the capriciousness of bad administrators. At my old school, my last principal went after the older teachers, not because they were bad, but because he was insecure dealing with his elders. Meanwhile, there were two teachers in the building who were so bad that a stranger driving by could have picked them out — but they were his buddies, so their jobs were safe.

SneakPeek: I do feel this decision will be challenged based on the weakness of the judge's decision. He didn't explain what constitutes a bad teacher, he based his decision on weak testimony, and didn't explain how this would ensure every student would have a great — again, not defined — teacher in the classroom. I understand that there are bloggers who are gleefully basking in the judge's decision, but I have to wonder why are they so joyous about the evisceration of workers' rights in America. Shouldn't we be fighting to ensure every worker has due process before being fired erroneously by a petulant boss or someone who wants to make room for a family member? Shouldn't we be fighting to protect the ever-shrinking middle class?

Prof: Look, folks, Georgia just isn't California, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, New York or any of the other states with teachers' unions and a "permanent employment" type of tenure. So any legal precedent that's set in those states regarding unions and teacher tenure just won't relate to Georgia. Move to one of those states if you want to crow about the judge's ruling (now under appeal, I notice).

Ralph: Sounds great — fire all the teachers and hire anyone who is willing to have their job performance assessed by 40 third graders, 80 uninformed parents, four or five frightened administrators, and the janitor. Will there be one or two who do not like the teacher's hairdo, clothing, accent or teaching emphasis? Tenure has always irritated the right wing because it protects free speech by educated people — an important commodity in education. This should be the final straw in the planned destruction of public education, in California and elsewhere.

TBW: It wasn't tenure that was the problem. It was the lack of having an administration that would fire the problems before tenure kicked in.