Tenure reform is indispensable, largely because the evidence shows the most important school-based factor affecting student achievement is an effective teacher. Tenure is inconsistent with effective teaching because it bases job retention not on performance, but time on the job — and a short time at that. Teacher tenure is available after three years; administrator tenure after two. It should be clear by now that kids are ill-served by a system that guarantees teachers and principals their jobs for life, regardless of performance, save the illusory safety valve of a termination process that takes years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove even one underperformer. Many other professionals, including lawyers and doctors, do not have tenure, but are protected from unfair firing through rights that may be enforced in civil litigation. Civil litigation would also meet teachers’ legitimate interest in due process, while protecting kids’ legitimate interest in good education.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Quote of the Day
Shavar Jeffries, chairman of the Newark Public Schools Advisory Board, in the Star-Ledger: