Monday, January 31, 2011

Fixing Teacher Tenure Without a Pass-Fail Grade

Here's Rotherham's latest Time Magazine article on how to reform teacher tenure:

Education eyes were on Washington this week to see what President Obama would say about schools in his State of the Union address. But just as in 2010, if you really want to follow the action on education reform, it's better to look toward the states. All the new governors (29), education chiefs (18 new ones elected or appointed since November) and legislators (nearly 1,600) mean things are more fluid in the states, where teacher tenure is becoming a major flash point. Florida and New Jersey are considering pretty much ending tenure altogether. And while those states may be ground zero for tenure battles, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania are also considering significant changes.

Quick primer: When people refer to tenure for public-school teachers, what they're really talking about is a set of rules and regulations outlining due process for teachers accused of misconduct or poor performance. The elaborate rules often make it nearly impossible to fire a teacher. Joel Klein, who recently stepped down as New York City schools chancellor, has pointed out that death-penalty cases can be resolved faster than teacher-misconduct cases. In some places, the due-process rules are part of collective-bargaining agreements, and in others they're state law. In either case, there is a consensus among education reformers and some teachers'-union leaders that the rules need to be changed and the process streamlined. The contentious debate tends to be about how to modify what constitutes due process — as negotiators did in a landmark teachers' contract in the District of Columbia in 2009 — rather than get rid of it altogether.


School of Thought

Fixing Teacher Tenure Without a Pass-Fail Grade

By Andrew J. Rotherham Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011,8599,2044529,00.html#ixzz1CKTjfCBr

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