Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Jesse Rothstein on Vergara

This NYT op ed by Jesse Rothstein ("an associate professor of public policy and economics at the University of California, Berkeley"), who testified for the unions in the Vergara case, is full of nonsense – especially these doozies: "firing bad teachers actually makes it harder to recruit new good ones, since new teachers don't know which type they will be" and "early [tenure] decisions — not in the first year, but soon after — actually improve student achievement." HA!
The issue is balance. Few would suggest that too much integration or too much funding hurts disadvantaged students. By contrast, decisions about firing teachers are inherently about trade-offs: It is important to dismiss ineffective teachers, but also to attract and retain effective teachers.
…The challenge, then, is to increase the number of high-quality applicants. One of the few things that helps to recruit good people into teaching is job security. That is not to say teachers should never be dismissed — but when and how to do that requires careful balancing.
In a recent study, I examined the effects of changing job protections not just on the quality of teachers given tenure, but also on a district's ability to attract and retain good ones. My research yielded three salient, surprising facts.
…Attacking tenure as a protection racket for ineffective teachers makes for good headlines. But it does little to close the achievement gap, and risks compounding the problem.

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