Assistant majority leader of the state senate, M. Theresa Ruiz , gives a post-holiday check-in on New Jersey's special legislative session and discusses her sponsored legislation on teacher tenure.
Eliminate Tenure for ALL teachers/professors.
Let them sink or swim, succeed or fail like every one else.
Here's the problem - SUBJECTIVE evaluations veryrapidly become political (both internally withinthe school and district, and externally within thestate). This will allow the principal (or otherraters) the ability to destroy the career and livelihoodof teachers they want to get rid of - at whim.In response to this teachers will have to spend time andeffort "sucking up" politically, socially (and perhaps in other - even more corrupting ways) to the people whorate them and therefore have the sole discretion to eliminate them. Ratings do not occur in a vaccum.Most SUBJECTIVE ratings allow the rater to POST-HOCjustify an enormous range of ratings - often the differencebetween elimination and promotion. (Naturally, it's all couchedin objective sounding and high-minded tones - and is alwayswhitewashed as being "for the kids" - but it will be largelypolitical nonetheless). (The only way to get around thisis to base it on purely OBJECTIVE measures (like test scores)which may be highly random but at least are not as politicallymanipulable.
Now what is likely to happen ?Principals are going to be under increasing political pressureto eliminate expensive senior teachers, and to removeteachers who may be professionally excellent - but are politically and socially unpopular. There is likelyto be a norm (or even a requirement) that a certain percentageof teachers gets culled each year. This implicit quota won'tbe filled by the politically and socially connected teacherswho nevertheless are lousy at teaching (perhaps because theyspend their time sucking up). It'll be filled by unpopularhard working teachers who work their students hard, and byexpensive senior teachers who have lost their political base.
In short, this ELIMINATES the very purpose of tenure,will be widely used to reduce budgets, will corrupt andweaken the teaching process, and will make teachers employeescontrolled from above rather than professionals motivatedand driven from within.
Smart politics, smart budgeting, but bad for kids.
She's not very impressive. Lots of words - empty content.
I don't think it will be hard to find teachers in this economy. Particularly in NJ, and some of suburban NY where 6 figure salaries are not uncommon. Kids only have one shot at an education and it is important to have reviews of efficiency and outcomes.
Why would a teacher's politics be any more at risk than any other local civil servant? And who's to know what any teacher's politics are any more than any other public employee?
I thought that tenure was put in place to guarantee teachers the protection to teach openly and honestly, whether it's politics or science.
I live in a New Jersey with a, supposedly, highly rated public schools. I am not a Christie supported. I believe that most of the teachers my daughter had in middle school were just going through the motions and some didn’t appear to teach at all. (Having 7th grade French students watch the Disney movie Ratatouille, in English?!?)
It is misleading to the general public to avoid the conversation about all the other variables that impact academic outcomes such as parental involvement, poverty, environmental factors, cultural value of education, etc. Teachers are not the magic bullet, yet they are the only ones taking the brunt of a "reform" that is trying to fix a system that overall has been performing better than ever in history (read Diane Ravitch's last book, she is an education historian).
The whole point of tenure is so that teachers are not exposed to the political vagaries - otherwise every new mayor would replace those teachers who didn't support him/her with one who did. Think this is a thing of the past? I was an non-tenured teacher who didn't buy a fundraising ticket for the mayor of my school district (they come to your classroom) and my contract wasn't renewed. It's called the non-tenure teacher tax.
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