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California Court Strikes Down Teacher Tenure

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Five teacher hiring and firing laws bit the dust in California this week. In a major blow to teachers unions, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu’s ruling struck down teacher tenure, while freeing districts from spending hundreds of thousands to fire teachers and from having to fire newly-hired teachers first during layoffs…

…The data could not be clearer that the union-controlled public education monopoly disproportionately harms black and Latino students. But legal pushback on the issue puts the Democratic Party in a tight spot. Party leaders can continue ignoring or thwarting reform efforts… Or, they can jump on board the fight for equality, and alienate the teachers unions…

In his ruling Judge Treu described the evidence that California’s teacher hiring and firing laws harm poor and minority students “compelling.”

…Harvard Prof. Raj Chetty testified as well, showing research that a student with a grossly ineffective teacher for even one year loses $50,000 in lifetime earnings compared to a student assigned to an average teacher…

Our Response & Your Comments

While most teachers are dedicated and hardworking, as in any profession there are some who should be ushered out of it. This is why tenure matters.

According to Oregon Revised Statute 342.805(3), a teacher ends his/her probationary period and, in effect, earns tenure after three years providing that he/she “has been retained for the next succeeding school year.”

How hard is it to fire a tenured but incompetent teacher? According to a formerly highly placed Eugene official, very, very hard. In fact, a recent removal took one and one half years. According to Harvard Prof. Chetty (above), that means that for every class of just 20 kids with an incompetent teacher, those kids lose a total of $1,500,000 in lifetime income.

Maybe Eugene’s lucky. According to a former administrator in Salem Keizer Public Schools it takes two years to fire an incompetent teacher there. That’s a whopping $2,000,000 in total lifetime income lost to every class of 20 kids with a bad teacher.

We all know (or at least we’ve been told) that schools never have enough money. The next time they want more, maybe we should tell them to find a way to stop victimizing kids with bad teachers. Then we’ll talk about more money!


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