Judge rules that teacher tenure negatively impacts students
This week in Los Angeles, Judge Rolf M. Treu ruled against teachers unions in a decision that is believed may turn over how the state’s teachers are both hired and fired in California.
The case will probably be appealed and could set off other legal challenges in other states. Nine public-school students in the state brought on this case and challenged a set of laws – one of which gives teachers in California tenure as soon as 18 months into their careers. Another requires layoffs on a last in, first out basis without taking into consideration the quality of the teacher.
The group that brought on the suit, Students Matter, believes these policies allow ineffective teachers to stay on board and that low-income, minority students suffer as a result when less-desired educators make their way into their classrooms. Judge Treu agreed and found that five California statutes violate the constitutional protection children have in the state to equal education opportunity.
Economist Raj Chetty calculated that the worst performing teachers actually might cost a classroom of children over one year of exposure $1.4 million in lifetime earnings. These finding were from a study that looked at data on 2.5 million students grades three through eight between 1989 and 2009 and compared their test scores in English and math to tax records as adults.
Chetty went on to say that students who had higher quality teachers for even one year were more likely to attend college, less likely to have teen pregnancies and had higher adult earnings.
Teacher’s groups who firmly believe that removing their job protection will not help students find greater success dispute the conclusions.
My thoughts are that teachers should be held accountable for their actions. Tenure shouldn’t protect the educators who aren’t making an impact in our student’s lives. We need high quality teachers – even new ones – in our schools and no matter how many years a teacher has been on board, they should be held to the same expectations as the newest ones.