There's a line I love in Miss Congeniality 2 (I know, not exactly highbrow cinema, but we can't be serious ALL the time!). Sandra Bullock gets in a fight with Regina King and calls her "sister." Regina says, "You didn't just call me sister. I don't recall seeing a skinny, white-ass girl growing up at the table." and Sandra responds, "First of all... thank you for calling me skinny." So I'm going to start my response to this review of TEACHED Vol. I: "TEACHED Documentaries Offer Glossy Propaganda" with: Thank you for calling me glossy!
On the Loudspeaker by Kelly Amis
Entries in tenure (7)
My last blog post inspired this op-ed, an exclusive for TakePart. It's getting some strong feedback, so clearly I've touched a nerve. Change is hard, but isn't it time for us to RETHINK the education system and the structures that surround teaching if they aren't benefitting anyone??
What We Need to Ask is: Does Unionization Still Make Sense?
Read it here: TAKE PART Op-Ed 9-18-12
I am always amazed by what gets people passionately angry when discussing education reform. It seems that everyone knows there's a serious problem with getting and keeping amazing teachers in the American classroom -- and that there's an even MORE serious problem being able to fire teachers who are not good at the job, or who are even ABUSIVE to children! -- but when you begin to discuss why (i.e. union-created and strongly protected rules that make it nearly impossible to fire anyone), the outrage is suddenly directed at YOU. You must be a union-hater! You must hate teachers! (This reminds me of a quote from the classic film, The Jerk: "He hates these cans!"). As in The Jerk, this outrage is misdirected.
How can anyone deny that the profession is SERIOUSLY screwed up when it is impossible to fire people who have sexually abused children? We can have absolute proof of a teacher's indefensible actions and still not be able to fire him/her. It is great to see the media finally bringing these often-ignored issues to the forefront. Some articles on this issue, including an op-ed by former CNN analyst Campbell Brown:
A California State Senator introduced a bill to stop the insanity and make it easier to dismiss teachers who sexually abuse children...but the bill was killed by Democrats (my political party, btw) who presumably are more concerned with keeping teachers unions happy than taking even the most obvious and basic steps to protect children. How did we get to this point? And, more importantly, how do we get out?
One thing you can do is VOTE. Follow your elected officials and vote them out of office if they choose adult interests over childrens'. Who killed this bill in California? Names included in this article:
Few people realize that even while thousands of "last hired" teachers are getting laid off, especially in big states like California and New York, there are thousands of other teachers who aren't even teaching, but will continue to receive their full salaries and benefits until the system finds a principal who will hire them. These "excessed" teachers aren't necessarily bad (but many are), however the point is that it is crazy that non-working employees stay on the payroll...especially when budgets are in the red!
This op-ed from the WSJ nails the tenure issue: The Trouble With Teacher Tenure: We can't make progress if bad teachers have jobs for life. By TIMOTHY KNOWLES Colorado did right by its kids recently when Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law groundbreaking education reform to overhaul teacher tenure and evaluation. The bill elicited an outcry from many teachers. But the many states now considering similar measures must not be cowed by the firestorm.
This spring, thousands of young/new teachers will receive pink slips (especially in NY and CA), regardless of their ability, while tenured teachers will be immune from lay-offs even if they are clearly ineffective. We could effectively lose an entire generation of teachers in some places (imagine how many others will chose NOT to go into teaching because of this policy).
This Education Week article does a great job of explaining how the policy of granting K-12 teachers tenure -- the virtual guarantee of lifelong employment-- has become one of the greatest impediments to improving U.S. schools so that ALL kids can attain a great education. Very informative, and spot on: