California public school students file suit to nix tenure law, saying it keeps bad teachers in classroom

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  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 30, 2014 12:08 p.m.


    If administrators follow policy regardless of the length of time taught, a poor teacher can be fired in 120 days, or 3/4 of a school year. You may think that an administrator should be able to fire them on the spot. I believe that a teacher deserves due process. If you have a good administrator, bad teachers never make it past their first year, and good teachers who start to slide are put into remediation at the first sign of problems. The key is the administrator. If you make teachers at will employees, good luck finding anyone to take the job. A disagreement with your administrator today could lead to your termination tomorrow. I don't think that kind of absolute power is in anyone's best interest.

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    Jan. 29, 2014 7:29 a.m.


    The High school example was at Alta High and the middle school was Joel P. Jensen. Those are both Utah schools. While it isn't called tenure the boondoggle of rules established protect the rights of the teachers over those of the students.

    It is not very hard for most parents to come up with additional examples. There are plenty of inept teachers in the state that would be gotten rid of had the red tape been removed.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 28, 2014 5:28 p.m.

    Who are the ones in charge of our schools?

    Not "Bad Teachers".

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 28, 2014 12:22 p.m.

    Steven Jarvis,

    Your examples may be real but they did not happen in Utah. Utah has no tenure, and under current Utah statute due process need not exceed 120 days for a career teacher (a teacher with more than three years of satisfactory evaluations. If it took three years to get rid of a poor teacher, then shame on the administrator.

    Most of these "examples" come because of poor or weak administrators who are unable or unwilling to do their job. It is always easy especially in today's world to blame the evil union. Most states have laws very similar to Utah. There are very very few states where an incompetent teacher can survive in their job for years and no one can do anything about it.

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    @Steve Cottrel,

    There are many teachers who are ineffective and have caused damage to student's educational outcomes. One such teacher I subbed quite regularly for stayed in her job only due to tenure. She had developed severe medical problems and may have at one time been effective, but was now unable to manage daily academic functions. However, the children's rights in her classroom to a free and appropriate education were being denied by tenure. There were MANY problems that this teacher staying employed caused.

    Then there was another guy who I knew outside of the profession. It took three years to prove due process had happened to get him fired from his Science job. Had he just switched schools each year he could have kept his job playing chess and not actually teaching. He never should have stepped in the classroom. Once he did three years of students were denied their rights under FAPE.

    This case has merits and will likely see replication in other states. Tenure and other procedures in place to protect all teachers deny students their rights when a teacher who is poor and can't be helped remains in the classroom.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 27, 2014 4:39 p.m.

    Of every dollar spent on education.

    How much of it filters into the classroom?

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Jan. 27, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    Having seen tenure in action and now seeing Detroit Public Schools with less tenure, I have to agree tenure is bad and should be ended.

    I am not convinced that it clearly breaks any constitutional rules or that the courts are where it should be overturned. This is an issues that should be changed by legislative and not judicial action.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Jan. 27, 2014 3:15 p.m.

    Every teacher reports to a principal, superintendent, board. Tenure for most teachers simply means that the district has to have just cause before firing. Just cause means that they have to be non-performing in some way or another. So, if a district has a bad teacher, then the admin/board need to do their jobs. In our state, a teacher is treated as an at-will employee for the first 3 years. Afterwards, they are granted "tenure."

    A district can also lay off a teacher for a district need. In our district, an experienced and capable science teacher was laid off, in favor of the newer, lower-paid teacher for the reason that the board liked the course transcript of the younger teacher better.

    One more thing, both Republicans and Democrats are equally antagonistic towards teachers. Obama has never, ever, been a friend of teachers. He did not show up, nor did he say a word during the protests in Madison.

    Those who portray teachers as a pampered and privileged class are simply engaging in propaganda. Whether they do so in ignorance or with full intent to deceive is for others to defend or decide.

  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    Teachers in Utah also do not have tenure--at any time.

  • jpjazz Sandy, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 2:44 p.m.

    "It would be very scary to me, if this lawsuit succeeds, to think that I might not have a job next year, not for anything I'd done in the classroom, but because my principal didn't like me, or my clothing, or something I'd said."

    It would be a shock to educators to wake up and find that they are being treated like an employee that reports to a supervisor, just like the rest of us!

  • Veritas Aequitas Fruit Heights, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 2:00 p.m.


    Hayden, ID

    Contact your local teacher's union for details!

    Utah does not have Unions.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:09 a.m.

    Teacher competence is subjective but reliable. In one study, two administrators (principle and one other staff member--counselor, etc.) were asked to rank the teachers in their school based upon their own subjective opinion. This was done in several schools and the correlation was very strong. It was especially obvious in the top and bottom 10%. People familiar with the faculty including other faculty members, know who is doing a good job and who isn't. It's just so hard to identify the factors since effective teachers have different styles. I think that the best way to promote good teaching would be to offer a bonus to every teacher in the school at the end of the school year based on improvement of the whole school's test scores at the end of the school year. That way, there would be cooperation and encouragement and even pressure from different members of the faculty to help each other. Teachers, not just the administration, could ask that a incompetent teacher be fired because the size of everyone's bonus could reduced by an incompetent teacher.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    Jan. 27, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    The Obama administration is totally beholding to big unions, especially the national teachers unions, for all the support they gave (and continue giving) for his election and administration. There's no question that he can not approach this issue in an unbiased way.

    Whenever individual states try to make more charter schools available (additional options) to inner-city students who suffer from some of the worst school programs (teachers) in America, Eric Holder, Obama's Attorney General, fights giving those kids additional options because the teacher's unions obviously don't want that. More options would take money and thus power away from them.

    The quality and level of education in America is directly correlated to the quality level of the teachers. Statistics show we are continuing to fall in standings in relation to the rest of the free world. And until we can get better overall teachers, to go along with less federal interference, then those numbers won't improve.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 27, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    Teachers are not the blame for our poor education.

    Do some homework.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 27, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    Contact your local teacher's union for details!

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Jan. 27, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    Administrators can make life difficult for teachers. I witnessed this firsthand, when my father-in-law, who had been pressured into retirement, by being given all of the difficult students each new year. At one point, the principal asked him point blank when he was going to retire. My father-in-law stated he needed to work just 3 more years. The principal stated, "well then, I guess we'll just have to come after you with both barrels". (By the way, my father-in-law was loved by both the parents and the students and was given special recognition over many years. It was degusting to see what happened to this good man.