98% of LA's new teachers get tenure

Tenure is easy to get for LA teachers, reports the LA Times. More than 98 percent of probationary teachers get tenure after two years in the classroom.

The reviews are so lacking in rigor as to be meaningless, many instructors say. Before a teacher gets tenure, school administrators are required to conduct only a single, pre-announced classroom visit per year. . . .

Principals are not required to consider testing data, student work or grades.

Forty-four percent of LA principals “said they don’t always try to remove probationary teachers who they think don’t belong in the profession,” according to a 2008 survey by the New Teachers Project.

. . . Principals are afraid they’ll get someone worse; it’s time-consuming to prepare and unpleasant to deliver a negative evaluation; they learned not to be picky during teacher shortages that ended years ago; or they simply can’t tell who deserves a permanent job and who doesn’t.

Most important, L.A. Unified officials say, is a district culture that views struggling teachers almost as “pupils” who always have the capacity to improve.

But once a teacher is tenured, there’s no incentive to improve and no penalty for those who perform poorly. It’s “the equivalent of jobs for life,” says Superintendent Ramon Cortines, who pledges to improve the process.

Via American Power.

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  1. You need to look carefully at these numbers. NYC’s numbers look similar until you take into account that nearly 40% of teachers leave BEFORE they get tenure–whether they are found unsatisfactory, are “counseled out,” or leave of their own accord. The first two years teaching are tough, ESPECIALLY in a tough school. I should know.

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:

    They’re only tough if you care.

  3. So I guess the question is how does that 40% figure divide? What percentage of the teachers who leave do so because they’re unsatisfactory and what percentage of that figure leave because the district, the school or the system are unsatisfactory? Is the district being selective about the teachers it choose to keep on or are the teachers being selective, choosing not to waste their time with an organization that places little value on their skills?

    Maybe the rate at which tenure is achieved gives a clue.

  4. Two years for tenure? What other profession gets that deal?

    I think tenure should be be expanded to other things…like drivers licenses.

    I got mine at 16 and it’s a pain to be re-evaluated re-tested every 4 yrs.

    Why can’t I have a “tenured” drivers license that can’t be involuntary taken away — ever? Haven’t I proved that I’m competent at driving by now?

    Uh…I forgot what I was talking about. Where’s my car keys? …and where’s my car?

  5. The “2 Years” is actually rounded up! If they don’t teach summer school, like most teachers, then it is actually BARELY 21 months.
    What a JOKE!

    Unions exist solely to protect the Lazy, the Weak and the Stupid. Unions have done absolutely nothing for me…my first and only one, which I was required to join, was staffed by unethical people.

    NO ONE should have a guaranteed, “can’t be fired,” job. It only breeds laziness and bad results. Just look at our schools in CA…completely controlled by the teachers union.
    The last thing the teachers want is competition! If that happens, then everyone will know how incompetent the are.

    I ask all teachers: You have a long list of excuses for your poor results. So why not allow a competing system whereby my tax dollars can be used to purchase private schooling and / or charter schooling?
    Why are you against it? Because then you will be exposed!

  6. Roger Sweeny says:

    Kauai Mark,

    You have to be re-evaluated for a drivers license every 4 years? Here in Massachusetts, we don’t have to do anything but pass a vision test and pay a fee (though there is beginning to be some noise about retesting when you hit 65 or 70 or 75).

    My impression is that most states have this kind of “tenure” for drivers licenses.

  7. I get the impression that a lot of people view California teachers as incompetent idiots who have conspired with the unions to keep their jobs no matter what. I don’t think so. A lot of new teachers leave on their own and go into other professions. I don’t know of any slackers in my department, and there are 20 of us, but if there were, and they were new and not tenured, the veterans would make sure he/she did not return. I despise most unions, particularly teachers unions that use their dues to fund PACs I find repugnant and immoral. Just read the monthly CTA birdcage-liner, and you’ll see what kind of PC morons run the thing. Well, excrement rises to the top, don’t it? But wait a second! Who’s going to back you up when bullying, ignoramus admin types try to railroad you for any number of reasons? Good teachers need to be protected from these predators, and at least in my school, the local union reps have had my back more than once, and they’re good people. I guess the bottom line for me is that I hate the union, but I’m glad it’s there.

  8. I’ve had my driver’s license since I was 15 1/2 years old and I’ve never had to retest.

    My district does tenure in 5 years. This is not a guarantee that I can’t be fired — just that they need cause.

  9. Bill Leonard says:

    Badabing, every public school teacher in California IS NOT an incompetent. My wife, my sister-in-law, my former brother-in-law, my nieces, and many of our friends are either teachers or retired teachers.

    They are, or were, all competent. Which means tney know (or knew) exactly who is, and is not, competent on their faculty rosters. A couple of glasses of wine and a friendly seting, and they can tell you, chapter and verse. But a major problem is, the incompetents rarely, if ever, are weeded out.

    Similarly, my adult children went through the California public school system. Each had experience of incompetence; for the most part, those individuals still are teaching. They are protected by union contracts that treat everyone as shop floor employees, though of course they will claim to be professionals.

    Our kids both did OK, wound up with graduate and post-graduate degrees, mostly because as parents, we were always on top of their situations and did our best to make sure they were spared, to the best degree possible, the ill effects of the incompetents.

    As to the matter of the LA Unified District, that district and its operations are a statewide, perhaps national, scandal. The latest revelation, that 98 percent of those student teachers who don’t quit or otherwise drop out get a job, is just another episode in the ongoing soap opera. In that case, essentially everyone called a student teacher with a body temp somewhere around 98.6/F is hired.

    And of course, every parent in the district who can, already has transferred his/her kid into a private, voucher or private school situation. And the bureaucrats continue to wonder why.

    (Picks up soapbox; leaves.)


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