Teachers’ unions are fighting on many fronts to preserve tenure and seniority rights and stave off plans to link pay to students’ performance. Florida Gov. Charlie Christ’s veto of SB 6 appears to be one battle in a nationwide war on the status quo.
In Colorado, the state teachers’ union is threatening to torpedo the state’s second-round Race to the Top application unless legislators abandon an attempt to make it easier to fire poor teachers by giving more control the state board of education. The bill is not anti-teacher, the Denver Post editorializes.
It calls for the kinds of reforms that would help develop good teachers into great teachers, and eventually ensure a quality teacher in every classroom.
. . . The reform mandates that at least half of a teacher’s evaluation depend on academic growth of that teacher’s students.
A California bill backed by the governor would “enable districts to lay off teachers based on a district’s subject needs and teacher effectiveness, instead of by seniority,” notes Educated Guess.
. . . a civil rights lawsuit filed by the ACLU and other public-interest attorneys against the state and Los Angeles Unified, challenging seniority-based layoffs, may improve chances of at least the seniority piece becoming law. That would be a major step forward.
The lawsuit, filed earlier this year on behalf of students at three low-performing middle schools, noted the constant churn of new teachers at these schools, where seniority rules make it next to impossible for principals to hire and keep teachers they want.
SB 955 would give principals more latitude in reassigning and transferring teachers. Passage of the bill would make it imperative that districts come up with more comprehensive and transparent teacher evaluations.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is pushing “a list of everything the unions oppose,” writes Education Week, including “charter schools, teacher evaluations tied to student test scores and public schools’ ability to sidestep teacher salary schedules and tenure rules.”
Two bills are drawing much of the ire from the unions: one measure would make public schools function more like charter schools by letting them get waivers from state law and education policies and another would rate teachers in part on student test scores and make it easier to dismiss them if they fail repeated reviews.
Jindal would allow waivers of teacher salary schedules, teacher certification and student-teacher ratios.
Low-performing schools would have to improve students’ standardized test scores when having the waiver, or face takeover by the state. Higher-performing schools that don’t improve while having a waiver wouldn’t be able to get it renewed.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who’s trying to cut teachers’ pay to balance the budget, accused teachers of using scare tactics and “using the students like drug mules” to survey their parents on whether they plan to vote in today’s election and why.