Some interesting points concerning teacher tenure. It's about protecting the effective, independent innovative teachers.
1. The idea that teachers protect their friends who are bad teachers is ridiculous. Administrators hire and fire. Tenure is state-regulated. Teachers have no power and are not involved in any way in the retention of teachers. I have not seen ANY teacher support their "friends" who are ineffective in the classroom before the students.
2. The jury of charter schools is still out. Using charter schools as the standard for not having tenure, is wrong. Suburban schools with strong unions that have extremely high test scores. They beat the charter schools hands down. Test scores need to take in account for poverty, resources, and parental involvement.
3. Here is an excellent article concerning the LA lawsuit, Veteran teachers were replaced with beginning teachers, and YES test scores went up. Having a revolving door of teachers is not the answer to achieving. Again, teaching is not simply about standardized test scores.
4. Standardized test scores do not best represent the complete learning environment. Over sixty=percent of teachers are in subjects that are not tested and some schools use all-school scores. Meaning the music teacher may be accountable for students he/she has not even taught as part of their summative evaluation.
5. The big lie is that tenure does not mean you cannot NEVER be fired or removed from the classroom. I have personally witnessed three tenured teachers be fired or removed from the classroom to be reassigned to a non-teaching role. Yes, it takes documentation, but it can be done. Again, this is an administrator problem, not a teacher problem.
6. Many outstanding teachers have been protected by tenure. Once they win any awards outside the classroom they have been a target for administrators because they demand excellence and are not completely compliant to the administrators. I personally was a target by administrators. They felt they could no longer "control" me. When is was discussed at a teacher's meeting that the Fine Arts assembly would be eliminated, I stood up to my fellow teachers and administration. I was disciplined because I "didn't listen" to the discussion and "refused to agree" with the non-arts teachers about the awards assembly for outstanding work and performance. How do you listen and agree with a CUT? Of course I stood up for my students and excellence. I took the hit and got written up and was given a poor mark on "working with others." This is why we have tenure, for independent thoughts, not to protect poor teaching practice.
7. The real issue with tenure is MONEY. Getting rid of the highest paid teachers and replacing them with lower paid teachers, with the premise that seasoned teachers are bad, young teachers are good.
8. Having been a union president and negotiated four contracts, I understand how the teacher-administration-board relationship and how it works. We protected teachers that were ineffective and made sure those teachers who were the more effective AND had independent thoughts were allowed to continue teaching. That is the attack that is really happening, the most effective and independent teachers are being forced out for teachers who are young, lower paid, compliant and follow in lock-step with the administration.
It’s been four months since I completely retired. Well, actually I did present at Illinois Computing Educators in February, conducted a workshop in March, and completed a presentation for the Golden Apple Foundation in April. I had to ease into the retirement process, much like many of you will do too when you all retire.
Here are some things I have learned in these short four months:
DON’T over plan. Things will come to you.
Allow for lots of process time. I made a list of things I DON’T want to do, so the things I do want to do can surface.
I view one of the major problems in education today is that educators have allowed others who are NEVER in the classroom, like businesses, consultants, AND retired teachers. Many retired teachers want something to do, keep themselves busy, and think they are helping education. But, these retired teachers don’t realize that if they don’t have sharpest tech skills and don’t want to learn the new technologies, they are NOT helping. They are holding education BACK to when they taught.
So, I am turning my back on the education world because I love it that much. I am not part of what is going on in the classroom anymore, so I cannot comment or help a teacher in today’s world. Yes, I might have the tech skills, but I don’t have the hands-on experience. I actually taught my last class in June of 2011, then worked at a non-profit and continued with my consulting business. I knew I had a short shelve life before I would become stale. I now see myself stale and ready for new opportunities.
So, what am I working on? Well… I moved to another state six days upon retiring and to a new development and environment.
Here’s some updates:
I love not working and spend time on myself. I don’t feel selfish, but see it as the sweetest part of my life, with excellent health and process time to figure out my next move. I'll keep you updated on where the road will take me.
Carol Broos, upon completely retiring, moved to Florida to build a completely new life of simplicity through relationships, innovation, and passion (to play.)