"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

An Interesting Conversation Regarding Teacher Tenure

Hillbuzz.org has a great post regarding the subject of teacher tenure via a discussion between a teacher and a non-teacher. I think you can learn more from a subject listening to real people and their concerns vs discussions from policy wonks. This is a snippet:

(Teacher) Her: “You work for a company that’s job is making money. Schools aren’t supposed to make money, but educate kids. Money shouldn’t enter into decisions on who the best teachers are and if they should get fired or not.”
(Non-Teacher) Me: “Everyone has to stick to a budget, both private and public. Private companies have to stick to below what their products bring in and public schools have to stick to the budget sent to them by the state. Last year, the private sector was hit hard. Many companies had at least 10% cuts across the board. The public sector was rescued by the federal government last year, and they are now going to hurt twice as much because they thought the worst was over last year and they didn’t have to do any cutting. Now they do.”

Establishing a task force to study teacher compensation is being taken up in the Missouri Legislature in SB13:


January 26 2011 - Hearing Scheduled S Education Committee


Requires the Joint Committee on Education to oversee a task force on teacher compensation and effectiveness

It might be helpful if the Task Force had access to this conversation from Kansas and could refer to as they study this situation. These two people talking at a basketball game make sense talking about a subject sure to cause conversations in numerous venues, not just in the Missouri Capitol. It certainly caused quite a few comments on the hillbuzz posting from real people giving their experiences and opinion on teacher tenure.

1 comment:

  1. As a teacher, I completely agree with what private sector employee said about getting rid of tenure. I am leery of determining the most effective teachers based only on test scores (though I think that should be a component). However, there are other ways to determine effectiveness. I, too, agree that many teachers push the "fair" excuse way too far. There are good teachers and bad teachers. There are teachers who work their behinds off, put in extra hours, take extra college hours, etc. And there are others who get there right as the bell rights and leaves right after it rings. Their level of commitment simply is lower than others and unfortunately, the success their kids experience is less than those who put in more time and effort. If a teacher really wants to use the "fair" argument, explain to me how this is fair? I would lay money down on the fact that if you walked into a school building and asked the staff members who their most effective teachers were, the majority of them would identify the same people. Don't get me wrong, I am obviously not saying this is how it should be done; I'm simply pointing out that even teachers know there are some effective and some ineffective teachers. We cannot continue to deny this. It holds the most effective teachers back and enables the poor teachers to continue their lackadaisical approach, that unfortunately prevents our students from reaching their full potential.


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