Thursday, April 08, 2010

Venting the Anger: Teacher Tenure

Education Week had an article (via Joanne Jacobs) on teacher tenure and how it is changing around the nation. Some states are extending it to 7 years, while others are tying tenure to test scores. One of those states being Delaware who just won the first round of the Race to the Top funds. Here is a map from Education Week looking at the time to receive tenure at every state.

This idea of extending tenure or tying it to test scores is going to push more people away from education, not bring it in like Obama wants. My job shouldn't rely on some high school kids ability on a test. I don't see these students more than 55 minutes a day. What are they doing the rest of the 23 hours? I don't know.

I have had students tell me they blow off the test because they want the extra hours to sleep. They know that it has zero affect on their college applications or high school grades. So where is the buy in for them?

Yet we want to have their scores determine if I have a job? Does that make sense to anyone? I hate it when people try to run schools like a can't! When I was at UPS, I could fire the employee. Hell, I could fire someone in the first 60 days for being late. Can we "fire" a student? Can we have them removed from our class because they aren't doing the work? Nope. What about special ed students? We have no ability to pick our students, whoever we get is who we get. What about PE teachers or art teachers that don't have state tests? How will they be evaluated?

It would be like telling a rookie police officer, look if they crime rates jump during the first 7 years of you being on duty, we will have to let you go. Or how about a fire fighter having to make sure no major fires break out. Are doctors fired when their patients blow off the information the doctors are trying to tell them? If they aren't maybe they should be, we still have people smoking and eating unhealthy foods. Maybe doctors should have to make sure all of their patients are living healthy lives 24/7 if not fire them.

Those sound ridiculous to a logical thinking person. So where is the logic, when they want to tie student test scores to teacher tenure or pay?

By the way, I doubt that we will see any change at all from these states. Anyone in education knows that student success starts at the homes. And once the government starts to see that, maybe it will put pressure where it belongs the home.

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