Friday, June 13, 2014

More on the California decision

A good question:

Rather than gutting hard-won protections for teachers, the next legal case should go after economic segregation itself. Instead of invoking Brown in a broad metaphorical sense, why not bring a state-level suit against actual segregation by class and race? If it is a violation of the California state constitution to have tenure laws that make it hard to fire bad teachers in poor and minority communities, why isn’t it a violation when the state and districts draw school boundary lines in a way that promotes deeply unequal, economically segregated schools that many strong educators won’t teach in?
I am also interested in why the new policy has to be a complete loss of job security.  After all, if the issue is

Los Angeles School Superintendent John Deasy testified it can take over two years on average — and sometimes as long as 10 — to fire an incompetent tenured teacher. The cost, he said, can run from $250,000 to $450,000.
Then why not make a new plan where firing a teacher comes with one years salary as a good-bye present?  Or have fast pension vesting as well (say 5 years).  It would bring excessive firing under scrutiny (as it would increase costs), but would save enormous amounts of money compared to the costs above and be cheap compared to the estimates people are making as to harm.  Of course, this presumes that there really is an effective teacher waiting to be pulled into a classroom, which isn't impossible but seems to be less likely in the poorest school districts. 

What this suggests is that the real issue isn't unequal student outcomes but rather these types of measures are aimed at degrading the working conditions of teachers.  Are we sure that this will end well? 

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