“If tenure prevented achievement, Mississippi (no teacher tenure) would have stellar schools and Massachusetts (teacher tenure) would have failing ones. The opposite is true.”

Reblogged from DCGEducator

Now, thanks to the super-sized bank account of Silicon Valley mogul David Welch, who founded the parent group behind the Vergara case and funded the legal team, the court has come to see that students’ rights were not violated by overcrowded classes or budget cuts, but by the rights afforded to the teachers.

The court is wrong — and so is Welch. If teacher tenure is an important obstacle to achievement, Mississippi (with no teacher tenure) should have stellar schools and Massachusetts (with teacher tenure) should have failing ones. Instead, it’s the other way around. Correlation is not causation, of course, but across the country the states without tenure are at the bottom of performance rankings. States with the highest-achieving public schools have tenure (and teacher unions).

K-12 teachers with tenure do not have a job for life. What “tenure” means, for them, is due-process procedures for dismissals with cause, instead of capricious or at-will dismissal from their duties. I’ve spoken to countless teachers from Southern states who are afraid to do the things that New York City teachers do all the time – write blogs, write letters to the editor, even show up to a rally – because they could lose their jobs for speaking out. All working people should have such protections.

If anything, teacher tenure laws need to be strengthened because the country is bleeding teachers — especially in large urban districts. Between 40 and 50 percent of teachers nationwide leave the job within five years. If 40 percent of all doctors or lawyers quit within five years, I’m guessing we wouldn’t be asking why they have it so good. We certainly wouldn’t be trying to figure out what we can do to make their terms of employment less favorable. Read the entire post…