Teacher’s tenure is not a guarantee to a lifetime job, but in reality it is Due Process.
According to California’s Supreme Court teacher’s tenure protection violates the United States Constitution. Interesting concept considered the litigants in the case were able to bring their case before a court which is actually part of Due Process guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
Using the case of Brown Vs Board of Education (1954) the Justices in California decided that teacher’s tenure Re-established the separate, but equal clause of Plessy Vs Ferguson (1896).
According to the decision “incompetent” teachers were more likely to teach in poor neighborhood thus not allowing for equal education.
The reality is that teacher’s today are forced by many states to test prep their students instead of educating them. These high stakes exams put undue stress on both teachers and students especially in poor neighborhoods.
Let’s be honest the education system in this country has totally shifted gears. “Education is a Business” (Manhattan Center Assitant Principal Daniel Albetta). Unfortunately Daniel Albetta is right our education system is a business. Principals are middle level management that must check with legal before deciding if a shift in educational policy can happen. High stakes testing is big business. Test prep books costing an average of fourteen dollars are published by the same companies that create the high stakes exams. (In layman’s terms use our book or fail our test.) The other new money maker is Common Core. Teachers have been using Common Core for ages. (In layman’s terms the student is given a reading assignment and they must decipher it’s meaning.) I believe this is called reading comprehension. The reality is subject area teacher have become reading teacher. Unfortunately most of our kids can’t read and comprehend because they are being test prep from kindergarten instead of being educated.
Most of these policies are made at the upper levels of government and forced upon school districts, administrators and teachers.
My opinion is this education is not a business. Unlike business we cannot recall a student who doesn’t succeed. Public School teachers get a one shot deal when it comes to educating our children, our future. Public school teachers don’t get to pick and choose which students they will teach. (Unlike Charter School who force out lower performing students.)
Let’s look at the numbers
In New York City there are 1.1 million students in our system.(Putting this into perspective there are some cities in the United States that have smaller population then the NYC school system.)
There are 1700 public schools in the five boroughs of New York City.
There is approximately 105,000 employees in the New York City Department of Education. This includes teachers and support staff.
The average classroom size according to the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) contract is 34.
The average number of classes a day taught by a teacher according to the UFT contract is five. (Teachers also have a C-6 period, a professional period and lunch, which the majority of educators work through. Not to mention grading papers at home during the evenings and weekends. How many politicians take home work.)
For many teachers that means
170 different personality.
170 different learning style. (For example, some students are visual learners while others and hands on the objective for a teachers is to keep them all engaged.)
170 different issues that may effect learning. (Sometime a student may have an issue that affect their learning. For example I once had a student who was being abused by a relative. This affected this students learning process. Teachers have to decipher what the problems and work to the goal of getting that student to learn. Now remember there are five days in a school week and every day a new issue arises.)
Beside worrying about student’s learning and passing exams (which is a way of evaluating teachers.) teachers must also watch for vindictive principals like David Jiménez of Manhattan Center for Science and Math high school. Principal Jimenez’s vindictive behavior proves why tenure is important. As highlighted in this blog I was an extremely competent teacher my passing rates on the New York State American history regents was 98%. My passing rate on the Global regents was 95%. Jimenez and assistant principal Dan Albetta targeted me. They frivolously wrote me up and basically tried to end my career. Luckily for me I had tenure. Tenure guaranteed me a right to a trial(3020a hearing). It guaranteed my right to face my accusers and to have witnesses in my defense. As well as question the validity of their witnesses. Tenure also guaranteed my right to appeal. These are the same Due Processes that are afforded to us by the 4,5,6,7,8 and 14 amendments of the United States Constitution.