The shot heard ’round the nation in today’s news is the shocking defeat of Eric Cantor. As much as Cantor’s defeat represents a large blow to the GOP power structure, it was another decision that will have potentially radical effects in education across the land: California’s teacher tenure laws were struck down. This was prompted by a lawsuit from students who feel they’ve been cheated by a broken system. There will be a drawn out legal battle; however, this is an encouraging sign for education reform. One of the interesting details to emerge is the $50k figure, as in the amount of earning power that is lost for each year a student sits under an incompetent teacher (see quote and link below). Perhaps, this confirms how important education and good teachers are. We need a system where good teachers are rewarded and bad teachers are weeded out. The expenses in removing a bad teacher actually deter such culling and thus perpetuates an ineffective and inefficient system. It is reported that the costs of removing a teacher can run upward of half a million dollars and up to 10 years. This is outrageous.
In striking down several laws regarding tenure, seniority and other protections, the judge said there was compelling evidence of the harm inflicted on students by incompetent teachers.
“Indeed, it shocks the conscience,” Treu said.
He cited an expert’s finding that a single year with a grossly ineffective teacher costs a student $50,000 in potential lifetime earnings.
California teachers receive tenure after just two years, sooner than in virtually any other state. If a school district moves to fire a tenured teacher and the educator puts up a fight, it triggers a long, drawn-out process, including a trial-like hearing and appeals.
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.
In his ruling, the judge, a Republican appointee to the bench, said the procedure under the law for firing teachers is “so complex, time-consuming and expensive as to make an effective, efficient yet fair dismissal of a grossly ineffective teacher illusory.”
© 2014, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.