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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/28/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Teacher tenure, seniority keep bad instructors in classroom, they argue

Teacher tenure, seniority and other protections keep bad educators in classrooms, say nine California public school students. They along with an advocacy group are  suing the State of California over its teacher protection laws. The lawsuit seeks to throw out five California statutes that set guidelines for tenure, firing and layoff practices for K-12 public school teachers. The plaintiffs argue that the rules violate the constitutional rights of students by denying them effective teachers.

Opponents to the lawsuit say that if the suit is successful, an unstable system would be created that would discourage new teachers. They also say that the lawsuit say it ignores the larger issue of education funding problems.

Opponents to the lawsuit say that if the suit is successful, an unstable system would be created that would discourage new teachers. They also say that the lawsuit say it ignores the larger issue of education funding problems.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/28/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bad teachers, tenure, hiring laws, California


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Among the rules targeted by the lawsuit is one that requires school administrators to either grant or deny tenure status to teachers after the first 18 months of their employment. This stipulation causes administrators to hastily give permanent employment to potentially problematic teachers, the suit argues.

"The system is dysfunctional and arbitrary due to these outdated laws that handcuff school administrators," Theodore J. Boutrous, the lead attorney on the case says.  The lawsuit is being sponsored by the educational-reform group Students Matter.

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Three laws in particular, the plaintiffs say, make it difficult to fire low-performing tenured teachers by requiring years of documentation, dozens of procedural steps and hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds before an instructor can be dismissed.

The plaintiffs also want to abolish the so-called "last-in first-out" statute, which requires administrators to lay off teachers based on reverse seniority. The layoff policy, they say disproportionately affects minority and low-income students, who are more likely to have entry-level teachers and poor quality senior teachers assigned to their district.

"When the layoffs come, the more junior teachers are laid off first, which ends up leaving a higher proportion of what we call the 'grossly ineffective' teachers," Boutrous said. "It's really a vicious cycle."

Opponents to the lawsuit say that if the suit is successful, an unstable system would be created that would discourage new teachers. They also say that the lawsuit say it ignores the larger issue of education funding problems.

"We don't think stripping teachers of their workplace professional rights will help students," California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt says, adding that Students Matter was unfairly "scape-goating teachers and teachers unions for the problems in public education."

The California Teachers Union alongside the California Federation of Teachers asked the court to throw out the lawsuit filed in May 2012 against the state, including the Department of Education, Governor Jerry Brown and Superintendent of Public Education Tom Torlakson.

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