Over at EduWonk, teacher-tenure and teacher-union bashing continues. Much needs to be changed about teacher tenure, but many policy pundits ignore (for whatever reason) that union leaders do not solely construct nor are they in charge of a school district’s employment contract. Every contract is negotiated between administrators and unions.
With this in mind, the folks at EduWonk might want to ask some additional questions:
• Are ineffective teachers in DC (and elsewhere) not fired because of archaic tenure rules, or because of incompetent or ill-trained or overloaded administrators who do not have the skill or time to evaluate teachers effectively? And if it's some of both, how much of each?
• How many ineffective teachers teach poorly because they were ill-prepared in the first place (think lousy teacher education or short-cut alternative certification programs) or forced to teach out of field?
• How often do we give our best teachers the opportunity to assess their colleagues? Evidence suggests that in school districts with peer review programs, far more teachers are removed than in locales where only administrators are in charge of teacher evaluation.
Considering these questions and issues can get us out of the either-or thinking and impulsive action that so beset education politics and reform.