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Malloy’s Attack on Tenure

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Here’s what he says:

To earn that tenure – that job security – in today’s system basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.

The bottom line? Today tenure is too easy to get and too hard to take away.

I propose we do it a different way. I propose we hold every teacher to a standard of excellence.
Under my proposal, tenure will have to be earned and re-earned. Not earned simply by showing up for work – earned by meeting certain objective performance standards, including student performance, school performance, and parent and peer reviews.

And my proposal says, you should not only have to prove your effectiveness once, after just a few years in the classroom. My proposal says that if you want to keep that tenure, you should have to continue to prove your effectiveness in the classroom as your career progresses.

Here’s what he means:

He essentially wants to eliminate tenure completely – if you “have to continue to prove your effectiveness in the classroom as your career progresses” then you don’t have tenure.

Here’s why it’s so unfair:

1. The first assumption is absurd: “To earn that tenure – that job security – in today’s system basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”

That’s just out-and-out untrue. Here’s one part of the process new teachers in Connecticut go through:

The Teacher Education And Mentoring (TEAM) Program is being designed around the goal of developing individualized professional growth plans for all new teachers, uniquely designed based on their own needs as educators, and aligned with state standards. The unifying framework for the program will be a series of five modules to be completed within the first two years of teaching that focus upon the following important elements: (1) classroom environment; (2) planning for instruction; (3) implementation of instruction; (4) assessment of student learning; and (5) professional responsibility

Your assigned mentor will work with you to guide the instructional focus of each module based on an individualized needs assessment that will reflect your particular context for teaching – your students, your teaching subject, grade level, curriculum requirements and school and district goals. A written reflection paper or project will be required at the culmination of each module and submitted to a district or regional TEAM committee for review. Successful completion of all five modules will be required for eligibility for the provisional educator certificate.

and here are the Connecticut Guidelines (extensive) for evaluating new teachers.

We’ve come a long way. In 1969 I received emergency certification as a math teacher. I walked into my classroom in a Bridgeport middle school with no training, no preparation and no orientation. I taught for 2 years, and don’t recall an administrator ever appearing in my class. I certainly had no meetings, goal-setting conferences, feedback, or suggestions of any kind.

Now all of the above are very much part of the teacher evaluation process. It’s not just showing up for four years!

2. Teaching doesn’t always attract the best and brightest now. People going into teaching have lower ACT, SAT and GRE scores than many other professions. Removing one of the most attractive aspects of the teaching profession will further impair the quality of new entrants into the profession, and hasten the departure of many of the most qualified currently teaching.

3. This is all part of a larger blame-the-teacher approach to the problems of education, when the teacher is the least of the problems. “Education reform” has gone to people’s heads in very unhelpful ways.

Categories: General

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