GOP Governors Going After Teacher Tenure

Momentum builds against once-sacred protection
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2011 2:54 PM CST
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gestures during an interview with the Associated Press in his office Jan. 6.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(Newser) – The once-untouchable notion of teacher tenure might be in danger around the country, reports the New York Times. Republican governors in five states are moving to either abolish or water down long-held laws that make it all but impossible to fire even poor-performing teachers. What's more, they have solid chances of getting something passed because of a combination of factors including strapped state budgets and national concern over lousy students.

While GOP governors such as New Jersey's Chris Christie are leading the way, the movement got a big boost from President Obama's push to link teacher pay to student performance through his Race to the Top initiative. And one of the most prominent opponents of tenure, former DC schools chief Michelle Rhee, is a Democrat. “There’s a willingness to confront these issues that has never before been in play,” said Rhee, whose new Students First group is advising governors.

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