Judge: Teacher Tenure Robs Poor Kids of Education
California judge calls it unconstitutional in landmark case
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2014 1:54 PM CDT

(Newser) – No more tenure for teachers? A judge in California ruled that granting lifetime jobs to educators often results in lousy schools in poor neighborhoods, reports the Los Angeles Times. Citing Brown v. Board of Education, Judge Rolf Treu said tenure for public school teachers violates the state's constitution because it deprives students of their right to an education, reports NBC Los Angeles. He stayed his decision pending appeals, but the victory is expected to trigger similar lawsuits across the country, reports the New York Times.

“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” wrote Treu. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.” A group called Students Matter brought the lawsuit on behalf of nine students, arguing that tenure prevents districts from firing bad teachers, and those teachers often get transferred to low-income schools. "It's powerful," the plaintiffs' attorney tells AP of the ruling. "It's a landmark decision that can change the face of education in California and nationally." The state and teachers' unions say that tenure is necessary to protect teachers from getting fired on a whim.

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Harold Parks
Jun 10, 2014 8:30 PM CDT
As a former teacher of many years, I can tell you that young teachers will become disillusioned very quickly without tenure. Nearly all teachers catch criticisms from three directions simultaneously; first from administrators who spend their careers covering for themselves for arbitrary policies that administrators implement, but teachers and students must abide by, second from parents who believe that Johnny or Susie are brilliant and obedient and could never create classroom problems even though the kid might be a genuine terror on a daily basis, and third from students themselves who, will often "set up" a teacher and get the teacher in trouble if given half a chance. Tenure does not make it impossible to get rid of a bad teacher. Tenure simply makes the teacher's accusers come up with really solid evidence of wrongdoing before dismissing a tenured teacher. Without tenure, few teachers would survive more than 3 to 5 years in the profession without coming "under the gun" because of someone's self-serving whim. I dealt with this profession for 26 years, and came "under the gun" quite often, mostly for the most mundane of things that most people would dismiss as trivial, but which were dear to some person's rigid, self-serving thinking. Too bad that people like this California judge want to destroy public education. Public education is one of the things that made USA a premier nation among many, but it has been subverted and degraded in recent years. Destroying teacher tenure will simply drive the final nails in the public education coffin. Main street USA needs to prepare for having its poor kids warehoused by non-professional, poorly-paid and poorly-qualified baby sitting adults while they are prepared for non-futures as the new enduring poor class of America.
Ezekiel 25:17
Jun 10, 2014 8:21 PM CDT
I had an old decrepit battle-axe teacher in first grade. She was already 70 years old and had been teaching 45 years at that juncture. She was horrible and my mom got me transferred out of the school to another school where it was a night/day experience. The new teacher was loving, smart, caring, and resourceful. I credit a lot of my success on the new teacher. The old first grade teacher would sit and grumble at how bad kids were these days. If she smelled a fart she would line all the kids up on a wall and ram her nose into everybody's butt and then pull out the offender and take them to the hall and beat the bejesis out of them. She did not allow any restroom breaks between the bells. She said you had plenty of time to take a break then. Well, one time I had gone but my doctor had me on an antibiotic for a kidney infection. It's side effect was a diuretic. So I had to go about 15 minutes to bell. She told me I should have gone 45 minutes earlier. I did, and like a race horse. So I sat there and held it in until it just came out. My chair filled with urine. My pants were soaked in urine. She then took me to the hall and beat the bejisis out of me. I went home and mom was livid. She went the next day and pulled my records and we drove to the other school where the principal took me to the new teacher. Have you ever seen the movie, "Matilda." Well, the new teacher was like Miss Honey in comparison to the old battle-axe I used to have. From then on, I never put up with incompetent teachers and I put them in their place when they needed it. So, we moved out of state and then a couple times in the new state. Then we moved back to our original state and a few times until we got back to our same town as in 1st grade. I had excelled at all my studies and at the new middle school, I was an A/V aid and a student assistant. The next school in the system I moved up to 7th grade where I was an A/V aid again. So then came the horror to see a ghost one day. I was told to set up a VCR cart in one of the English rooms. They were going to have a sub and needed to screen, "Rikki Tikki Tavi" for the day. So I take the cart to the room and to my horror it was that horrible battle-axe POS I had in first grade. I decided to not say anything but on the way out, I quietly said to a few of the students near the door, "Better be glad you have a movie, this moron couldn't teach a pig to stink." So at the end of the day I had to pick up the VCR cart and I asked the old foggy, "Do you remember me? I was in your first grade class until I went over to Tulakes." She made effort to look up as Parkinson's had taken over her control and she said, "No". I then left it at that and went home. Several more years passed and I was reading the paper when an obit jumped out at me. It was that crotchety teacher passed away. She had taught in the Putnam City School system for 60 years. Well, I can guarantee you it was 30 years too long. She had lost it and after 30 years, she hated kids and was more of an abuser than teacher.
Jun 10, 2014 7:36 PM CDT
The same old garbage. Putting the responsibility solely on the teacher, and ignoring the shiftless dullards who sext messages all day, play video games all night and aim for a job as a career criminal, while their parents sit in a drug addicted stupor. The judge in California cravenly invokes the idea of a Constitutional right to an education. That's wrong. The import is people having the opportunity to learn presented to them, but it requires them to put the work into learning! BugFace's pap propaganda notwithstanding, the answer to prisons and crime is not necessarily as much school as it is enhanced ethic among the population. People don't turn to criminality because they don't know how many ounces go in a pound. They turn to crime because, in general, you make more robbing from stores and selling drugs than you do knowing how many ounces in a pound. It has never been education which has kept people from criminality, it was always principle that crime was wrong and that, no matter how much money something brings in, that doesn't “justify” something that's wrong. Note, too, the typical sentiment in BugFace's comment about “awesome young teachers”, as if only the young can be worth anything. All a bunch of calculated doggerel, like all the “arguments” against teachers. Made by witless dullards like Falcon269 who don't know the difference between “it's” and “its”. So far, they don't seem to have done a legitimate examination of the correlation between average grade through someone's schooling and their attitude toward teachers. Why don't those who are attacking the teachers condemn programs from “Everybody Loves Raymond” to “Kate & Allie” when they opine, “When are you ever going to need algebra?” In fact, teachers do more work than most jobs, from preparing materials, to grading lessons, and handling unruly students. There isn't time in the middle of the lesson plan to scan porn sites, which is what most office workers are documented as doing! In a real way, teaching has a lot in common with performance art. A number of years ago, the rotten cesspool of corruption and collusion, Middletown, New Jersey “offered” a contract to the local teachers union filled with concessions on the teachers' part. When the union refused, the local criminal syndicate, the school board, whistled up one of the bought-and-paid-for pet judges, Clarkson Fisher, Jr., to use the law against the law abiding. The “American way”. Fisher ordered the matter sent to binding arbitration. “Arbitration” is where someone the judge is having sex with comes in, pretends to be “impartial”, then “decides” in favor of the side with the most money. “Binding” meant it couldn't be appealed. The teachers knew the shabby stunt Clarkson “I Wish I Was John Gotti” Fisher was pulling, so they refused. Fisher then ordered them back to work or they would be jailed. They opted for jail. And then, everything collapsed. Without teachers, there was no one to look after the kids of the greedy, vicious denizens of that town. They were paying $50 to $100 a day for their kids to be looked after. Face it, even if just in child minding, teachers do upwards of $1500 to $3000 of work a day! That's upwards of $7500 to $15000 a week and, over the average school year, more than $85,000. And that's not counting that the teachers actually manage to get some lessons through to some students! The average teacher, overall, earns at least $100,000 a year, and are paid no more than $75,000! Try tallying the cost for chaperoning and tutoring in half a dozen subjects! Each teacher would be valued at more than a quarter million dollars of work a year! How many of those condemning teachers have ever tried getting a lesson across to their kids, how many have even managed to get their kids' attention? Why not blame the crooked school boards for their adopting criminal fraud “teaching systems” from calculators in kindergarten, to “whole language”, to “self esteem”, to “role models”, to “black English”, to computers in the classroom, to “teach yourself”, to “grade yourself”, to LATIC, each encompassing massive amounts of new funding for “materials” and “training” and “Seminars”, with the school boards criminally skimming a fraction off the top for themselves?