November 29, 2006
Common sense says principals should be able to hire the teachers they want and need. But in the realm of public education, where common sense is scant, school leaders, entangled in webs of collective bargaining and union-created staffing rules, are often forced to hire teachers that other schools reject. California is the first state to do something about it. This fall, under the leadership of Democrat Jack Scott, it passed SB1655 (despite predictable union opposition), which mandates that principals at low-performing schools cannot be forced to accept teacher transfers they don't want and gives them more leeway to hire the best teachers. The bill cleared the state Senate 33-1, and the legislature's lower house 59-12. Evidence collected by The New Teacher Project (see here) proved instrumental in this overwhelming, bipartisan victory. If such a thing can happen in Sacramento, perhaps it can happen anywhere. Every other industry knows that success is a product of finding, hiring, and retaining the best human capital available. It's time that public education embraced such common sense notions, too.
"Common Sense in Teacher Hiring," by Jack Scott and Michelle Rhee, Education Week, November 15, 2006 (subscription required)