Tendentious on tenure

Perched atop a soap box in the New York Daily News, United Federation of Teachers boss (and upcoming AFT chieftain) Randi Weingarten steps up her ongoing assault on logic and reason. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein wants to consider student test scores when awarding tenure to teachers. Almost everybody in the real world (i.e., outside the field of education) concurs. Weingarten, however, thinks this is a terrible plan. Teachers up for tenure are already scrutinized, she writes: "Supervisors are supposed to observe probationary teachers in their classrooms several times a year for three years--and evaluate them in more than 20 categories." The key phrase is "supposed to," which in this case should be replaced with "hardly ever." And while Weingarten doesn't argue with Klein's point that few teachers are ever denied tenure, she does claim that, because "a third of new teachers are either dismissed or leave the classroom before the final tenure decision," it all, you know, balances out. She doesn't bother specifying that this third is likely composed of promising young teachers who leave because they're frustrated with stifling work environments and uncaring or inept colleagues. To round out her sophistry, Weingarten argues that tenured teachers can easily be fired after receiving due process. Unfortunately, in New York City, due process means locking teachers in a room and paying them $60,000 to work on their screenplays. You almost had us fooled, Randi.

"Halt assault on teacher tenure," by Randi Weingarten, New York Daily News, April 21, 2008

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