Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tenure on the Table

The LA Times is talking tenure again. They're against it, of course, and their poster child for its abolition is Green Dot Schools, which is currently in partnership with the United Federation of Teachers here in New York:

Charter schools have done away with such practices -- and that includes Green Dot Public Schools, whose teachers are unionized -- with no widespread reports of unfair treatment.

In fact, it's hard to determine what entails "unfair treatment" for Green Dot teachers, as they enjoy neither tenure nor seniority, and has only been in existence for eight years. Is Green Dot's handful of "unionized" schools a good enough reason for part-time AFT President Randi Weingarten to begin dealing away tenure to union-buster Michelle Rhee in DC? Her internet mouthpiece, unelected UFT Vice-President Leo Casey, certainly seems to think so. Here's Mr. Casey explaining yet again just how well Green Dot teachers have it:
The standard for dismissal in tenure cases is just cause — the school district has a burden of proof that the teacher either has engaged in some overt act of misconduct or is failing to meet minimum standards of performance. The Green Dot schools have this same standard — from the moment they are hired and not after three years of probation — and an independent arbitrator to hear a case for dismissal.

Mr. Casey, as usual, pointedly ignores Green Dot teachers' lack of seniority. Apparently, we duespayers are supposed to ignore the fact that under this system, a twenty-year veteran can be dismissed before a newbie hired ten minutes ago. Still, though, there's a problem with Mr. Casey's contention. Even when we are good little teachers and ignore the seniority issue, Mr. Casey consistently fails to provide a single example in which this process has been utilized, let alone protected anyone's job.

It appears that we're supposed to trust in the good graces of Steve Barr, who does not hesitate to vilify unionized teachers and union leaders using language that would get tenured teachers fired if they were to be caught using it in class.

It's a disgrace that Mr. Casey takes us for such fools that he'd repeat such claims without answering fundamental questions about them. It's even worse that Ms. Weingarten, without whose approval such claims could not appear on Edwize, is placing the tenure of DC teachers on a table she shares with Michelle Rhee.

Ms. Weingarten has truly earned the reputation she covets as a union leader who embraces "reforms." It's unfortunate that she cares not a whit what it costs you, me, or future generations of American working people.

Thanks to California Teacher Guy
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