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Jeff Bernstein

North Carolina: A First Look at the Destruction of Public Education | Diane Ravitch's blog - 0 views

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    "Lindsay Wagner is an excellent journalist at NC Policy Watch. She covers the legislature.

    Here is her summary of the slash-and-burn policies that the legislature applied to public education"
Jeff Bernstein

Why Is There a Movement to End Tenure? « Diane Ravitch's blog - 0 views

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    "Tenure is nothing more than a guarantee of due process in disciplinary matters

    It seems to me the people who complain about tenure for public school teachers have somewhat dictatorial powers.  They are similar to those who complain that police and prosecutors are hamstrung by having to follow the provisions of the Bill of Rights when going after those accused of crimes.

    We have a system of laws that provide for due process precisely because our Founders recognized that there must be some controls on those exercising power, ostensibly in the name of We, the People of the United States.  They also recognized the danger of a mob mentality, which is why our system removed from being subject to simple majority rule things like our ability to worship or not worship in the religious sect of our choice, how we speak out politically, the ability of the press to act as our eyes and ears, and our ability to gather and organize for political and other purposes.  These are all rights guaranteed in the First Amendment."
Jeff Bernstein

Principals: Our struggle to be heard on reform - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post - 0 views

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    "This was written by Carol Burris and Harry Leonadartos. Burris is the principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, New York.  Leonadartos is the principal of Clarkstown High School North in Rockland County, New York. Carol is the co-author and Harry is an active supporter of the New York Principals letter of concern regarding the evaluation of teachers by student scores."
Jeff Bernstein

Governor Chris Christie Signs Bill Overhauling Teacher Tenure in New Jersey - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    "It will be harder for public-school teachers in New Jersey to get tenure and easier to fire bad ones under legislation signed on Monday by Gov. Chris Christie that overhauls the state's century-old tenure law."
Jeff Bernstein

Christie Said to Sign Tenure Bill Monday - Metropolis - WSJ - 0 views

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    "Gov. Chris Christie is expected to sign a bill Monday morning that would provide a sweeping overhaul of the tenure system for public school teachers, according to two officials with knowledge of the matter."
Jeff Bernstein

Trending Toward Reform: Teachers Speak on Unions and the Future of the Profession - 0 views

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    To understand how and why teachers' opinions may be changing, Education Sector worked with the Farkas Duffett Research Group to conduct four focus groups and a nationally representative survey 
    of K-12 public school teachers. The survey, which gathered responses from 1,101 teachers, repeated questions from a 2007 Education Sector survey and a 2003 Public Agenda survey about a variety of teacher-centered reforms, including new approaches 
    to evaluation, pay, and tenure, and the role of unions in pushing for or against these reforms. Accordingly, this report examines changes in teacher opinion from 2007 to 2011 and, as with the 2007 report, looks closely at differences between new teachers (less than five years) and veterans (more than 20 years).
Jeff Bernstein

More Thoughts on Teacher Polls, Tenure, and School Funding - Dana Goldstein - 0 views

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    Over at The Nation I have a new piece looking at surveys of public school teachers, one of which found job satisfaction at its lowest point since 1989. The most important thing to note is that polling shows teachers are not unhappy because they resent new accountability policies like the more stringent teacher evaluations instituted in response to President Obama's Race to the Top program. In fact, most teachers support using multiple measures of student learning to assess educators, and most believe it should take longer to earn tenure (an average of 5.4 years according to the Gates/Scholastic poll) than it currently does (an average of 3.1 years across all states). 
Jeff Bernstein

Great but irritating D.C. teacher forced to retire - Class Struggle - The Washington Post - 0 views

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    Erich Martel, one of the hardest-working D.C. teachers ever, received an e-mail last month from a former student. The man said he was switching from a successful business career to research in ancient history, in part because of Martel, "the best history teacher I ever had."

    That happens often to Martel, 68, an Advanced Placement history instructor. He has been teaching for more than 40 years, mostly at Wilson High School. His post-AP-test classes on the Vietnam War are famous, first for insisting on study during the usual late May and June playtime, and second for thrilling his audience with visits by Vietnam veterans and war opponents such as former senators Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern and prisoner of war Everett Alvarez Jr.

    Yet, Martel was forced to retire last summer after a long campaign to get rid of him. He had too much energy and investigative zeal for his supervisors' comfort. It also didn't help that he was a school representative for the Washington Teachers Union.
Jeff Bernstein

Counterpunch: How to Destroy the Educational System - 0 views

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    Perhaps most importantly, one of the best ways to improve public education would be to work to alleviate those factors beyond teachers' control that affect students' ability to learn. They are some of the same factors that lead to Louisiana's dismal Kids COUNT rating-unemployment, poverty, violence, crime rates, family instability, childhood hunger, access to health care.

    No, no, and no, according to the politicians. What do teachers know about education, anyway? Public-school teachers, according to most of the Senate members who testified, are obviously part of the problem, not the solution, so it's better to follow noneducators' recommendations when improving schools. The philosophies behind the legislation passed last week echo the pro-charter, pro-private philosophies of distinctly non-local figures as diverse as the anti-union former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee (who now finds her former district embroiled in a cheating scandal), the deep-pocket GOP puppetmasters the Koch Brothers and, most significantly, the American Legislative Exchange Council. (ALEC, a conservative think tank that prizes small government and free markets, hosts large meetings at which it gives politicians dummy legislation that they can personalize and file in their home states; its influence is clear in some of Louisiana's education bills.) Similar legislation has been proposed in other states across the country, particularly in legislatures that, like Louisiana's, are overwhelmingly Republican, and teachers and others with an interest in public education would do well to pay attention to what's going on here.
Jeff Bernstein

Teachers' Support For Reform Depends In Part On Experience -- Gates/Scholastic Survey - 0 views

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    Revamping the makeup of the teaching profession through tweaks such as altering tenure and teacher evaluations has become a policy debate du jour, one that has riled many a state house in recent years. As it turns out, teachers themselves support that overhaul, according to recent survey data.

    But that support may depend on a factor central to many of these teacher reforms: experience.
Jeff Bernstein

Abolish Tenure? - Innovations - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 0 views

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    The Virginia state legislature has been making headlines for discussing whether women should have to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound before having an abortion, but the same legislative body is receiving kudos, from the liberal New Republic, for seeking to abolish tenure for teachers in public schools.

    In backing the proposal, the editors of The New Republic drew a distinction between higher education, where they think tenure is appropriate, and K-12 education, where they want tenure "abolished." Universities are "our country's ideas factories," they write. "And so it makes a certain amount of sense that we would want university professors-the people our society relies on to explore ideas, including unpopular ones-to enjoy protections from ideological or intellectual retribution. But this rationale doesn't apply at the K-12 level."

    The editorial goes on to say that "there isn't a good" rationale for tenure in elementary and secondary education. "Indeed, tenure is so illogical that it's impossible to see why it shouldn't be abolished."
Jeff Bernstein

N.J. school reform must get teacher evaluation right | NJ.com - 0 views

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    Yes, teacher tenure needs reform, but state Sen. Teresa Ruiz's bill places too much weight on the teacher evaluation system under development in New Jersey. Firing teachers based on two consecutive years of poor evaluations is not going to improve teacher effectiveness or student achievement.
Jeff Bernstein

Why Are Teachers So Upset? - Bridging Differences - Education Week - 0 views

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    By now, you have seen the latest Metlife Survey of the American Teacher. It shows that teachers' satisfaction with their job has plummeted since 2009, from 59 percent to 44 percent. It is the lowest it has been in 20 years. The percentage of teachers who are likely to leave the profession has grown from 17 percent to 29 percent since 2009.

    The reasons are obvious: The most satisfied teachers feel their jobs are secure, and they are treated as professionals by the community. Compared with dissatisfied teachers, they are more likely to have opportunities for professional development, time to collaborate with other teachers, and greater parental involvement in their schools. These are teachers working in an atmosphere of professionalism and collaboration.
Jeff Bernstein

Diane Ravitch: Why Are Teachers So Upset? - Bridging Differences - Education Week - 0 views

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    It cannot be accidental that the sharp drop in teacher morale coincides with the efforts of people such as Michelle Rhee and organizations such as Education Reform Now and Stand for Children to end teacher tenure and seniority. Millions have been spent to end what is called "LIFO" (last in, first out) and to make the case that teachers should not have job security. Many states led by very conservative governors have responded to this campaign by wiping out any job security for teachers. So, if teachers feel less secure in their jobs, they are reacting quite legitimately to the legislation that is now sweeping the country to remove any and all job protections. Their futures will depend on their students' test scores (thanks to Arne Duncan), even though there is no experience from any district or state in which this strategy has actually improved education. Its main effect, as we see in the survey, is to demoralize teachers and make them feel less professional and less respected. Yes, there will be more teaching to the test: Both NCLB and the Race to the Top demand it. And yes, there will be teachers who are wrongly fired. And yes, teachers will leave for other lines of work that are less stressful.
Jeff Bernstein

Tenure Protects Good Teachers - John Wilson Unleashed - Education Week - 0 views

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    Okay! Okay! I know teachers do not have tenure in the pure definition of guaranteed lifetime employment that was available in some higher education institutions long ago. Instead, teachers have fair employment and dismissal procedures that protect them from dismissal for arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory reasons after completing a probationary period.

    I have been following with interest the legislative battle in Virginia over the "tenure" issue. It has been a very partisan battle with only a few Republican senators--those with firsthand information from relatives who are teachers--refusing to go down a road that appears punitive and unnecessary in this non-collective bargaining state. These senators' instincts are right, and let me provide some points to support them.

    First, the reason that the original laws were passed was to protect good teachers.
Jeff Bernstein

Reformy Platitudes & Fact-Challenged Placards won't Get Connecticut Schools w... - 0 views

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    For a short while yesterday - more than I would have liked to - I followed the circus of testimony and tweets about proposed education reform legislation in Connecticut. The reform legislation - SB 24 - includes the usual reformy elements of teacher tenure reform, ending seniority preferences, expanding and promoting charter schooling, etc. etc. etc. And the reformy circus had twitpics of of eager undergrads (SFER) & charter school students (as young as Kindergarten?) shipped in and carrying signs saying CHARTER=PUBLIC (despite a body of case law to the contrary, and repeated arguments, some lost in state courts [oh], by charter operators that they need not comply with open records/meetings laws or disclose employee contracts), and tweeting reformy platitudes and links to stuff they called research supporting the reformy platform (Much of it tweeted as "fact checking" by the ever-so-credible ConnCAN).
    Ignored in all of this theatre-of-the-absurd was any actual substantive, knowledgeable conversation about the state of public education in Connecticut, the nature of the CT achievement gap and the more likely causes of it, and other problems/failures of Connecticut education policy.
Jeff Bernstein

Tenure needs to be changed, renamed - The New Haven Register - 0 views

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    Tenure is perhaps the most misunderstood topic in public education. Renewed cries to change or abolish tenure have surfaced once again.

    It is widely believed that tenure provides lifetime job security for teachers. This erroneous belief is almost universal, misunderstood by educators, as well as by the public.

    The simple fact is no such protection exists. Just the opposite is true.
Jeff Bernstein

Teacher Tenure and Student Achievement Are Not Linked - 0 views

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    One thing I learned from meeting Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last Friday is that the lawyer-turned-politician requires evidence when confronted with a dissenting opinion. As a columnist and citizen of the state of Connecticut deeply concerned with matters of education, I do too.

    Let's take a controversial plank of the education reform bill.  "Since 2009, 31 states have enacted tenure reform, including our neighboring states of New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.  It's time for Connecticut to act."
Jeff Bernstein

Court: Chicago teachers don't have rehire rights - Chicago Sun-Times - 0 views

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    Hundreds of tenured Chicago Public School teachers laid off for economic reasons in 2010 did not have the right to be rehired to new jobs, unlike other teachers in the state, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Jeff Bernstein

A Lawyer/Teacher's Defense of Tenure - 0 views

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    This is a letter I wrote to members of the Virginia General Assembly on the eve of their vote on HB576 which would eliminate tenure, or the "Continuing Contract" as it is called here.
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