Sea Change in Tenure Policy

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Ed Week delivers a solid piece on the changes around the states on teacher policy- LIFO, tenure reform, etc. Money quote:

Jennifer Dounay Zinth, a senior policy analyst at the Denver-based Education Commission of the States, which has been tracking the legislation closely, said the protracted interest in revamping the teaching profession amounts to a “sea change.”

“It’s hard to get your arms around—not just the number of bills being enacted but the breadth and depth of changes being made,” she said.

Note that while Red states are in the lead, even deep Blue states like Illinois have undertaken reform as well.

Randi Weingarten seems to have noticed, as the NYT reports:

Ms. Weingarten, who has long opposed the cuts — both budgetary and rhetorical — made to teachers, told her audience that the current debate on education “has been hijacked by a group of self-styled reformers” from “on high” who want to blame educators’ benefits and job security for states’ notorious budget problems. Calling the union gathering “an affirmation,” she countered that change to the education system should instead come through greater community support for teachers themselves and recognition for the commitment to children they already demonstrate. 

Hijacked from self-styled reformers from on high

…oh sorry…

…just savoring the moment.

We are still in what I view as the early stages of divorcing ourselves from the entirely indefensible practice of treating teachers like interchangeable widgets. We have a great deal to learn, and may need to develop a reliable system of third-party academic assessment as we seek to attach greater consequences to student learning gains if techniques like erasure analysis ultimately fall short. Rather than an argument for the status-quo, this is all the more reason to get on with it.

The debate hasn’t been hijacked Randi, it’s been won fair and square.

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