We Need More Teacher Voices
California’s teacher tenure laws have been struck down. According to Jesse Rothstein of the New York Times, “In short, while the notion of ‘clearing the stables’ of bad teachers seems attractive, it is almost impossible to get right in practice. No conceivable system can eliminate all ‘grossly ineffective’ teachers, and efforts aimed at doing so can do more harm than good.”
From my perspective, based on fifteen years of classroom experience, the vast majority of teachers care deeply about their students. The majority of teachers are more concerned about removing bad teachers from the classroom, then the general public. Yet where are the teacher’s voices in the decision making process? Again, as is par for the course, the most important decisions about education are being made by those with the least understanding.
What can a judge know about managing an overcrowded classroom, with students below grade level, and no administrative support. Teachers know how to do this, they do it every day, dedicating their lives to being human band-aids on a broken system. And they don’t complain. They accept hungry kids in overcrowded classrooms, don’t make excuses, and they try to get the job done. And even after this ruling, undermined again, still grossly underpaid, they will go back to their classrooms and practice the art of inspiration to change kids lives.