Opinion
Education Opinion

Teachers Deserve Voice in Job Rules

By Walt Gardner — November 10, 2014 1 min read

Contrary to what education reformers maintain, all teachers are not opposed to changes in the rules affecting the security of their jobs (“Teachers Unions Flunked Their Midterms,” The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 7). Consider what the teaching policy fellows of Teach Plus recommended in the wake of the Vergara v. State of California decision (“After the Vergara case, listen to the teachers,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 13).

They make three major recommendations: extend to four years the time needed to gain tenure, consider both seniority and performance in determining layoffs, and require professional support for new and struggling teachers before dismissal. What is most newsworthy is that the recommendations come from teachers - rather than from politicians and business leaders.

Teachers are usually portrayed as a monolith set on maintaining the status quo. But in reality they can be extremely critical about their colleagues who are ineffective. They may not make their feelings public because of professionalism, but they do so among themselves. Let’s not forget that colleagues who are not doing their jobs make the jobs of others more difficult.

Peer Assistance and Review programs are an example. Senior teachers mentor both struggling novices and veterans. If mentoring doesn’t result in improved performance, a panel made up of an equal number of teachers and administrators can vote to fire the teacher.

I believe that change is necessary in determining which teachers remain in the classroom. But at the same time, I think it’s vital that the pendulum not swing too far the other way. How to achieve that balance should be determined by classroom teachers. In higher education, the views of professors are accorded great weight in developing policy. I fail to see why this model cannot be applied in K-12.

The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

7796 - Director of EAL (K-12) - August '21
Dubai, UAE
GEMS Education
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read