Whoopi’s ‘View’ on Teacher Tenure

By Mark Walsh — August 06, 2014 2 min read
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My colleague Stephen Sawchuk, in his Teacher Beat blog, linked to some video comments on teacher tenure by Whoopi Goldberg this week, and he noted that at the rate celebrities were weighing in on the topic, tenure “may exceed the Common Core State Standards as an education policy lightning rod.”

But the “Whoopi’s Rant” segment he linked to was only the tip of the iceberg. Goldberg, the host of ABC’s “The View,” led her co-hosts in a heated discussion on tenure on Monday’s and Tuesday’s show.

The discussion started during Monday’s “hot topics” segment with a mention of one of the two lawsuits challenging New York state’s teacher-tenure laws.

“This is for all the teachers in the audience,” said Goldberg, suggesting the New York state lawsuit and similar attacks on tenure “will most likely become a big issue in the 2016 presidential elections.”

“Now, no one wants a teacher in the classroom who is not a good teacher,” Goldberg said.

Regular (and soon departing) co-host Jenny McCarthy cited some of the lawsuit’s examples of bad teacher behavior and said: “Who’s protecting the students?

Guest co-host Nicolle Wallace, a former communications adviser to President George W. Bush and now a frequent commentator on cable news shows, paraphrased an unspecified op-ed from that morning, saying, “The teachers have a union. The kids don’t have a union.”

Guest co-host Kayleigh McEnany, another conservative commentator, added some backstage context. “Whoopi, you were sounding a little conservative back in the green room on this one.”

Goldberg, the Oscar-winning actress who comes off as liberal on most issues, said: “I’m a thinker. I think about what’s best for us. To me, bad teachers don’t do anybody any good. So the unions need to recognize that parents are not going to stand for it anymore. And teachers, in your union, you need to say these bad teachers are making us look bad, and we don’t want it.”

That was Monday. The ladies of “The View” returned to the topic on Tuesday’s edition.

Goldberg said, “Yesterday ... some of our viewers lost their minds about this,” referring to Twitter reaction and comments that she said failed to understand her point from Monday.

“Let me clarify,” Goldberg said. “We were not talking about good teachers, who do a great job. We were talking about getting rid of teachers who don’t do a good job.”

“This is not about bashing teachers,” she added. “We said, teachers who do not do a good job in teaching have no right to have tenure. “

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.