April 17, 1996

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Vol. 15, Issue 30
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President Clinton joined a long line of policymakers and reformers when he took a swipe at teacher tenure in his speech at last month's education summit. Job protection for teachers has become a popular rhetorical punching bag. From the president down, many lawmakers and top state officials--including more than half a dozen governors--have tried to modify tenure in the past year. But most have missed.
Several states have taken up proposals to replace or modify teacher tenure recently but have found it a politically dangerous issue to confront. Among the states taking action on tenure are:
Most discussions of educational choice are set within the context of dissatisfaction with the state of American education. Armed with statistics illuminating the shortcomings of our schools, proponents of privatization proceed from the assumption that a private national system can only be justified in the face of the demonstrated failure of the present government system.
Increasingly, the buzzword of choice these days is "stuff," the apparent legacy of professional athletes who call upon it during postgame television interviews ("We did a lot of stuff out there tonight") to describe their winning moves. More exact talk requires a somewhat larger cerebral effort.
It's that time of year again for teachers. As an elementary school teacher for five years, I hated it. You spend a year getting to know your students, getting to know their strengths and weaknesses, becoming friends with their parents... then you have to go and give a failing grade to one of them.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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