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L.A. Times investigative report

Original post made by Shocked, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on May 22, 2009

A friend of mine sent me the following L.A. Times article which I found shocking and sad. Shocking because the article discusses how even removing teachers who have had drugs in the classroom or abused students is virtually impossible because of the tenure system and union power. Sad because of the really good teachers who deserve to earn more and keep their jobs are valued less than those with more seniority.

I'm not interested in bashing teachers. In every organization, there are always going to be employees who should be let go and in the PUSD, we are lucky to have many good teachers.

But like many other people, I question why the teachers' unions are the ones who are controlling which employees stay and which go rather than the school administrators or school boards.

My own experience with PUSD and teachers has been pretty positive. Only once did I think a teacher was so bad that I needed to talk with an administrator. The administrator listened to my concerns and immediately switched my child to another class.

I was so thankful to have my child moved to another class that I didn't take the time to file a formal complaint, but parents I knew who had been at PUSD much longer told me that had been done many times already, but because the teacher had tenure, there was nothing the school could do but to offer parents the option of moving their children to another class.

I felt sorry for the kids stuck with the bad teacher, and sorry for the good teacher whose reward for doing a good job was more work.

With all the budget issues and layoff discussions, I think now might be a good time to address the issue of who controls education - the teachers' union, or the people parents elect to represent their interests and the best interests of their children.

Please, no teacher bashing comments! Just interested in hearing from parents, students and teachers whether they think there should be changes made in how teachers are retained and paid.

Web Link

Comments (4)

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 22, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

No teacher bashing here, but union bashing. Sadly, there's an article on sfgate about California schools, another pot of money from the Federal Stimulus called the "Race to the Top" fund, and how CA might not get a shot at those funds. Web Link

What is related to this thread in the sfgate article is at the bottom of the article where it says:

"In wide-ranging remarks to the mayors and educators, Duncan also said he favors paying more money to excellent teachers - a bone of contention with teachers' unions - and getting better data on which specific teachers are succeeding or failing with students."

Like this comment
Posted by Very Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm

What's the purpose of tenure in our K-12 system?

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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2009 at 11:25 pm

I liked Duncan's comment:
He said the nation needs to have one set of high academic standards, rather than the 50 individual versions under the current law. He said there should also be one national exam aligned to those standards. None exists now.

We've become a very mobile society, and it would be much easier for students to transfer from a school in one state to a school in another if standards were nationwide. Also would make more sense that teachers trained in one state could seek employment in any state without having to take state specific tests.

I don't understand why some teachers are so resistant to the idea of paying excellent teachers more money. It may take some time to develop a reliable way of identifying which teachers are excellent, but isn't it worth it?

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 23, 2009 at 11:03 am

Stacey is a registered user.

If we honestly want our students to compete globally, we need some sort of national standards, not 50 different versions. Other countries we wish to compete with have national standards.

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