Court Ruling On Teacher Tenure Continues To Spark Commentary


In an editorial this morning, USA Today (6/17) weighs in on a recent court ruling in California that “struck down state laws that make tenure far too easy to get, seniority a singular shield against layoffs and incompetent teachers almost impossible to fire.” Education Secretary Arne Duncan “wrote that the California ruling could spark years of legal warfare across the country, or it could inspire litigation-reducing changes that respect teachers and students alike. The latter path is preferable, and much faster.”

        Joshua Pechthalt is president of the California Federation of Teachers, and Dean Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association, call the ruling “bizarre” in an accompanying op-ed forUSA Today (6/17), and argue that the entire case “is an anti-union attack masquerading as a civil rights effort.”

        AFT’s Weingarten Criticizes Duncan Over Praise For Teacher Tenure Ruling. The Los Angeles Times (6/17, Ceasar) reports on a letter from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers who wrote a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan criticizing “his praise of a ruling by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge” which said that some California teacher tenures were unconstitutional. The Times quotes extensively from Weingarten’s letter, noting that Duncan continued to support the ruling last week. “The common goal is to increase public confidence in public education. We want great public schools we need great public schools teachers. We need families to want to go to public schools... That’s the common ground. There’s one common enemy – that’s academic failure,” Duncan told CNN.

        Author Says California Court Case Should Start Conversation About Assessments And Rights In Schools. TheNational Journal (6/17, Johnson, Subscription Publication) reports on its “Education Insiders” blog, “Silicon Valley loves disruptions” and a recent lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of three teachers’ job protection under California law “certainly succeeded in that” when a judge declared the protections unconstitutional. The decision sparked responses from teacher’s unions and their critics and “kicks at a hornet’s nest of questions that would benefit from a full-fledged public conversation.” The author then asks for readers of the blog to have a discussion on the role of assessments in teacher evaluations, and the relationship between students’ rights to quality education and teachers’ rights.