CNN (6/13, Ford) on Friday continued coverage of the debate over “the best way to educate children,” which had been spurred by a judge’s ruling that several California laws regarding teacher tenure and dismissal were unconstitutional. According to CNN, some say the tenure provided teachers with academic freedom and stability, while others said teachers were given too much freedom at the expense of minority and low-income students, and politicians and others see the decision as an opportunity to call for an overhaul of public teaching. “At the end of the day what everyone has common interest in – the common goal – is to increase public confidence in public education. We want great public schools and we need great public school teachers... There’s one common enemy and that’s academic failure – and if we continue to fight silly fights everybody loses,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Debate Ignores Criteria For Assessing Teacher Quality. The San Francisco Chronicle (6/16, Tucker) reports that the issue of “what specifically makes a teacher terrible – or terrific” has been lost in the debate following last week’s Vergara decision in California. According to the Chronicle, a number of school administrators argue that the key to improving education is improving all teachers as well as retaining teachers new to the profession, or those who are struggling. The article also details a variety of teacher assessment methods being used in California school districts to achieve that goal.
WPost Praises Ruling On California’s Teacher Tenure Laws. The Washington Post (6/14) editorializes that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu’s recent ruling on California’s laws on teacher tenure and layoffs has revealed “issues about education quality” that “cry out for new ways of thinking.” Treu struck down these laws, ruling that they “violate the state’s constitutional commitment to provide ‘a basically equal opportunity to achieve a quality education.’” While noting that the ruling will be appealed, the Post argues that it has highlighted the need for school officials and lawmakers “to bring sanity to policies that confer a guarantee of lifetime employment to teachers regardless of the job they do.”