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Cracker Squire

THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

G.O.P. Governors Take Aim at Teacher Tenure

From The New York Times:

Seizing on a national anxiety over poor student performance, many governors are taking aim at a bedrock tradition of public schools: teacher tenure.

The momentum began over a year ago with President Obama’s call to measure and reward effective teaching, a challenge he repeated in last week’s State of the Union address.

Now several Republican governors have concluded that removing ineffective teachers requires undoing the century-old protections of tenure.

Governors in Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada and New Jersey have called for the elimination or dismantling of tenure. As state legislatures convene this winter, anti-tenure bills are being written in those states and others. Their chances of passing have risen because of crushing state budget deficits that have put teachers’ unions on the defensive.

Tenure laws were originally passed — New Jersey was first in 1909 — to protect teachers from being fired because of race, sex, political views or cronyism.

Public-school teachers typically earn tenure after two or three years on probation. Once they receive it, they have a right to due-process hearings before dismissal, which in many districts makes it expensive and time-consuming to fire teachers considered ineffective. Tenure also brings seniority protections in many districts.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie, whose combativeness with the teachers’ union has buoyed his national reputation, appears to have a good chance of getting a bill from the Democratic-controlled Legislature that reshapes tenure.

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