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Commentary: Taking on Teacher Tenure Backfires

LA School Report | June 13, 2014

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the-new-york-timesVia The New York Times | By Jesse Rothstein

BERKELEY, Calif. — In his decision on Tuesday to strike down California’s teacher-tenure system, Judge Rolf M. Treu of Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that laws protecting teachers from dismissal violated the state’s constitutional commitment to provide “a basically equal opportunity to achieve a quality education” and drew parallels with prior cases concerning school desegregation and funding levels.

But there is a difference between recognizing students’ rights to integrated, adequately funded schools and Judge Treu’s conclusion that teacher employment protections are unconstitutional.

The issue is balance. Few would suggest that too much integration or too much funding hurts disadvantaged students. By contrast, decisions about firing teachers are inherently about trade-offs: It is important to dismiss ineffective teachers, but also to attract and retain effective teachers.

Read the full commentary here.

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