Tuesday, June 10, 2014

California Teacher Tenure Found to Violate Student Rights

First shall issue, and now this.  Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu sided with students in finding that tenure is unconstitutional.
California's teacher tenure statutes are unconstitutional and shouldn't be enforced, a judge said in handing a victory to a group of students in the broadest legal challenge to date against laws that guarantee public school teachers' jobs.  
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu, who heard two months of evidence, agreed in a tentative ruling today with the nine students who brought the lawsuit that the statutes violate their right to equal educational opportunity under the California constitution.
The ruling, when final, will prohibit the state from enforcing a law that gives teachers permanent employment after less than two years on the job, as well as laws that the students say make it too expensive and too time-consuming to dismiss ineffective teachers. Treu put the order on hold until any possible appeals are resolved.  
"Both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily, and for no legally cognizable reason, let alone a compelling one, disadvantaged by the current permanent employment statute," the judge said.  
Perhaps this will open the door to some serious reform, such as I discussed two years ago in my San Diego school post. Lord knows California needs it! If we ever want a good and efficient school system, free market ideas, such as performance based hiring and advancement, must be allowed to permeate through them.
Here is how I would change the school system in order to evaluate instructors' abilities:
  1. K-12 changes to year round quarter system with no elevator (Students must take a comprehensive test to pass each grade).
  2. Test the students at the start of the quarter. No curves.
  3. Test the students at the end of the quarter. No curves.
  4. Evaluate their degree of improvement.
  5. Rank instructors from A to F.
  6. Send D instructors to retrain for a weekend every month of the quarter.
  7. Send F instructors to retrain for an entire quarter.
  8. Fire FF (2 Fs in a row) instructors. (No more tenure.)
  9. Send DF (D followed by F) instructors to retrain for an entire quarter.
  10. Rotate classes so all instructors are tested with all students.
  11. Repeat.
1 would prevent students who didn't know earlier material from being pushed into material they won't understand. 2 gets a baseline for every student. 3 establishes their new level of knowledge, and 4 documents their improvement during their studies. 5 ranks the net improvement of each instructor's students against the other instructor's statistics, while 6 & 7 try to salvage failing instructors. 8 eliminates bad instructors and 9 gives failing instructors one last chance to be salvaged. 10 and 11 ensure "good instructors" won't be "stuck with crap students." 
You could also sweeten the deal by giving bonuses to AA instructors. This would take time, but continual review on a quarterly basis like this might work.
I'll bet the Captain will be ecstatic; I know I am.


  1. Caveat: DFDFDF... instructors are allowed to stay (not recommended!)

    1. Good catch! It's a rough plan, but it helps to have people look at it and find it's weaknesses. Thanks!