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Thinking About The Teacher Tenure Decision

The dueling sides of the teacher tenure debate each make compelling points. It is unclear at this point whether the recent California teacher tenure decision will ultimately intensify this debate or allow it to resolve one way or the other for good. As many of our readers are aware, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge recently ruled in a case challenging the state's teacher tenure laws. The effects of this decision may ultimately impact students with learning disabilities to a significant extent.

The judge ruled that California's teacher tenure laws violate the state's constitution. Specifically, the judge concluded that the laws violate students' rights to equal education by burdening minority, indigent and some special needs students with teachers who are ultimately ineffective and inadequate educators. The judge explains in his decision that the rationale for his conclusion is well supported. He notes specifically that, "The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience."

Entities supporting teacher tenure have promised that they will appeal this monumental decision. It is important to note however that not all teachers agree with the system as it currently stands. In particular, the system fails to honor the talent and devotion of certain junior teachers given that layoff policies are structured in a “last in, first out” fashion.

The issue of teacher tenure is so complex that tackling this subject in-depth within a single blog post, or even a few, is inappropriate. However, it is imperative that concerned parents voice their support either for the prevailing or appealing entities tied to this suit. The only way that reforms in the best interests of students will be achieved is if those invested in their education take a stand for what they believe in.

Source: New York Times, “A New Battle for Equal Education,” June 11, 2014

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