Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tenure Reform, part II

A follow-on to the previous article about Tenure.

Chicago Public Schools have stated that they will use teacher performance as the primary mechanism by which they decide which teachers get laid off. Specifically, when pink slips are relesaed, they'll go to the roughly 200 teachers in the district who have received "unsatisfactory" ratings from their principals.

The step is described as
a) radical
b) common sense
c) long overdue
d) illegal
e) an abuse of power

Which answer you choose depends on your perspective. The Chicago Teachers Union is strongly opposed. (Insert mock surprise here.)

I strongly support the move of the Chicago Board, but probably not for the reasons you might think.

We don't have a long list of "bad teachers" in LASD. Most of our teachers are dedicated, hard working educators. Those that aren't are often coached by their colleages. Yes, there are a few that we hear about, and as a Board we know the cost of removing those folks is high (roughly $300,000).

I favor this change, though, because I think it is on the leading edge of reinventing education.

Education today is much as it has been for the past 100+ years. School Districts today are not run much differently than they were in the 1950's and earlier. The problem is that the world has changed. Business and government have changed in big, radical ways over the past several decades. We can search government records on the web, and we have embraced Just In Time manufacturing and outsourcing of any number of functions. School Districts are still the same as they were when I wnet to school and when my parents went to school. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has changed.

If we want to compete, to continue to lead the world, we're going to need to think differently. It's time to reinvent education. Maybe Chicago is taking the first big step. I wish them great success.

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