Some of the teacher-bashing crap from Wisconsin and other places has arrived here in Virginia.
The Virginia House of Delegates voted 55-43 Monday to eliminate seniority-based job protections [aka “tenure”] for public school teachers, a measure pushed by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) as part of his education reform package.
Under H.B. 576 and S.B. 438, probation would be extended to five years and continuing contracts would be replaced with three-year contracts.
At the end of every three years, a teacher could be let go for poor performance or any reason at all. [emphasis mine]
There are a couple of things in all of this that just don’t make sense.
First is the fact that many of these politicians just don’t understand the concept of tenure as applied to our jobs. It certainly doesn’t mean lifetime employment.
Academic tenure was created to prevent an educator from being dismissed for reasons other than performance – political or social views that differ from the administration, for example. Tenure is all about that “any reason at all” for being fired. Like blogging about clueless members of your state legislature.
In other states, the vilification of teachers has been driven by a political dislike of teacher’s unions. They say nice things about the concept of “teachers”, but really hate us when we get into groups to defend the profession.
Here in Virginia, that’s really not much of an issue since this is a “right to work” state that doesn’t allow collective bargaining for government workers. The local versions of the NEA and AFT have almost no actual power and thus are not much of a threat to the governor and his friends.
However, the worst part of all this is the pure unadulterated hypocrisy of the people pushing these measures. The ones who make statements like:Â “Here in Virginia, we are fortunate [to] have a world-class educational system with world-class teachers.”
And the former teacher serving in the House who supports the bill who wants to get rid of the few bad teachers who use “the same tired lesson plans year after year and couldn’t get control of their classrooms” by eliminating protections for the many “world-class” teachers.
It’s hard to understand all the teacher bashing going on in far off exotic places like Madison. It’s even more difficult when it pops up close to home, driven by “leaders” who smile and say nice things about our educational system, while doing what they can to handicap the teachers responsible for making it “world-class”.