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They have been planning their moves, and now they are ready.  After the Vergara ruling in California, we heard there would be lawsuits in other states right away.

Reformer groups like theirs have something public school teachers don't have....money and power and contacts.

From Muckety:

Brown and Senor take on New York teachers

Brown, a former CNN anchor, is the founder of Partnership for Educational Justice, which wants to abolish teacher tenure in New York.

She is also a director of Success Academy Charter Schools, a charter school network that has tangled with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Her husband, Senor, is a former adviser to the Romney campaign and spokesman for the Bush administration’s Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Senor is on the board of StudentsFirstNY, another group that has faced off against the teachers unions. The organization is an affiliate of StudentsFirst, founded by former DC school chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Interesting she is on the board of Eva Moskowitz and her Success Charter Network

Eva Moskowitz and her charters work secretly, as does Campbell Brown's group.

The increase for the Success Network is being carried out in a stealth manner, as is an accompanying proposal to reorganize its five Harlem schools — Harlem Success Academy 1 to 5 — under a single nonprofit corporation, even though they are located in three separate community school districts.

Moskowitz submitted a formal application in March to both the state and the city to amend her charters for the five schools, according to documents obtained by the Daily News.

But it was not until a week ago, on the evening of April 17, that the DOE informed local parents and community education councils by email that a hearing to solicit comments on the proposal would be held three days later.

“When we asked to see the actual proposal, we were told we would have to file a Freedom of Information (Act) request,” Noah Gotbaum of the District 3 Community Education Council on the upper West Side said.

Campbell's hubby has aligned himself with Michelle Rhee and her group called Students First

And it looks like both of them depend greatly on good old Morning Joe.  

Meanwhile teachers have a hard time making their voices heard over the reformer propaganda.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ted Olsen, former US Solicitor General, and (4+ / 0-)

    David Boise were on Bill Moyers talking about their new book on the battle against Prop 8, where both firms spent millions on pro bono legal work and expert witnesses, were asked what their next major pro bono effort would be. For  Olsen, a Senior Partner at legal powerhouse Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher, the next effort is the legal battle against teacher tenure. That can't be good.  

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:02:25 PM PDT

  •  I Support Weeding Out Failing Teachers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justanothernyer

    who are untouchable by current teacher tenure laws.  I know that is not a popular viewpoint on this site, but I stand by it.  And yes, I have heard all the arguments  - its the administrators fault, etc., so the only way around the administrators and the teachers union is to change tenure laws.  Lets face it, good teachers have nothing to fear from this ruling.  Only failing teachers do.  

    For decades, students in urban city school districts have been given the short end of the stick, and their schools have been a dumping ground for failing teachers, and they have been lead down a path to fail themselves.

    Most of these kids parents form the base vote of the Democratic Party and we as a party are failing their children by not confronting the issues of teacher tenure.    Something has to change - we have to root out the poor performing teachers and the only way to do this is to change the terms of tenure.  

    There are a lot of problems in many urban school districts and I understand no one issue is the total problem, but we have to start addressing them and teacher tenure is a good place to start.  

    But what I don't understand is - why are we on the side of protecting failing teachers versus getting inner city kids better teachers.  

    "The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn't say 'give me your english-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses'

    by unapologeticliberal777 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:15:16 PM PDT

    •  Bullshit. This is a flat out WAR ON TEACHERS. This (9+ / 0-)

      is not a "if you're good you have nothing to fear".

      The bad teachers know how to suck up.

      The GOOD teachers SPEAK UP when their kids aren't getting what they need.

      The GOOD teachers SPEAK OUT when they see things that are wrong.

      Administrators HATE GOOD TEACHERS and want to fire them.

      They want MINIMUM WAGE TOADIES WHO WILL RECITE SCRIPTED ROTE LESSONS.

      If you're not with us YOU ARE THE ENEMY

      "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:38:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You Are Supporting The Staus Quo (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justanothernyer

        which is responsible for inner city kids getting lousy  educations for decades.  The entire system needs to be turned upside down because it's not working and it hasn't been working for decades.  

        "The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn't say 'give me your english-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses'

        by unapologeticliberal777 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:57:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's the SAME SYSTEM THAT PUT A MAN ON THE MOON (3+ / 0-)

          "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

          by zenbassoon on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 01:03:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  IT'S THE POVERTY NOT THE EDUCATION SYSTEM (5+ / 0-)

          "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

          by zenbassoon on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 01:03:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If you actually wanted... (9+ / 0-)

          ...to "turn the system upside down," I suspect I'd find your argument more persuasive.

          Ending due process for teachers, though, is not "turning the system upside down"—because teachers, like everyone else who works for a living and like the kids in the urban schools, are already on the bottom of the system, with the wealthy and the plutocrats in their tony suburbs on the top.

          It serves the interest of those in power to pit teachers and advocates for inner-city kids against one another, because it makes it less likely that teachers and urban advocates will turn against the true enemy they have in common.

          Just take a look at the most strident activists in our culture and in our legal system against due process for teachers. They're not working-class advocates who live in the cities and send their kids to public schools. They're parasite-class wealthy hedge fund managers and other rentiers who might or might not live in the city but, to a person, send their children to schools where they'll never mix with the children of the productive classes or be subjected to the "reforms" they're trying to impose on other people's children.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 01:39:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The probem is (0+ / 0-)

            before the "reformist" movement appeared on the horizon, Democrats, Republicans, teachers unions, inner city politicians, and the progressive movement, did nothing to stop the endless cycle decade after decade of turning out uneducated, inner city minority students.  That is why charter schools got a foot in the door, along with the beginnings of the whole reform movement.  

            Inner city school board members who are elected get most of their money from the teachers unions.  But their influence is starting to decrease in places like the Los Angeles Unifed School District, where inner city voters are turning against teacher union backed school board members.

            Defending the status quo in inner city schools has to stop - and progressives should be leading the charge, but we are in the pocket of the teaches unions.      

            "The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn't say 'give me your english-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses'

            by unapologeticliberal777 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 02:56:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Poverty (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jbsoul, Darth Stateworker, emal

              and uninvolved parents, and hunger and sleeplessness and a host of other things associated with poverty.

              These things are not repaired by firing dedicated teachers who've been fighting against the socially predictable odds.

              The last thing that struggling kids need are cycles of "teachers" from Teach For America who've had only a few weeks training and are easily disposed of, versus trained professionals who know child development and know how education works.

              That's what the charter school movement is about, replacing professionals with easily fired trainees who have no power, no unions.

              It is a movement to destroy public education, to destroy unions, and to limit or destroy kids' potential by limiting their educational options.

            •  NY and WI didn't turn out uneducated minorities. (5+ / 0-)

              The teachers in Democratic states do a tremendously good job compared to the south. Places with no unions! Don't tell me tenure has god damn thing to do with some bullshit statistics.

        •  Blame it on income status, breakdown of (8+ / 0-)

          family structure, the culture.  Stop making teachers and their unions the scapegoats.

          And if it was only urban, why are the privateers trying to place charters in the suburbs?  Because it's part of a general attack on public education.

          "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

          by Paleo on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 01:49:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  No teacher could have taught me anything I didn't (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yosef 52, jbsoul, Darth Stateworker

          want to learn. I often came to school hungry and freshly beaten. The physical punishments the school authorities could use on me had absolutely no effect on me.

          None of the teachers who tried to help me, or the even the ones who contributed their own petty abuses, should have been held responsible for the condition I was in or my lack of interest in education. Kids all around me got good educations from the same classes I dozed thru or disrupted. But I would have brought any teachers numbers down. So fire him/her?  

          If these thieving corporate bastards and the rats they have hired to steal educational tax dollars from the rest of us, care about the quality of education poor kids get, why do they attack the teachers who work in the underfunded schools and do their best in the  roughest circumstances?

          Bust the Union, grab the tax dollars, and fuck the poorest and most vulnerable.

          1-2-3, here's your corporate school system, fellow citizen.

           

    •  And you are buying into their bullshit. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbsoul, Darth Stateworker, emal

      "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:38:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No I Am Not (0+ / 0-)

        There are a lot of lousy teachers and they have been dumped into inner city schools, and protected by tenure.  They need to go and the only way to get rid of them is to change the tenure laws.

        "The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn't say 'give me your english-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses'

        by unapologeticliberal777 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:42:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No there are not "a lot of lousy teachers". (6+ / 0-)

          That's a load of BULLSHIT.

          I speak FROM EXPERIENCE. I've TAUGHT in urban schools. 99% of the teachers are EXCELLENT.

          It's TURNOVER that's the problem.

          "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

          by zenbassoon on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:46:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is no workforce where 99% of the (0+ / 0-)

            employees are excellent. It's not statistically possible.

            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

            by VClib on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 05:13:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  New York has one of the strictest evaulation (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Darth Stateworker

              systems in the country. Only one percent of teachers last year were evaluated as "ineffective"

              ONE. PERCENT.

              "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

              by zenbassoon on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 05:42:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And 99% were considered excellent? (0+ / 0-)

                "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                by VClib on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 06:08:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  If that is one of the strictest... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                John in Cleveland

                and only 1% got an unfavorable rating, then I would say that is a problem right there. It appears that New York has only been able to terminate a handful of teachers over the past years at a cost of over $250,000 each. Many obviously will just leave when faced with a problem but many more choose to fight (with the union's encouragement). I just looked at three diagrams of the due process system. It appears that if you want to drag it out, you can stay on payroll for about three years because if you fight it properly, you can get two trips through the court system.

                Many large systems simply haven't fired any teachers for years. I know you will say that all an administrator has to do is document and do their job, but that can involve countless hours before administrative hearings, other legal depositions and court times. One hearing can take much of a principle's day. In the New York situation, it appears that there can be so many hearings and reviews -and each time the employee can ask to have the evidence presented by their accusers - that it would take 2 years just for a quick trip through the entire process if either party decides to take an unfavorable ruling to court.

                I don't think anyone here is against due process for a teacher. It's just that the process in way too many cases has become so convoluted and slow that it is impossible to utilize. A New York Post article and a USA Today article both mentioned how due process hearings often continue in prisons long after a teacher has been convicted because they haven't exhausted all of their administrative and legal appeals (even though their criminal appeals were exhausted).

                That's what VClib is talking about when he says there is a big PR problem. It shouldn't take more than a couple of months to terminate a bad teacher - even with various appeals. Anyone in the real world would just look at the New York due process chart and giggle. It's silly and unbelievable at the same time.

                Some smaller systems might not be so bad, but the big ones and their craziness sure get the attention. Tenure can be a very good thing. I certainly like it. However, if our unions don't begin to take the lead and introduce some reforms, someone else is going to introduce and implement them for us (like the courts).

                I could go on and on about the silly arbitration rulings that our unions have won for some of our members and also many court cases. The slightest little slipup by the admins is all that is required to win. At my first school, some old geezer apparently liked to bounce chalk board erasers off the heads of students who weren't paying attention or responding appropriately. Apparently he got away with it for awhile because students thought it was great entertainment to go along with the easy A's he always gave. That is until he caught a coed full in the face with one of his dunks. It popped her one lens and drove it into her eye causing a pretty nasty tear in her cornea. The school quickly settled with the coed and moved to immediately terminate the prof. The union took it to arbitration where they won because it was noted that it was common practice to do this behavior in earlier days of teaching and the university never explicitly told this professor that he shouldn't chuck erasers at his students. The school finally worked something out with the union that if they didn't take the arbitration ruling to court, they would counsel this guy to retire within 3 years and get him to agree to not throw anything at his students.

                There are silly cases like this all over the place. They aren't commonplace in any one school, but the fact that due process allows them to win for such silly reasons is what makes for a terrible optic with the public. That's what has to be dealt with. That is the PR problem.

    •  Urban schools are NOT repeat NOT (3+ / 0-)

      a "dumping ground".

      What you see is TURNOVER. There is NO CONSISTENCY BECAUSE OF HIGH TURNOVER RATES.

      What is going to happen? You'll get WHITE TEACH FOR AMERICA SCABS WITH FIVE WEEKS "TRAINING" in those schools.

      You won't get good experienced teachers.

      And you certainly won't get any teachers of color who the students can identify with.

      "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Fri Jul 04, 2014 at 12:41:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  All of this is false. You cannot assign blame for (8+ / 0-)

      learning fails. Constant budget cutting and no pre K have more to do with that.  Charter schools do no better, in many cases worse, than public schools. Testing and cherry picking students does not prove teaching ability or determination. Environment has everything to do with poor performance. This is a load of right wing propaganda.

    •  Actually tenure is simply due process. (10+ / 0-)

      That's really all it is.   Teachers with tenure can be fired with cause.  

      I think Florida will soon be seeing a shortage of teachers who really want to be teachers because no more due process has been given since 2011.

      Teachers serve at the whim of students, parents, and administrators.  They do not just have one boss.  

      It's reformer propaganda that teachers can not be fired for good reason.  

      My post illustrates how easily they can get their word out, they have a wide circle of media and rich friends who want to profit from what has been a public school system for all.  

    •   Criticism from those who have taught only!!!!! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Stateworker, floridagal, emal

      There are two aspects of education I will comment on.

      First US schools are doing well in comparison to other industrialized countries on international tests. When the data is disagregated and you look at results related to level of poverty as determined by qualification for free and reduced lunch. Schools with 49% poverty or less score in the top 5 internationally. Schools with 24% or less score first. Schools with 9% or less are well above all other countries. (See Gerald Bracey's research as well as others who have done this work.) (Finland a perennial top performer on these international tests has 5% poverty and they are fully unionized!) Poverty is the correlation with failing students, not teacher quality or performance. Charter schools do worse than the associated public schools according to the largest study of charter schools. 40% of the students in charters do worse than those in the associated public schools, 40% do the same and 20% do better. Therefore students are more likely to do worse in a charter than in the associated public school. And you are aware that the principals of charters like Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children's Zone in NYC and Brown from Success Academy Schools make more than $400,000. a year aren't you?

      If you have not been a teacher you have no idea what you are talking about. You are not a factory worker who is dealing with a defined material that you are making widgets with. You have young human beings with their own idiosyncrasies in front of you every day. Some come in hungry. Some have health problems that are not attended to. Some are from unstable and violent homes. Shepherding a class through the complex material throughout a full year takes years to develop a process for. You must learn the misconceptions and stumbling blocks your age group of students will face. By what criteria are you going to evaluate a teacher? Is a single standardized test sufficient to evaluate? Even the complex formula created by NY State and used the past few years has its flaws. I believe if most people took a position as a teacher for a year they would change their opinion about the difficulties a teacher faces and how hard the profession is. It is so easy for a principal to get on a teacher's case when a parent or student complains. Unless it is inappropriate behavior most students and parents who complain about teachers do it because that teacher has a high standard for his/her students and the student's grades are not what they expect.

      I spent 35 years in public education as a teacher and an administrator. I have had to let teachers go who were not good at their job. If an administrator does a good job of evaluation they can remove ineffective teachers. Teaching is a very difficult profession and those who are trying to remove the protections teachers have are shortsighted and the performance of US students will go down with a non unionized work force. Nine of the top ten performing states are unionized. Nine of the bottom ten performing states are non unionized.

    •  Your argument fails (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      floridagal, emal, Jodster

      because you believe tenure itself - the mere allowance of due process rights - is a problem.

      Due process in and of itself is never a problem.  Due process is one of the ideals that this nation was founded on.

      Your argument might have some gravitas if you proposed making the disciplinary system work more efficiently instead of simply saying tenure should be thrown out in its entirety.  By making that argument, you seem to be displaying that you've bought into the bullshit peddled by the so-called reformers.

      I highly doubt any teacher would object to fixing tenure in areas where it could be improved - like providing more funding to pay for independent arbitrators to hear cases - which would speed cases up, and could do so considerably depending on how much funding is provided.  No teacher awaiting a disciplinary hearing wants to wait one year, two years, or even more to get the hearing over with and get on with their lives.  No one wants to live under a dark cloud or question mark for that long.

      Funding for arbitrators is completely beyond the ability of the teachers (and in most cases, their unions) to control.  They carry no blame for this problem with how tenure currently works in many districts because they don't have control over funding for arbitrators.  This is one of those things that asshats like Campbell Brown simply don't tell people while bitching about tenure - because it almost entirely dismantles their whole schtick.  Even in cases where unions and the state/county/district split the cost for arbitration, unions still only have very limited control to correct the issue of lengthy wait times, because the state/county/district can simply refuse to agree to an increase in funding for their share of the arbitration costs and that's it - no new agreement to increase funding, no new arbitrators or increased hours for current arbitrators.  If you dispute any of this - by all means, show me even one union that thinks they have too many arbitrators and cases move too quickly.  Just one.  Because I have never heard any teachers union (or for that matter any union at all) make such a statement.

      However, the speed of disciplinary hearings is only part of the issue.   The second part of the issue is the school administrators themselves.  If they don't properly document alleged disciplinary infractions - either due to laziness, negligence, or incompetence - again, this is not something that teachers or their unions have the ability to control.  So if an administrator can't prove their case to an impartial arbitrator and convince an arbitrator to fire a teacher, either the administrator didn't properly document the case or the administrator asking for termination as a punishment for the infractions was something that an independent arbitrator felt was too great a punishment.  This facet of the disciplinary process lies entirely under district administrators control.  Again - this is another issue that asshats like Campbell Brown don't dare discuss, because it undermines their arguments.

      Arbitration could be made more efficient in many cases.  Many teachers and teachers unions would be happy to see the process improve.   But telling them that because the system is broken because of items that are completely beyond their ability to control that they should lose tenure?  That is asinine, obtuse,  downright un-American, and most certainly not the viewpoint of any logically thinking liberal with any actual knowledge on how tenure/due process rights actually work in the real world.

      It is a real shame that so many self-professed Democrats/liberals fall for this nonsense.  The right has done a tremendous job with their propaganda mills to get so many Democrats/liberals to buy into this steaming pile of garbage.

      "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

      by Darth Stateworker on Sat Jul 05, 2014 at 12:23:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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