Saturday, May 14, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Teacher Purge (or, Why Schools Needs Tenure, Pt. 23,617)

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Teacher Purge (or, Why Schools Needs Tenure, Pt. 23,617):

FL: Teacher Purge (or, Why Schools Needs Tenure, Pt. 23,617)


Here's a story of how not to solve problems at a troubled school, and why tenure is a good idea. 

The first thing you have to remember is that in 2011, the Florida legislature and Governor Rick Scott killed teacher tenure. In Florida, a teacher is now hired a year at a time. Nobody is ever actually fired-- they're just not asked back for next year. This is a particularly clever end run around any sort of employment protections, because it means no teacher is actually fired, and therefor no district ever has to give a justifiable reason for firing any teacher.

Now let's travel to Palm Beach Lakes High School to see just how bad an idea that law is, and remind ourselves why due process protections of teachers are not just a scheme to fatten union bank accounts.

Palm Beach Lakes High School is poor and low-achieving. They were once pretty huge, but FL went through a school-minimizing phase; current enrollment 9-12 is listed around 2K (in a district of 183K total students). They have a reported 80% poverty rate, and a 68% graduation rate.

They also have trouble hiring. The school kicked off the year with trouble hiring an Honors Algebra teacher. They finally filled the position in November, but that teacher bailed shortly thereafter, citing "behavioral concerns." Two other candidates each subbed for a day and said "No, thanks."

By March, the situation had only deterioriated, with a series of substitutes in the class. Parents made phone calls and were put off. But PBL is a law magnet, intended as a training ground for future lawyers, and some students in a law class discussion of contracts and negligence had a lightbulb moment about the district's failure to provide an actual teacher for the class. And five of the students decided to take their concern to the school board. The students were freshmen and 
CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Teacher Purge (or, Why Schools Needs Tenure, Pt. 23,617):



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