Education suffers when teachers are easy scapegoats

Jul 4, 2016 by

By Tara García Mathewson –

  • Education reformers that are trying to take away job protections for teachers and funding mechanisms for unions that represent them argue it is the fault of impossible-to-fire teachers that poor and minority children do not succeed.
  • In a post published by The Washington Post, Alexander Wiseman argues this is “at the least a distraction and at the most a purposeful misdirection of attention from the real problem,” which is communities not doing enough to remedy persistent barriers to opportunity like poverty, systemic racism and income inequality.
  • Wiseman argues teacher quality is measured too much by their influence on test scores and evaluations should, instead, consider teacher impact on student attitudes, their teaching styles, their ability to differentiate for different students and their ability to engage students, which would then lead to obvious professional development ideas that could improve teaching overall.

The Supreme Court deadlocked on the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association decision absent Justice Antonin Scalia, who died before the case was decided. The tie left standing a lower court ruling which said California’s teachers unions can collect mandatory fees from non-members to support collective bargaining because the results of that work impact all teachers equally. The court this week refused to hear the case a second time, effectively putting an end to the appeal process.

Where the fight may not be over is in the case of Vergara v. California. So far, a state court of appeals has reversed a ruling in favor of Vergara to find that there were no constitutional violations in teacher job protection laws. The plaintiffs argued poor and minority students were negatively affected by the laws because they kept unfit teachers in their classrooms. They plan to appeal to the state supreme court.

Source: Education suffers when teachers are easy scapegoats | Education Dive

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