‘Making it easier to fire teachers won’t get you better ones’

Los Angeles Times
June 20th, 2014 by 

In an article for the Los Angeles Times, Jack Schneider, assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross, discusses the recent California Superior Court ruling in the Vergara vs. California case. The judge held that “California’s contract with teachers violates the state’s constitutional guarantee to an equitable education,” writes Schneider, who asserts that the decision will inevitably bring the issue to the forefront—and to courtrooms—throughout the country. Vergara supporters believe that the job security of tenure leaves teachers without motivation for improvement, causing “inequities in teaching quality.” Although it is true that this inequity exists,  explains Schneider, firing teachers is not the solution.

“Teachers stall out not because they stop caring but because they lack guidance and support,” says Schneider. “Engaged in difficult and demanding work, even gifted teachers need relevant, robust and continuous professional development opportunities. But very few get it, particularly in schools serving high-needs students. As a result, most teachers realize only a fraction of their full potential.” Schneider sees the solution beginning with schools and districts which “need to transform themselves from administrative units into learning organizations, carving out more time during the school day for teachers to collaborate, observe one another and work with experts” in order to “produce teachers who grow every year, across their whole careers, and who feel ever more effective and more valued.”

Schneider also discusses this topic with the Majority Report with Sam Seder and Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane.

This is a “Holy Cross in the News” item by Evangelia Stefanakos.

For additional information, please contact Cristal Steuer at 508-793-2419.

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