Having Teacher Tenure Shouldn’t Be An Excuse To Slack Off

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bad teacherSeven New York families will be filing suit tomorrow to end teacher tenure for New York State educators. The families, five of whom are from some of the most struggling neighborhoods in NYC, claim their kids were under-served due to teacher incompetence and are upset that there isn’t an easier way to remove teachers who aren’t performing. They are claiming that their children’s constitutional right to a sound, basic education has been violated, and I’m inclined to agree.

According to StudentsFirstNY organizer and parent of five Nina Doster, of South Ozone Park, Queens:

“There’s no reason why my kids should not be reading on grade level. The law should be changed. Every child should be subject to the best education and teaching in every classroom.”

The lawsuit is being backed by education advocate Campbell Brown. According to The New York Daily News, she and her reform group Partnership for Educational Justice, argue that “the current tenure, seniority, and dismissal protections make it almost impossible to fire bad teachers in New York State.” They go on to say that the district’s layoff policy, which is essentially “last in, first out,” deters the brightest new educators from even applying. Because of course it does. If you’re a rising star in the education community, are you going to work for a district that will fire you because you’re new if there are layoffs, or will you go with the district that has a record of taking care of dedicated teachers? I think the answer is obvious.

The accusations made against various New York educators is stunning. One parent, Tauana Goins, claims a teacher in Far Rockaway, queens, called students “miserable” and went as far as calling her 8-year-old a “loser.” Another mom, Natalie Mendoza, claims a kindergarten teacher at her child’s school in the Bronx slept through class. These are just the tip of the iceberg. Obviously these are just accusations at this point, but if even half of this stuff is true, it shows a serious problem going on in the New York educational system.

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