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Subject: Teacher tenure and inequality rss

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Kelsey Rinella
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Wouldn't ending teacher tenure exacerbate the inequalities in school effectiveness between rich and poor schools? My impression is that the best school districts are largely able to poach great teachers from nearby poorer districts, while poor districts are struggling to get anyone technically qualified to fill their spots. So higher turnover in the best schools seems like it would increase the brain drain from everyone else, while filling the pool of applicants for the worst schools with failures.

There are lots of elements to this debate I admit I don't understand, but that seemed like one unintended consequence I hadn't seen mentioned (though I'm not saying I'm the first to think of it; I haven't followed this debate very carefully).
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Chad Ellis
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rinelk wrote:
Wouldn't ending teacher tenure exacerbate the inequalities in school effectiveness between rich and poor schools? My impression is that the best school districts are largely able to poach great teachers from nearby poorer districts, while poor districts are struggling to get anyone technically qualified to fill their spots. So higher turnover in the best schools seems like it would increase the brain drain from everyone else, while filling the pool of applicants for the worst schools with failures.


I'm not sure that tenure solves this problem. If I have tenure at a bad school that is hungry to keep me, how big a factor is that going to play in whether I take a job in a better district? The "regret" scenario is where things don't work out in the better district and then I'm unable to come back to my old school or to find a comparable job somewhere, which seems like a fairly unlikely outcome.

Basically it seems like this could have a very small marginal effect but I doubt it's significant.
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Paul W
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Yeah, this seems like a non-factor, especially as acquiring tenure is a given in our current system. Teaching in suburban school districts is a more pleasant and supported job with less stress...that's your primary driver of teacher migration.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
rinelk wrote:
Wouldn't ending teacher tenure exacerbate the inequalities in school effectiveness between rich and poor schools? My impression is that the best school districts are largely able to poach great teachers from nearby poorer districts, while poor districts are struggling to get anyone technically qualified to fill their spots. So higher turnover in the best schools seems like it would increase the brain drain from everyone else, while filling the pool of applicants for the worst schools with failures.


I'm not sure that tenure solves this problem. If I have tenure at a bad school that is hungry to keep me, how big a factor is that going to play in whether I take a job in a better district? The "regret" scenario is where things don't work out in the better district and then I'm unable to come back to my old school or to find a comparable job somewhere, which seems like a fairly unlikely outcome.

Basically it seems like this could have a very small marginal effect but I doubt it's significant.


I think it would have a marginal effect as the tenure system now stands. However, if they were to modify it such that it was a much bigger investment of years to get it (and not automatically given after x years) then it could have a much higher effect. Still, having known someone who was attacked by his students while teaching in a rough urban school, I'm not sure it would be nearly enough to keep the good teachers there.
 
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Junior McSpiffy
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The more tenure a teacher has, the more leverage they have. The more leverage they have, the more they will be able to work their way out of a crappy work environment and into a better one. Removing tenure won't change where teachers go. It would basically make poor schools like minor league baseball, where young teachers go to prove they got what it takes and hope to get the call up to the big leagues.
 
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Paul W
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There are definitely things that could change that, they're just long term solutions. Make teaching a career with less job security but more opportunity for advancement, with the potential for greater earnings than at present, and you'll attract more capable people to education as opposed to other careers. Tenure is a job perk that is far less relevant to highly capable teachers than it is to average and low performing ones, and not really the right knob to turn if you want attract and retain top talent.
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Chad Ellis
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Shushnik wrote:
The anti-union, anti-tenure argument, where there are legions of qualified quality teachers itching to step in when a bad tenured teacher is removed, would suggest that removing tenure might have that effect.


What is it with the RSP straw men lately? Is anyone actually arguing that there are legions of high-quality teachers waiting around?
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
What is it with the RSP straw men lately? Is anyone actually arguing that there are legions of high-quality teachers waiting around?


I'm not arguing anything, but I stopped looking for teaching jobs when it became clear that nobody leaves a position teaching in the humanities unless they (a) snap, (b) die, or (c) get fired. I'm not claiming I would have been the greatest teacher in the world, but I definitely have a less cynical approach to education and a better understanding of the subject matter and pedagogical techniques than many of the tenured teachers I've observed. I could say the same about most of the teacher trainees in my cohort; the closest any of them has to a steady teaching job is a long-term substitute gig, and most of them have given up on the career.

I'm not convinced that tenure is causing the problem, but I would say that there are a ton of eager and talented teachers who've given up their chosen vocation as a result of the vicissitudes of the job market.

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Kevin Keefe
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Unlike most of you, I am actually a teacher. Tenure is by and large overexaggerated by the media and nonteachers.

Tenure certainly does not mean that you can't be fired. It's just an extra step, and with Race to the Top and the movement toward teacher evaluations that include student test scores and evaluations ignore even that.

Each district does it differently in most states. For example, there is no such thing as automatic tenure in my district; it must be applied for and rigorously proven to be deserved before it is awarded. As stated above, it's no guarantee against dismissal anyway, so a lot of faculty don't bother.

Many districts in this area are seriously hurting for cash, and so the myth that rich systems snap up the good teachers is just wrong. Plenty of them preferentially hire the kids right out of college because they're cheaper. I have 16 years experience and my Masters degree. But because of this shift toward hiring cheaply, were I to somehow lose my job, it would be very hard to find another teaching position.
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I've not worked as a teacher in America in many years but at least when I did a culture was increasingly in place which ridiculed and looked down on teachers. It was viewed as an overpaid job with lots of vacation time and few necessary skills, all of which were absurd. The latest attack seems to be on teacher unions which were fighting the pay cuts etc resulting from that popular perception. So while I am not sure that tenure is not a problem, I would need to see a good solid case backed by people with in-classroom experience to believe it really is a problem.
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jeremy cobert
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Teacher pay needs a scale based on level of free& reduced for each school.
So for the country club schools like the one I volunteer at the pay for teaching should be at the base level. While schools that have 90% f&d are going to be much harder on the teacher and as such should have a higher starting baseline.

We see this with nursing, here in Iowa the nurses know they can go work in Chicago an incredibly higher wage even when adjusted for cost of living.

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jeremy cobert
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Shushnik wrote:

Rich districts contributing to a disparity in teacher quality because they absorb the highest quality teachers may not be your reality, but it is real. My wife teaches in a district that fills that reality quite convincingly.


You forgot to factor in one thing. most teachers grow older and start family's. These teachers often times want their kids to go to better schools and as such move out of their inner city schools to the burb's where they can get a job and have their kids grow up in a safe neighborhood.

It's not the rich districts stealing good teachers, its good teachers wanting a better life.
 
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Damian
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jeremycobert wrote:
Teacher pay needs a scale based on level of free& reduced for each school.
So for the country club schools like the one I volunteer at the pay for teaching should be at the base level. While schools that have 90% f&d are going to be much harder on the teacher and as such should have a higher starting baseline.

Who would be paying for this higher baseline? Schools in poor areas have smaller budgets because they have a much smaller tax base to draw from...because they're poor.




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Junior McSpiffy
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jeremycobert wrote:
You forgot to factor in one thing. most teachers grow older and start family's.


We all see what's going on. You say you are volunteering at schools, but you are really hoping to get free tutoring.
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Kelsey Rinella
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
rinelk wrote:
Wouldn't ending teacher tenure exacerbate the inequalities in school effectiveness between rich and poor schools? My impression is that the best school districts are largely able to poach great teachers from nearby poorer districts, while poor districts are struggling to get anyone technically qualified to fill their spots. So higher turnover in the best schools seems like it would increase the brain drain from everyone else, while filling the pool of applicants for the worst schools with failures.


I'm not sure that tenure solves this problem. If I have tenure at a bad school that is hungry to keep me, how big a factor is that going to play in whether I take a job in a better district?


Tenure reduces turnover, so eliminating it means there are more openings, and more movement between districts. You might be right that it's a small effect, but the mechanism isn't that tenure incentivizes good teachers to stay in bad schools, but that it prevents the opening of jobs in good schools for them to move to.

Put it another way--how valuable is it for a school to dip into the labor pool? For good schools, that's a great resource, with lots of talented folks applying. For bad schools, that's much less true. Eliminating tenure means there will be more opportunity to tap the labor pool, which seems likely to be least helpful for the schools with the most bad teachers.

As for whether good schools effectively poach good teachers from worse ones, I've no idea how prevalent it is, but what sent me down this whole line of thinking is that my son's teacher is a recent transplant from a worse school, and my father (recently retired from teaching) also started in a worse school than the one in which he spent most of his career. Perhaps personal experience is deceptive, but I get the impression that the price premium on a teacher with a few successful years behind them is relatively low compared to the value of those years.
 
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Kelsey Rinella
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jeremycobert wrote:
It's not the rich districts stealing good teachers, its good teachers wanting a better life.


What's the difference, if only good teachers have the opportunity to teach in the rich districts? Surely bad teachers also want a better life, no?
 
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Shushnik wrote:
The anti-union, anti-tenure argument, where there are legions of qualified quality teachers itching to step in when a bad tenured teacher is removed, would suggest that removing tenure might have that effect.


What is it with the RSP straw men lately? Is anyone actually arguing that there are legions of high-quality teachers waiting around?



WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?
 
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jeremycobert wrote:

You forgot to factor in one thing. most teachers grow older and start family's. These teachers often times want their kids to go to better schools and as such move out of their inner city schools to the burb's where they can get a job and have their kids grow up in a safe neighborhood.

It's not the rich districts stealing good teachers, its good teachers wanting a better life.


This is a factor my wife and I have to weigh in the coming years. We live in a school district where I just had to vote four times to get the school budget passed because there is a strong contingent in the community that is hell bent on hollowing out the school budget. We have time to see if the community will turn things around, but if not then one strategy would be to find a job at one of the better schools in the region. If that happened my daughter could attend that school even though she lives out of the district.

As for some other observations from the thread, it took me two years to land a permanent position after getting certified as a Social Studies teacher, so I totally agree that some teaching positions are highly sought after and hard to get. If you want job flexibility then Math and Science are easier to come by than social studies and English/Language Arts.

In Vermont the pattern I've seen over the last several years watching schoolspring.com job positings has been that the edges of the state, where a lot of the poor and remote communities are you see consistent turnover. These are hard populations and few resources. If you get the center part of the state where more of the population is then fewer job positions open up because the teachers are in more stable and well funded districts, plus you're closer to "civilization" depending on how you define it. If you try and get a job in the more urbanized part of the state you can expect very high competition, with second or third interviews common to fill a teacher position because there are so many highly qualified people trying to get into the better off school districts. Some schools in this area are also head hunting nationally for teachers to fill their faculty.
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Scott Russell
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Shushnik wrote:
The anti-union, anti-tenure argument, where there are legions of qualified quality teachers itching to step in when a bad tenured teacher is removed, would suggest that removing tenure might have that effect.


What is it with the RSP straw men lately? Is anyone actually arguing that there are legions of high-quality teachers waiting around?


If they eased up on the requirements, there would be a lot of (at least potentially) high quality teachers available.

Some of my best teachers left industry because they wanted to teach. A certificate wasn't needed, but had to be obtained within a few years. Here in Michigan, you have to have the certificate and part of that is working fulltime unpaid as an intern for at least a semester. That makes a transition even harder.

After my kids are out of the house, I'd certainly consider the pay cut (and in Michigan it wouldn't be as bad as many places) from engineering to teaching if I didn't have to do the four-eight months of unpaid. (And, of course, I think I'd make a good teacher.)
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GameCrossing wrote:
...It would basically make poor schools like minor league baseball, where young teachers go to prove they got what it takes and hope to get the call up to the big leagues.


This is kind of how I remember it being, actually. At least in my state. When I got my teaching degree in 2004, my particular credential program involved a stipulation that I had to spend the first year teaching in a specific (problematic) school district. That was in exchange for financial compensation. So basically, the state of California at the time was comping teaching degrees if you agreed to teach in places like Stockton. Then after you went through that gamut, you were free to seek work in better locations. Needless to say, burnout for new teachers was very high. Of those I knew who were in that program with (and after) me, I can only think of two who are still teaching these days. I'm not one of them, but I can't imagine that it's gotten much better.
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qzhdad wrote:


If they eased up on the requirements, there would be a lot of (at least potentially) high quality teachers available.


Wouldn't play well in the media. They've had the Highly Qualified Teacher requirement since NCLB hit the books. Can you imagine the shitstorm if it came out that some of the teachers in your kids schools didn't even have a degree in education?

I'm not saying that it's not a decent idea sometimes. One of our very good chemistry teachers came to us after 25 years as a chemical engineer, although he did do the whole education classes, student teaching, and all that. It just wouldn't be good PR, and in a culture that devalues education and uses teachers as scapegoats for everything, bad PR is to be avoided at all costs.
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TSpeaks wrote:
GameCrossing wrote:
...It would basically make poor schools like minor league baseball, where young teachers go to prove they got what it takes and hope to get the call up to the big leagues.


This is kind of how I remember it being, actually. At least in my state. When I got my teaching degree in 2004, my particular credential program involved a stipulation that I had to spend the first year teaching in a specific (problematic) school district. That was in exchange for financial compensation. So basically, the state of California at the time was comping teaching degrees if you agreed to teach in places like Stockton. Then after you went through that gamut, you were free to seek work in better locations. Needless to say, burnout for new teachers was very high. Of those I knew who were in that program with (and after) me, I can only think of two who are still teaching these days. I'm not one of them, but I can't imagine that it's gotten much better.


When I was a college freshman and majoring in English with a minor in secondary ed there was a similar program in Illinois. Teach two years in one of the inner-city Chicago districts and they'd pay for some large portion of your schooling.
 
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jeremy cobert
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damiangerous wrote:
Who would be paying for this higher baseline? Schools in poor areas have smaller budgets because they have a much smaller tax base to draw from...because they're poor.


I assume you're familiar with how payroll works ? A school district will have a large amount of teachers already on the payroll. these teachers have already negotiated salary's based on the unions negotiations and It typically rewards longevity. so a new teacher will typically make the least amount.

Now lets just do some hypothetical stuff here.

school A has a retiring teacher after 40 years making 100,000 per year

School B has a retiring teacher after 40 years making 100,000 per year

school A is a hood school, school B is a country club school both schools need to hire a new teacher and lets just say both are getting college grads.

School A hires the grad based on "combat pay" scale while school B hires based on the same scale but teacher B gets less for going to the country club.

Both teachers get jobs and the offset of paying more to teacher A is offset by teacher B.

The teachers Union would make the same amount of money but would probably have a problem with it based on different pay for different work.
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
[When I was a college freshman and majoring in English


I thought you said you were a truck driver ?

oh wait "majoring in English " never mind, answered my own question.....whistle
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jeremycobert wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
[When I was a college freshman and majoring in English


I thought you said you were a truck driver ?

oh wait "majoring in English " never mind, answered my own question.....whistle


I have never said I was a truck driver. Not that there'd be a problem with that, it's a good job.

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