California Lawmakers to Consider Commonsense Education Reforms

May 22, 2017 by AFP

California state lawmakers are currently considering a bill to lengthen tenure eligibility requirements for elementary and high school teachers.

Current California law gives teachers the ability to attain tenure after only two years of work.

A new bill, which recently passed California’s Assembly Education Committee, would extend the requirement to three years, making it easier for schools to weed out ineffective teachers.

As AFP’s Sam Shumate notes in National Review,

Tenure laws keep ineffective teachers in the classroom and increase the costs to fire them. In California, only 22 teachers were dismissed for unsatisfactory performance in the decade between 2003 and 2013. This means that only 0.0008 percent of California’s 277,000 teachers are fired each year despite lackluster educational outcomes.

While tenure provides job security to teachers who have taught for a specified number of years, it has ironically contributed to high teacher turnover. New teachers are frequently given the most challenging teaching assignments, and they are the first to be let go when school districts face budget constraints. Consequently, 41 percent of new teachers leave the classroom within their first five years.

Teachers unions have already voiced their opposition to tenure reform and have vowed to fight the bill during every step of the legislative process.

Passing the tenure reform bill would be a small step in the right direction for California’s education system, incentivizing merit and ability, rather than simply prioritizing seniority.

California lawmakers have a crucial decision to make – the outcome of this decision will impact education in California for decades to come.

It’s time for lawmakers to put the citizens of California first and pass this bill.

Read more on National Review.