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25 October 2004: Review of Tenure (4 of 4)

And so, I must align myself with John Kerry on this issue. According to the AP article, he “wants to make it easier for schools to act quickly against poor teachers, provided that educators are protected from baseless firings.” Isn’t this exactly what we need? Why is it that the measure of a business is its product or its profit, but the measure of a teacher is her tenure? Though I’m still working on how exactly this should work (I’d love to hear your experiences or suggestions), I’m pretty sure that teachers should be measured by their students’ achievements. Like salespeople, writers, or even politicians, teachers should not get to keep their jobs without evidence of achievement. And why would they want to? More than bad teachers, I am appalled by bad teachers who don’t care that they’re bad! While I realize that these experiences I write about are probably unique to only the lowest performing districts, it seems an important point that finding something effective and fair in those places will inevitably be effective and fair everywhere else. Just like good teaching, good policy will serve everyone.

teaching quote of the day

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.

- Chinese proverb

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