Thursday, November 13, 2008

Will Tenure for Public School Teachers Disappear in DC?

The Washington, D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee is floating an eyebrow-raising proposal to abolish tenure plans in the school district and incorporate the investment assistance of private foundations and individuals.

From the article:

Ms. Rhee has not proposed abolishing tenure outright. Under her proposal, each teacher would choose between two compensation plans, one called green and the other red. Pay for teachers in the green plan would rise spectacularly, nearly doubling by 2010. But they would need to give up tenure for a year, after which they would need a principal’s recommendation or face dismissal.

Teachers who choose the red plan would also get big pay increases but would lose seniority rights that allow them to bump more-junior teachers if their school closes or undergoes an overhaul. If they were not hired by another school, their only options would be early retirement, a buyout or eventual dismissal.

In an interview, Ms. Rhee said she considered tenure outmoded.

“Tenure is the holy grail of teacher unions,” she said, “but has no educational value for kids; it only benefits adults. If we can put veteran teachers who have tenure in a position where they don’t have it, that would help us to radically increase our teacher quality. And maybe other districts would try it, too.”

But the proposal that could garner up to US$75 million for increasing teacher salaries is drawing fire from the Washington Teachers' Union.

Washington Teachers' Union

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