I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tenure - Not Just For Teachers Anymore

Is there ANYBODY this guy isn't pissing off?
The seven-member Judiciary Advisory Panel, formed in 2006 to advise the governor in the selection of state justices and justices, resigned en-mass Wednesday over Gov. Chris Christie’s decision not to reappoint Justice John Wallace to the Supreme Court.
The panel includes four former Supreme Court justices and a semi-retired Superior Court judge... 
In early May, Poritz criticized Christie's decision not to reappoint Wallace.  "By doing this through the tenure process, I think the governor sends a different signal (to judges),'' she said. "The signal is be careful how you carry out your task of judging because that may affect whether you get tenure or not. And that affects the independence of the judiciary." 
Poritz made the comment shortly after sitting Chief Justice Stuart Rabner sent a letter to over 400 state judges, urging them not to let fear of not being reappointed to the bench cloud their court decisions. 
This is, of course, exactly right, and it should apply to teachers as well.

How is a teacher supposed to write a candid report about the son of a school board member without some sort of assurance that there won't be repercussions later? How can they argue for what they think is in the best interests of a child - even if it is contrary to the administrator they report to - if they don't have some level of protection?

And how will they ever be free to excise their civil right to participate in our political system if they know those politics will follow them to work?

Do I think tenure should be a protection against incompetence? Hell, no - no one does. No one wants incompetent teachers gone more than good teachers. I'm all for reforming the process by which bad teachers are identified and fired.

But tenure is not just teacher protection; it is child protection, and it is school protection. It is the last firewall that keeps politics out of the classroom. Take it away, and teaching positions will soon become political patronage jobs.

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