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

Monday, March 12, 2012

B4K Ad Gets Tenure Wrong

You may have seen this ad on my blog:

Which is pretty funny when you remember this:

I don't control which ads come up, so maybe they can't control where their ads are placed. It's still pretty funny to me that they can place an ad on a blog Derrell Bradford has banned even mentioning on his Facebook page. Whatever...

Let's talk about the ad. "Make tenure a reward, not a guaranteed job for life."

The second phrase is wrong on several levels. 40% of new teachers in New Jersey do not earn tenure, and somewhere approaching 50% of all teachers drop out after five years; hardly a "guaranteed job for life." Further, we know many tenured teachers are counseled out when they receive poor performance reviews, and the firing rate for teachers compares favorably to other professions.

And - even though I've asked for it over and over again - no one has demonstrated that there are large numbers of "bad" teachers holding down student achievement. The fact that both high-performing and low-performing schools have teachers with tenure confirms that it is very likely not the culprit in schools where students do not perform as well.

But it's the first phrase that really gets me: B4K thinks tenure is a "reward." Like stock options, I guess, or a set of steak knives.

Tenure is not a reward to teachers; tenure is a protection for both teachers and taxpayers. It gives teachers the freedom to say things that administrators or even parents may find uncomfortable. It protects teachers from political interference in curricular decisions; I shudder to think what we would be teaching about evolution today without tenure. It allows teachers the ability to exercise their civil rights free from the worry of politically motivated retribution.

And it keeps every New Jersey school from becoming Joe DiVincenzo Elementary. Given our state's history, I find it amazing that anyone from New Jersey can't see the potential for an explosion in cronyism if tenure is removed (which is basically what the Ruiz bill does). If you think property taxes are bad now, wait until the schools are filled with political hacks.

I find it very telling that B4K thinks tenure is a "reward." Political bosses rule by doling out "rewards" to loyalists. Is that who will get tenure if the Ruiz bill passes - teachers who play the game and toe the line?

We've already seen what a politicized school board looks like in Elizabeth, and we've seen the results. Is this really what we want for the entire state?


Tim said...

You are the best! I was just thinking...
There are some who bemoan Obama' s ) "Hope and Change" but just love Cerf, Christie and Schulman' s
"Change and Hope" scheme. LOL

Keep it going Jazzman!


Duke said...

Nice turn of a phrase, tim. Thx.

Anonymous said...

If tenure isn't a reward as currently structured, (i.e.: incentive), than why so highly defended by the NJEA and you? Actually just you, the NJJEA seems quite amenable to revising it.

You keep reposting the same misstatements as if we all have dementia. You enjoy using Politifacts when it serves your purpose, as just last week, but forget to post the link that shows that only FOUR teachers have been fired for incompetence in ten years in the state of New Jersey. That is absolutely outrageous to our children, our taxpayers, our civilization -- everyone but to people with a financial interest like yourself.

Politifacts said Christie was "Mostly True" due to the fact that he got the overall number of certified teachers in the past ten years wrong, 150k instead of 114k. But they said:

""Christie said 17 teachers were dismissed, but the records show that nine individuals resigned through settlement agreements and another person resigned before an agreement was reached. The remaining seven individuals were dismissed from their positions by the commissioner or acting commissioner of education.
Also, the 17 individuals include a social worker, a facilities manager and a secretary."

That makes four. Four teachers dismissed due to incompetence in ten years due to the outrageous tenure system, a slap in the face to every child, parent and taxpayer in New Jersey.


....and despite your numbers about early exits and teachers counseled out, I'm thinking the incompetent types would hang on pretty hard to the job with outrageous healthcare, pension, and 180 days at the shop (minus all those teacher contract "personal/sick days",) rather than go work someplace that wants to see their faces 260 weekdaysper year minus ten federal holidays minus ten days vacation
(after a suitable period of employment).

But, you know, all musicians do great in the private sector, none struggle, so I'm sure your posts aren't influenced by desperate personal need. Dude.

Anonymous said...

That last anon commenter (almost certainly Rishawn Biddle of Dropout Nation) likes to point to statistics, then questions the blogger's statistics with "I'm thinking..." Guess what, Anon - your "thinking" isn't worth anything, because it's not backed by a single shred of evidence to back it up.

As for your other comments, the standard fare of a teacher-bashing reformer who has never taught a day.

Duke said...

Anon #1: so, if I use Politifact one time, I have to agree with everything they write? I agree with my wife quite often; does that mean I have to agree with her every time?

I've answered the fact on tenure you cite many times, and since you seem to be reading me closely enough to refer to what I wrote a week ago, I won't repeat myself. Same with the work stats.

You find me unpersuasive. That's fine, but I don't think much is to be gained from my simply repeating everything I already wrote. Perhaps you'd like to start your on blog?

Have a nice day.

NJParents1 said...

"But, you know, all musicians do great in the private sector, none struggle, so I'm sure your posts aren't influenced by desperate personal need. Dude."

This neanderthal attitude toward music education pretty much invalidates anything else you have to say about education in general. Dude.

You're implying that music is an unmarketable skill, and that therefore music teachers should be damn grateful to have a job at all. As a parent of three musical public-school kids, I am profoundly offended. Music educators have given my children perhaps the most valuable part of their education, teaching them the satisfaction derived from mastering something truly difficult, giving them the determination and skills they need to express themselves, not just in music, but in everything they do.

But I suspect you don't get any of that. You're too busy being condescending toward teachers and making stuff up to support your public ed-hating agenda.

Anonymous said...

I find the anti-tenure zealot to be very smugly offensive, snarky, sarcastic and sneering with his comments. I do not appreciate the personal attacks against Jazzman. He does not really know Jazzman and for him to imply that Jazzman would have a hard time in the private sector or the so called "real world" is totally without merit. Tenure is about 100 years old in NJ; without tenure, school boards would be dumping the older more expensive teachers like crazy, even the great older teachers.

Anonymous said...

If tenure is such a big problem, if tenure is such an unmitigated horror, HORROR, HORROR,I tells you, why do NJ schools always rate in the top tier of US schools and are number 1 in many areas? If NJ schools are supposedly so full of horrible and incompetent teachers, why do NJ schools perform so well and are always highly rated and are always in the top tier of US schools? Oh yeah, because Christie and the deformers are big fat liars and have a privatizing agenda which includes destroying tenure.

Anonymous said...

I think it is an interesting question as to whether an administrator -- now or soon to be held very accountable to performance -- is going to drop older expensive teachers in preference to younger inexpensive teachers.

The real problem is, of course, that teachers are paid by age, not performance. A veteran, experienced, high performing teacher should be compensated above norm for that, not the number of breaths he/she has accumulated since making tenure. A teacher with six or eight years experience who is high performing should be rewarded at the top of the scqale because they have been consistently high performing.

Then an administrator would be faced with the choice of cutting high performing or low performing teachers, not old or young. And his job will depend upon the overall performance of his teacher base.

This, by the way, is so patently obvious to everyone outside of the NJEA sheepeople that I regret wasting half a cup of coffeee typing it out.

NJParents1 said...

The notion that "performance" is something clear and quantifiable in a field like teaching is nonsense. I regret wasting half MY cup of coffee having to explain that children are not widgets, and you cannot measure their teachers' effectiveness in some simple, straightforward way, so you certainly ought not compensate them based on a definition of effectiveness devised by a committee of people appointed by politicians.

It's so frustrating to me as a parent to hear tenure being blamed for problems that are so clearly associated with poverty. As we all know, teachers in affluent school districts are just as tenured as teachers in poor ones, yet the kids in the affluent districts nearly always do better on tests, graduation rates, college admissions, etc. No one believes that, if we switched the faculties of the top and bottom schools in the state, student achievement would switch, too.

The assumption that those who oppose the absurdity of corporate education reform are "NJEA sheepeople" is insulting. Many, many parents want our kids' teachers to stop being maligned and vilified, because we recognize that, with few exceptions, they're doing their damnedest on behalf of our kids. We want the carpetbagging ed reformers to pack up their propaganda machines and go home, leaving parents, teachers and educators to work together on improving public education for all.

Going for more coffee now.

czarejs said...

Damn....I think someone just got as the kids say....pwned.

Anonymous said...

@NJParents1. The dreaded, demonized "ed reformers" are a fairly new actor on the scene -- no real voice until Christie.

The "parents, teachers and educators" have had decades to run Newark, Camden etc into among the worst AND among the most expensive public schools in America. Great combo.

In the urban areas it's time for something else. The system is broken. Building palaces didn't help. Pouring billions in didn't help.

Like it or not, your view is an old tired song, and urban parents and NJ taxpayers are going to have a great 2012 in the Legislature.

Golfer said...

You will have your time in the sun. I have no doubt the reform you seek (I honestly see it as destruction of the Public School system) is almost here. Your boss has out foxed and out maneuvered the opposition at every turn. Cerf has been a great ally for the agenda. You will have it your way.
BUT, the people of NJ will remember what they lost in the deal. They public schools will be weakened, especially the really good ones. And parents in the suburbs will abandon the public schools and seek refuge from the reform in private, religious and charter schools as planned. And after that, they will see that you won: they lost.

Duke said...

Well said, Golfer. Thx everyone for commenting - I really do appreciate it.

Deb said...

Cronyism is alive and well already - look at charter school Boards for example (appointed, not elected) and follow Joe D, Senator Ruiz, Shelley Skinner to just start the list. It would make a great one of the fabulous Jazzman flow charts (if you have not done it already -- please forgive me if you have!). The fight to eliminate tenure is at the university level as well and there are some truly frightening examples of what happens when due process is not ensured - faculty accused of a wrongdoing locked out of their offices and escorted off campus without prior notice, the right to a hearing, or even knowledge of the charges. It is like the wild west. It leaves carnage behind and the students suffer....it makes it very hard to want to practice my profession of training/choice while watching it be dismantled.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, again, Anon 1, Newark, Camden et.al. have been run by the STATE for the last twenty years. How have the "reforms" been working? Can't wait until they hit your local school, I'm sure you'll like them even more when they hit close to home.