Lew Leone is the vice president and general manager of WNYW-FOX 5. He is taking to the airwaves with his thoughts on current affairs. It's called "Lew's View." The views expressed are not necessarily those of the station or its employees.---
In this commentary, Mr. Leone talks about teacher tenure reform.
You may have heard about the recent court decision in California in which teacher tenure laws were ruled unconstitutional. Here is a quote from the judge:
"The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience. There is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms. Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this Court that the (challenged laws) disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students."
It was an ingenious way to challenge antiquated tenure rules, and now the same tactics will be used by education reformers around the county. Here in New York State the effort is being led by Campbell Brown who has formed a group called Partnership for Educational Justice and it touched a nerve with Bill de Blasio. Because in reality his new long-term deal with the teachers' union did nothing to help the problem.
The way it works now teachers are rewarded with tenure after only three years on the job. It is like hitting the lottery because it essentially guarantees a job and generous benefits for life regardless of performance.
The system desperately needs reform. Tenure laws need to change in four basic ways. First of all, tenure should not be granted until at least five years on the job. It should not be granted for life; there should be some type of renewal process with a formal review. We have to make it easier for principals to manage ineffective teachers out of the schools. And finally, if there are layoffs they should not be done on a last in, first out basis.
I urge you to support the efforts of Campbell Brown and the Partnership for Educational Justice.