June 10, 2014
As educators committed to ensuring the best education possible for our students, we are deeply troubled by this court ruling. This decision is predicated on the notion that firing teachers is the way to achieve academic excellence and ending inequality in our schools. If this were the case, then those states where seniority and due process rights don’t exist for teachers would be models of academic achievement and equity and yet the plaintiffs would be hard pressed to make that case.
We know what works in our schools. It is no mystery. There are schools and districts where teachers work collaboratively, where teachers and administrators work together and where struggling teachers get the help they need to improve.
Unfortunately this court case and decision, funded by wealthy individuals, adds to the anti-teacher and anti-teacher union narrative popular among those forces looking to get their hands on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually on public education. Their agenda has not resonated with parents and the public who understand that teachers are one element among many shaping academic performance.
At a time when keeping teachers in the profession has become the real problem—when most new teachers leave within the first five years—this wrong-headed court ruling will serve to discourage people from going into this important profession. Our students are the real victims of this court ruling no matter the rhetoric coming from the other side.