Thursday, April 28, 2011

LAE Chastises Chas Roemer’s Push To Abolish Teacher Tenure

Statements Regarding Tenure Are An Inaccurate Portrayal of Teacher Due Process Rights

The Louisiana Association of Educators rejects Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) member Chas Roemer’s recent statements pushing for an abolishment of teacher tenure.

“Tenure is not the guarantee of a job for life,” says LAE President Joyce Haynes. “Tenure is simply a right to due process and provides job security for teachers who have successfully completed a rigorous and closely monitored process.”

Roemer sent letters to all BESE members and state lawmakers last week, asking for a written pledge that they will work to end teacher tenure. Roemer is pushing for a plan to eliminate tenure, fire thousands of teachers, and give a merit raise only to the top 25 percent of public school teachers in the state. LAE believes that Roemer is on the wrong track. His belief that education is a simple world of just two variables diminishes the complexities of all schools and undermines the craft of teaching in the midst of a multi-variant system.

Roemer should have asked LAE leaders or Louisiana teachers the question, “Why tenure?” Any teacher in the state would have told him that tenure simply guarantees a process of just dismissal; protection from false allegations of wrongdoing; and coercive education practices such as grade altering, as well as protection from political reprisals. This last point is important because Roemer’s missive to eliminate teacher tenure was a political campaign piece paid for by his campaign fund.

We believe - and Roemer seems to agree - that the vast majority of teachers are high quality. He has proven to under appreciate teachers and their craft. As a BESE member, Roemer has never advocated for even an increase in the MFP during his entire tenure on the board.

We challenge Roemer’s proposal to punish thousands of hardworking teachers in Louisiana in order to capture nearly $115 million in salaries only to redistribute this money to the top 25 percent.

In a 2008 Time Magazine article, M.J. Stephy wrote, “Abolishing tenure doesn't address problems of underfunding, overcrowding or improving students' home environments.” LAE agrees.

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