Donna Brazile pens the most dishonest defense of teacher tenure in memory

posted at 12:01 pm on October 30, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

If you need a sign of the times which demonstrates that the Democrats are desperately trying to rally their hard core base in the closing days before the election, you need look no further than this incredible essay for CNN by Donkey Party strategist Donna Brazile. Titled, Don’t Abolish Teacher Tenure, Brazile launches into her lecture to all of you ugly Americans in a way which claims to prove that Americans really love the tenure system, and it’s just a few evil rich people who oppose it. She is, of course, responding to that Time magazine cover we discussed earlier this week.

These attacks on public education, educators and neighborhood schools have unfortunately become the norm. It’s gone too far. Enough is enough.

Due process policies such as tenure are put in place to protect good teachers from being fired without cause. They aren’t there to protect “bad” teachers. In fact, research from economist Jesse Rothstein suggests removing tenure might worsen educational outcomes because it would eliminate one of the major attractions to the profession. And since one of the biggest challenges in public education these days is teacher retention and recruitment, abolishing tenure could be incredibly harmful.

That’s a bold stance to take in defense of such a controversial (to be charitable) practice, but I pressed on, ready to hear her defense. But it may come as no surprise to most of you that the defense never materialized. The piece goes on for fourteen more mind numbing paragraphs and the word “tenure” never appears again. Instead, Brazile offers up a series of polls and generalities about how wonderful most parents think teachers are.

DPE conducted a poll with Harstad Strategic Research, a Colorado-based firm that worked on President Barack Obama’s historic 2008 election and 2012 re-election. The poll shows voters support public education in resoundingly large numbers. Roughly two thirds of Americans agree with traditionally Democratic positions when it comes to education…

Overall, 82% of voters able to rate their local teachers believe them to be excellent, very good or good. So, even though we’ve seen lawsuits from California to New York scapegoating “bad teachers,” the divisive views espoused by Campbell Brown and Michelle Rhee simply aren’t rooted in public opinion.

So while we started out on this journey allegedly talking about why tenure should not be abolished and how this is a winning issue for Democrats, we immediately swerved off to a poll showing that parents largely think that their children’s teachers are pretty nice people who take on the important job of educating our young people,

In the words of so many of the young people in question, allow me to say… Duh.

But since the author refused to address the core question which she herself brought up, allow me to take up the task. There actually has been recent polling done on the question of teacher tenure. It was conducted this summer by the Harvard Program on Education Policy, and the results will seem rather counterintuitive to those falling in line with Donna Brizile’s claims. People are opposed to teacher tenure by a two to one margin.

The public seems to agree that something needs to be done, and that is where tenure laws come in. Survey respondents favor ending tenure by a 2-to-1 ratio. By about the same ratio, the public also thinks that if tenure is awarded, it should be based in part on how well the teacher’s students perform in the classroom. Only 9% of the public agrees with current practice in most states, the policy of granting teachers tenure without taking student performance into account.

If you want Democrats to hit the trail this weekend, loudly and proudly defending the tenure system, please do. Really. Please.

This is just a common sense question. Even if we weren’t peppered with far too many stories about rubber rooms and pedophiles who remain on the taxpayer payroll for years on end, tenure would make essentially no sense. Brazile refers to tenure as a “due process policy” in the brief moment when she mentions it at all, but that description is simply nonsense. Every worker has the same due process under our laws. Teachers receive far more than that in a fashion which is essentially unique in the United States and it is abused mercilessly to the detriment of the parents, the schools and the children. And, to parrot Brazile’s own words, it’s gone too far. Enough is enough.


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Comments

Pander, Bare.

Joe Mama on October 30, 2014 at 12:04 PM

(D) Hacks being dishonest.

If you could see me right now, I would be showing you my shocked face.

Meople on October 30, 2014 at 12:05 PM

To think, Rich Galen actually defended this woman.

JimK on October 30, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Brazile has become a joke, sadly.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2014 at 12:11 PM

I’ve worked in academia and by and large the administrators and faculty are the most bigoted group that I’ve met. They will not tolerate a conservative or anyone else that might challenge their belief system.

The educational world will only get better when tenure is eliminated.

Special Forces Grunt on October 30, 2014 at 12:11 PM

You had me at “dishonest”

Sinner on October 30, 2014 at 12:13 PM

and it’s just a few evil rich (white old racist) people who oppose it.

She hates the poor black kids, who desperately need a good education.

Donna, your worst nightmare is upon you.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Unions love rules that say a union member can’t be fired for any reason.

Democrats need the “dues” money that unions coerce from their members (btw, what do you call a tax for having a job? Protection money?).

Therefore, Democrats will defend any law or rule which protect unions.

Anytime, anywhere.

Without the money from unions, the Democrat party would never win another national election nor many statewide elections.

It really is that simple.

Dolce Far Niente on October 30, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Donna Brazile’s nuts.

Flange on October 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Every worker has the same due process under our laws. Teachers receive far more than that …

That doesn’t make sense. Many workers are subject to “at will employment,” meaning they can be fired at any time with or without a reason — which doesn’t really indicate “due process” at all. Others actually are entitled to “due process” before they can be terminated.

J.S.K. on October 30, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Why they want Walker out.

Hopefully the good people of WI are smarter.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Like most of the elected Democrats, Brazile is bought, paid for, and nestled deep in the pockets of the utterly corrupt Teacher’s unions.

Those corrupt and intellectually bankrupt reprobates can’t answer questions about the dismal test scores of urban areas like NYC, LA, Chicago, etc without trying to play the race card in their efforts to defend the unions.

The teacher’s unions aren’t interested in providing better education.
They aren’t interested even in ensuring the best teachers are teaching our kids.

They are only interested in maximizing their membership (their dues revenues) and buying off corrupt Democrat politicians via their donations to advance their political advocacy to increase their wealth and power. Only the 1% (union leaders) benefit. Not the majority of the teachers, and none of the students.

Athos on October 30, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Donna Brazile’s nuts.

Flange on October 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Heh. I like it.

But you could simply address her as folks on the block might by simply using her first initial, which would make it …

… D’s nuts.

M240H on October 30, 2014 at 12:24 PM

No one should be guaranteed a job and if s/he fails, termination should be quickly available to any employer. Period.

According to the New York Times:

Critics of tenure laws argue that the process of removing teachers is overly cumbersome, and that too few teachers are fired each year on the basis of poor performance. They also take issue with rules requiring newly hired teachers to be laid off first, regardless of ability, in times of economic strain.

In New York, teacher tenure laws have long provoked controversy. A recent study by a Columbia University researcher found that from 1997 to 2007, just 12 teachers in New York City were dismissed for incompetence. And a 2008 report by the New York State School Boards Association found that disciplinary proceedings involving teachers accused of incompetence dragged on for an average of 830 days and cost an average of $313,000. (The report excluded cases from New York City.)

Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union, which filed a lawsuit challenging tenure laws in State Supreme Court on Staten Island this month, called the union’s memo “spin.” She said it ignored the fact that many lackluster teachers worked in high-poverty schools.

“The current system that is in place is not working,” Ms. Davids said.

And, with that, Donna Brazile, who is defending a system that harms minorities more than whites, Randi Weingarten…

…Albert Shanker…

‘When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.’

– Albert Shanker, one-time President of the AFT and the UFT

…Bob Chanin…

‘Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.

This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary. These are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.’

– National Education Association General Counsel, Bob Chanin, in his farewell address

…and their ilk can all just STFU and go straight to hell.

Resist We Much on October 30, 2014 at 12:28 PM

The Donkey party don’t want an intelligent electorate.
There would be far too few peeps to ever get a Jackass elected.

Closet Optimist on October 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Racist democrat fascist pens another hate tweet or article. Nothing to see here.

jukin3 on October 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Never, ever cared for this woman…..she’s as dishonest
as the day is long….yet, she’s viewed by many as this
Cultured, Learned Icon of Black America….

Sorry, can someone give me some evidence of that?

ToddPA on October 30, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Donna Brazile’s nuts.

Flange on October 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM

ISWYDT

Ward Cleaver on October 30, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Brazil nuts are big nuts.

This is for you, D-latrine-rats
, the HA slave in particular.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Why am I seeing more and more stories of teachers molesting students, or having “inappropriate relationships” with students? Are all the perverts going into the teaching profession? Or is it that universities and their degenerate professors have destroyed the consciences and morals?

Ward Cleaver on October 30, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Jazz: “So while we started out on this journey allegedly talking about why tenure should not be abolished and how this is a winning issue for Democrats, we immediately swerved off to a poll showing that parents largely think that their children’s teachers are pretty nice people who take on the important job of educating our young people,…”

This clumsy legerdemain cannot be any surprise to any observer of how Brazille ran the Gore campaign or her subsequent bromides as delivered on ABC’s This Week. Same thing as Susan Estrich of the Dukakis campaign.

We’ve yet to see a top-notch female campaign manager. Or female candidate for that matter.

Toocon on October 30, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Well, my wife is a Republican, and a conservative. NRA member. Stable influence on kids, who teaches them right from wrong.
She breaks her back teaching, in the ghetto. And the minute tenure is gone, now that the school system knows she’s conservative, she’ll be gone. Mark my words.
Tenure is abused, but the administrators are worse than any teacher. Just ask around.

EMSREPORTER on October 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM

In fact, research from economist Jesse Rothstein suggests removing tenure might worsen educational outcomes because it would eliminate one of the major attractions to the profession…

Or it might improve it by making the profession less attractive to shitty teachers.

Just saying.

Midas on October 30, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Six years in and blacks are still forced to send their kids to the same crappy schools in the same crappy neighborhoods.

Some…not many, but some…are finally catching on that it’s the fault of folks like Donna Brazile.

WhirledPeas on October 30, 2014 at 12:42 PM

The frank reality is that Brazile and many just like her have a shorter list of ‘honest’ things they’ve said – if you can find any – than their list of ‘dishonest’.

Midas on October 30, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Fat black Donna has never impressed me as being very smart. She can not help being fat and black, but there is no excuse for being stupid.

1sttofight on October 30, 2014 at 12:44 PM

These attacks on … neighborhood schools

What? Where? Does she even know what she’s saying? Schools aren’t specific to “neighborhoods”. Most of them encompass at least a mile radius for their students, and most outside of urban districts encompass several miles’ radius – you would be hard-pressed to call that a “neighborhood”.

GWB on October 30, 2014 at 12:44 PM

The last thing Brazile is HONESTY!

Too bad she didn’t address the “rubber rooms” in New York and California, where incompetent and accused child molester “teachers” spend their days getting paid for doing nothing while the gears slowly grind to get them FIRED! Under the current ‘system’, it takes YEARS!

GarandFan on October 30, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Brazil nuts are big nuts.

This is for you, D-latrine-rats, the HA slave in particular.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Speaking of Brasil, I’m reminded of the time when nonpartisan accused me of racism and xenophobia because I mocked the yellow and green outfit President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was wearing. He said that she was probably wearing those colours in honour of her national heritage and country’s flag.

You say ‘The Maldives’ and I say ‘The Malvinas’
You think Brasil and I think Argentina
Maldives, Malvinas, Brasil, Argentina.

Let’s call the whole thing off!

Resist We Much on October 30, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Tough job, it can be, but not all that tough for my boy’s teacher who tells them to read a chapter or two and then goes on Pinterest for an hour. We’ve complained with other parents, talked to the school admin, she denied it, school gave her “counseling” just in case, nothing changed. Pinterest all the time.

Pretty amazing that private charter schools without tenured teachers are cranking-out well-educated kids, obviously tenure isn’t necessary to keep good teachers.

Bishop on October 30, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Due process policies such as tenure are put in place to protect good teachers from being fired without cause. They aren’t there to protect “bad” teachers. In fact, research from economist Jesse Rothstein suggests removing tenure might worsen educational outcomes because it would eliminate one of the major attractions to the profession. And since one of the biggest challenges in public education these days is teacher retention and recruitment, abolishing tenure could be incredibly harmful.

I teach. She’s not correct. Good teachers have a lot less to fear than crappy ones should tenure go the way of the Dodo.

She left off what type of person that sometimes (usually?) gets attracted to the profession.

You know what would be a better way to retain teachers? Give us back some autonomy in the classroom, and go back to discipline policies that didn’t involve 75 “strikes” before one’s first “strike”. Oh, and drop Common Core and the idea that homework is passe.

RI_Red on October 30, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Sometimes facts are difficult to accept.

Just take this one fact…how many teachers, %, are fired each year for being poor employees?

If an employee doesn’t perform, they should be fired or demoted.

You are looking at less than 1% turnover (.016% in New York over a 10 year period), much less, what that means is that 99.9%+ of all the teachers are doing an acceptable job, 99.9%+ of all administrators are doing an acceptable job.

And the drop out rate is? Our math scores are? Comprehension is?

Even attempting to get the state to dismiss a teacher is prohibitively expensive and burdensome. According to the New York State School Boards Association, the average 3020-a proceeding for a single incompetent teacher extends for 830 days and costs taxpayers $313,000.
Over the 10-year period I studied (1997-2007), just 12 of New York City teachers (of whom there are 75,000 at any given time) were dismissed for incompetent teaching. Teachers who had years of “unsatisfactory” ratings; who were proven over months of hearings to be grossly incompetent; who were verbally and physically abusive to children, parents and colleagues, or who simply failed to come to work for days and weeks on end were returned to classrooms.

right2bright on October 30, 2014 at 12:48 PM

but there is no excuse for being stupid.

1sttofight on October 30, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Let’s be fair, there’s no good reason to be stupid, but there’s lots of excuses:
She was dropped on her head too many times as a child
She ate a lot of paint chips as a child
Her mother did a lot of drugs/alcohol when she was pregnant with her
Genetic abnormalities
Brain diseases
etc………..

GWB on October 30, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Fat black Donna has never impressed me as being very smart. She can not help being fat and black, but there is no excuse for being stupid.

1sttofight on October 30, 2014 at 12:44 PM

O_o

Can’t help being black?

o_O

Bishop on October 30, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Get rid of teacher unions and tenure. Watch the quality of the school system products shoot up.

Sure people love THEIR KIDS teacher. That teacher is not one of the ones playing solitaire all day in a building full of teachers that couldn’t be fired but are a liability in the classroom.

Democrats could so easily turn this into a way to get teachers better pay by freeing up the money in the budget that tenured bad teachers waste, but the unions would be unhappy. Even the teachers removed from classrooms pay union dues . . .

PastorJon on October 30, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Due process policies such as tenure are put in place to protect good teachers from being fired without cause

Good teachers do not get fired without cause. No good employee gets fired without cause, unless there’s rot at the top, which is a whole other issue.

rbj on October 30, 2014 at 12:50 PM

1sttofight on October 30, 2014 at 12:44 PM

O_o

Can’t help being black?

o_O

Bishop on October 30, 2014 at 12:49 PM

I cringed just a bit at that one…yeah I did….

ToddPA on October 30, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Fat black Donna has never impressed me as being very smart. She can not help being fat and black, but there is no excuse for being stupid.

1sttofight on October 30, 2014 at 12:44 PM

And you sound like a real genius.
I disagree with her here, but it’s asinine for your argument to be ‘she’s fat and dumb’.
The bad teachers you learned from are a good reason for tenure reform.

verbaluce on October 30, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Her organization just received $25,000 from NEA’s SuperPAC.

Mike Antonucci on October 30, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Due process policies such as tenure are put in place to protect good teachers from being fired without cause

Tenure isn’t the only option to protect good teachers from being fired without cause – but it is the only way bad teachers can avoid dismissal.

verbaluce on October 30, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Cultured, Learned Icon of Black America….

ToddPA on October 30, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Its the voice. I wish she could read me bedtime stories while I drink hot cocoa. Its so soothing. But obviously she uses her power for evil.

magicbeans on October 30, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Due process policies such as tenure are put in place to protect good teachers from being fired without cause

Tenure isn’t the only option to protect good teachers from being fired without cause – but it is the only way bad teachers can avoid dismissal.

verbaluce on October 30, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Quite possibly, the best post I’ve ever read from you….

Your Cerebrum just about had a Stroke from that momentary bout
of well reasoned, conservative thought pattern??

ToddPA on October 30, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Last week Donna Brazile said, “Voter fraud is a big @$$ lie.”

If anyonbe would know about big @$$es, it would be Donna.

bw222 on October 30, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Schools aren’t specific to “neighborhoods”. Most of them encompass at least a mile radius for their students, and most outside of urban districts encompass several miles’ radius – you would be hard-pressed to call that a “neighborhood”.

GWB on October 30, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Neighborhood schools is a common term, used to distinguish public schools that are required to take all children living within specified boundaries, as compared to charter schools or selective-admission public schools for which the parent has to actively seek to enroll their child and/or the school has some ability to choose which students it will take.

I haven’t heard of anyone attacking “neighborhood schools” as Donna B. claims. But some people think that the existence of any alternative to a neighborhood school is an attack on neighborhood schools, since it means that the neighborhood schools won’t receive all the education funding. (Of course, in reality, if neighborhood schools don’t enroll 100% of the children, they don’t need 100% of the education funding.)

J.S.K. on October 30, 2014 at 1:13 PM

This is just a common sense question.

There’s the problem!

Shy Guy on October 30, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Nobody wants to fire good teachers.

myiq2xu on October 30, 2014 at 1:15 PM

It seems anyone with half a brain cell would immediately recognize the gigant holes in her logic. If 82% of parents rate their kids teachers as excellent, very good, or good; that is 18% that would like their kids teachers to be let go despite tenure. As Jazz said, duh. And while only 18% rate their teachers low, majority of people would like those 18% to be able to be fired. It’s like her article makes this more clear and argues against her point.

That said, the school system is extremely political and I can see how teachers get hired and fired based on cliches more than merit, but it’s not like tenure solves this, it just creates different problems. Local control is really best, not perfect, but closest to it.

rose-of-sharon on October 30, 2014 at 1:26 PM

The poll shows voters support public education in resoundingly large numbers.

Then one wonders why Democrats don’t want parents to have the freedom to choose it, or not.

RadClown on October 30, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Cliques not cliches

rose-of-sharon on October 30, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Apparently before tenure, bad teachers and crappy administrators stayed in the system and good teachers were fired for no reason.

Now, with tenure, bad teachers and crappy administrators stay in the system and good teachers leave out of sheer frustration.

Tenure = rationale for keeping public employee unions in place = maximizing dues collection-> power and money for union elite = largest source of campaign cash for Democratix

Wow, it’s like math or science or something.

Dolce Far Niente on October 30, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Due process policies such as tenure are put in place to protect good teachers from being fired without cause. They aren’t there to protect “bad” teachers.

The problem with tenure (at least in my state – where tenure is created by statute) is that tenure for teachers creates a far, far higher burden to discipline/fire than any other civil servant or union worker faces.

typically, for union employees, the burden is “just cause” and progressive discipline (i.e., is the discipline appropriate for the misconduct / was the employee given a chance to improve his performance). The burden of proving the misconduct and/or poor performance at a hearing or arbitration is usually preponderance of the evidence, which is much lower than “beyond reasonable doubt” required in a criminal trial.

With teachers, while the phrase “just cause” is still usually used, the state agency overseeing the hearings and the courts have made the burden for both proving misconduct or poor performance higher, but have basically said that anything short of murder and it does not justify termination.

so, it is both more difficult to prove a case against a teacher for misconduct or poor performance than it is against any other type of employee, but having the hearing officer/court sustain discipline is nearly impossible.

Nobody has ever put forth a valid, fact-based argument as to why K-12 teachers need greater job protection than any other employee.

As I’ve pointed out before, the tenure system was created to protect college professors who engage in unpopular research or publish unpopular opinions. the idea behind tenure for college professors was to further academic research, which required allowing people to pursue unpopular opinions, etc. (think researching evolution / publishing in support of evolution theory in 1920).

K-12 teachers have never been academic researchers or publishers in this way. Thus, no need for extra protection.

Some people argue the b.s. that teachers are more prone to cronyism or ideological threats than other positions, but that is nonsense with no factual support. Why would teachers be more prone to that then anyone else working in gov’t?

the bottom line is that teachers should have no greater job security than any other employee.

Now, I’d argue that gov’t workers as a whole have far too great job protection, but that is another argument.

Monkeytoe on October 30, 2014 at 1:41 PM

J.S.K. on October 30, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Ah, I see. So, they use an imprecise and incorrect term to argue that their control of the system which teaches our children logic and language should continue. Masterful, that. (I homeschooled, btw.)

GWB on October 30, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Why would “good” teachers be fired without cause?

Cindy Munford on October 30, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Wasn’t tenure originally for college professors who are required to publish and sometimes what they published was controversial? There is zero reason to grant tenure to public school teachers K-12.

Cindy Munford on October 30, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Your Cerebrum just about had a Stroke from that momentary bout
of well reasoned, conservative thought pattern??

ToddPA on October 30, 2014 at 1:09 PM

I’m not dogmatic…I’m just drawn that way.

I’m not against some form of tenure…or some system that offers some of those benefits to deserving teachers.
Teachers are as frustrated by this as parents…having to work alongside these bad apples. And they’re also not fans of stuff like LIFO.
Brazille’s position and argument is as stubborn as ones held by many on the right.
Then there’s the middle…where you usually find the sense.
Don’t forget who it was that reformed Welfare…

verbaluce on October 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

I remember Donna being asked a couple of months before the 2008 election who she was going to vote for. Her response was that she hadn’t made up her mind. Black, female, Democrat. I wonder, who did she end up voting for? Twice.

HiJack on October 30, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Why would “good” teachers be fired without cause?

Cindy Munford on October 30, 2014 at 1:49 PM

And there are ways to offer protection from that. It doesn’t require a tenure system.

verbaluce on October 30, 2014 at 1:56 PM

She should find some other type of work. Donna fatigue has set in.

Amazingoly on October 30, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Much of the problem goes beyond tenure, with the impact that teachers’ unions have. I talked to a veteran teacher once, who had been a state official in the teachers’ union. She worked at a high school and was, in essence, the union steward at the school. I made a comment about teachers not being able to be fired or disciplined. She related a story of how there was a young, female teacher at her school, who was new, and she came to the school not dressed appropriately. Well, the principal came to her to counsel the young teacher on appropriate dress. So, the principal could not do it, a union steward had to do it. this story did not make me feel any better about things.

Techster64 on October 30, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Don’t forget who it was that reformed Welfare…

verbaluce on October 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

the republican congress? That forced it on Bill Clinton?

the idea that the middle is the repository of good sense is nonsense as well. it all depends on how you define “middle”. Middle can be defined in all kinds of ways.

Saying the “middle” has common sense is akin to saying that “bi-partisanship” is good. It has no meaning. bi-partisanship is not a good onto itself. It is only good if it gets good results. And, that varies depending on who you ask.

Moreover, “bi-partisanship” is also defined according to whim. When the dems pass something with one lone republican vote – it is a huge bi-partisan victory.

When republicans pass something with 20 dem votes, it is a partisan, party-line vote.

Monkeytoe on October 30, 2014 at 2:16 PM

verbaluce on October 30, 2014 at 1:56 PM

I agree. And considering the overall performance of our schools far to many teachers are being kept. Not that I totally blame them, parents aren’t helping either.

Cindy Munford on October 30, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Never, ever cared for this woman…..she’s as dishonest
as the day is long….yet, she’s viewed by many as this
Cultured, Learned Icon of Black America….

Sorry, can someone give me some evidence of that?

ToddPA on October 30, 2014 at 12:32 PM

She’s another individual who apparently went through some sort of investiture ceremony and is now treated as a all-seeing, all-knowing sage on politics, the economy and society in general despite a clear lack of evidence for such a pedestal.

It’s one thing to favor the usual Democrat constituent groups, quite another to have nothing but a stream of cliches to offer.

And wasn’t she the Dem operative who planted a 100% false story about GHWB41 having an extramarital affair? In some quarters she is treated as a shrewd political operative for this desperate, dirty tactic.

jangle12 on October 30, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Why would “good” teachers be fired without cause?

Cindy Munford on October 30, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Well, if you were a conservative in a liberal environment, you could be a good teacher, but be fired.

Good employees are fired all the time without “cause”, just because.

But I don’t think the teachers would be in that position, because it is a quasi-public position…they have parents as advocates. That balances out impulsive irresponsible actions like firing someone without cause.

Far more “bad” teachers are in the system now, than “good” teachers would be excused if the tenure and union system was eliminated.

right2bright on October 30, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Good employees are fired all the time without “cause”, just because.

right2bright on October 30, 2014 at 3:03 PM

While I’m sure it happens (fired as opposed to laid off because the company/gov’t downsizes), I doubt it is that prevalent. What employer wants to let a good employee go?

Sure, there are times when there are personality clashes, and a boss lets a good employee go, or things of that nature. So yeah, it happens. But, I doubt very much that there are a ton of good employees being fired willy nilly for no reason. That is a huge union myth.

Plus, who defines whether or not the employee was “good”? For instance, a union would define “good” as fulfilling the bare minimum requirements of the job and not getting into “too much” trouble (i.e., not to many missed work-days, not too much tardiness, not too much insubordination).

Monkeytoe on October 30, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Tenure is bad. Teacher’s early retirement is SATAN.

skywalkr2 on October 30, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Brazile is a political hack and what she has to say about anything outside of politics should be dismissed summarily.

FireBlogger on October 30, 2014 at 3:14 PM

That doesn’t make sense. Many workers are subject to “at will employment,” meaning they can be fired at any time with or without a reason — which doesn’t really indicate “due process” at all. Others actually are entitled to “due process” before they can be terminated.

J.S.K. on October 30, 2014 at 12:16 PM

I’ll agree everyone IS entitled to due process of termination that’s why we have wrongful termination lawsuits that can be filed by anyone for any termination…even in an ‘at will’ state.

Von Kleist on October 30, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Defenders of tenure should be made to explain why the practice should exist for educators, and not for other professions.

flipflop on October 30, 2014 at 3:57 PM

I watched her on MTP too many times to take her seriously – predicable as the tides.
Got to the point I’d listen to the subject/question, pause the DVR and speak her reply to the people in the room.
Then, we’d listen to her reply.
My accuracy was about 90%.

Tard on October 30, 2014 at 4:10 PM

To those who talk about “rubber rooms” and “bad teachers” you should realize that students make fake accusations all the time. And of course, the little angels wouldn’t lie, so we need to lock the teacher up. As for bad teachers, here in NYS, teachers are asked to take developmentally disabled kids and make them pass the Regents. That’s impossible, especially when you have 30 plus in a class.
That’s impossible when their parent P A R E N T not parents, have never read to them. They’re fed sugar water for breakfast, think curse words are punctuation, and have names that are totally made up.

That’s the truth. It’s a tough, tough job in the city, and in the suburbs, the arshole parents are lawyers who think all their kids are going to Harvard and deserve A’s.

Based on my long life, knowing teachers and many other professionals, I’d say the only job tougher is corrections officer. But there’s no critique of corrections officers getting retirement after 20 years. There’s not critique of bankers who keep their jobs when their banks fail. There’s no critique of all kinds of other workers. ALL the critique of teachers is outright jealousy, because they get their summers off.

I’m in the suburbs of NYC, White Plains, to be specific. I personally know people who work 9-5 in Manhattan in the fashion industry and make 2-3 hundred thousand dollars a year. This is for selling clothes and makeup. I personally know salesmen making 500 K for selling people crap they don’t need.

But no, a teacher gets the summer to recover from taking it in the ars all year from parents, kids and the administration of schools and all you guys can talk about is taking away tenure. If you really want good teachers, get on the board of ed, and participate in hiring. If you want good teachers, have your district recruit from the private sector.

It’s all Monday morning quarterbacking. Yes, there are incompetent teachers, and they have tenure. It’s not just teachers. We have a joke in the court system:

What do you call a doctor who graduates last in his class? Doctor.

Bad doctors kill. They usually get sued. Bad teachers should be gotten rid of. So should bad cops, and bad politicians. If you wish to get rid of tenure, teachers should make as much or more money than someone in marketing or sales. They build a foundation for our children, and the only perks they get are summer and tenure. Don’t forget for the years before tenure, they routinely get terminated for not wearing heels and shaking it in front of their principals or for demanding a kid behave with respect. They have to eat a shut sandwich for at least 3 years before tenure. It’s a forked up system but just getting rid of tenure without private sector type pay is unfair, which means nothing to most people, but it is unfair.

Get rid of tenure. Get rid of pensions for public servants, wait 30 years and see who you get in those jobs. Hell, most teachers I know could work on Wall Street. They chose to help kids. Same with many of the cops I know, and firemen. They chose public service, and yeah, they like the perks but it’s not so simple as throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

EMSREPORTER on October 30, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Sometimes facts are difficult to accept.

Just take this one fact…how many teachers, %, are fired each year for being poor employees?

If an employee doesn’t perform, they should be fired or demoted.

You are looking at less than 1% turnover (.016% in New York over a 10 year period), much less, what that means is that 99.9%+ of all the teachers are doing an acceptable job, 99.9%+ of all administrators are doing an acceptable job.

And the drop out rate is? Our math scores are? Comprehension is?

Even attempting to get the state to dismiss a teacher is prohibitively expensive and burdensome. According to the New York State School Boards Association, the average 3020-a proceeding for a single incompetent teacher extends for 830 days and costs taxpayers $313,000.
Over the 10-year period I studied (1997-2007), just 12 of New York City teachers (of whom there are 75,000 at any given time) were dismissed for incompetent teaching. Teachers who had years of “unsatisfactory” ratings; who were proven over months of hearings to be grossly incompetent; who were verbally and physically abusive to children, parents and colleagues, or who simply failed to come to work for days and weeks on end were returned to classrooms.

right2bright on October 30, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Sure, but incompetence in that profession is difficult to prove (not impossible, just not easy to correlate hard and fast data). Some teachers simply end up with lousy classes of holy terrors that are dumber than a box of rocks. Some truly incompetent teachers get the cream of the crop that will go on to college anyway.

Test scores include the Christmas Tree Club and in many areas kids that aren’t yet familiar with the English language. Then there’s the lowering of the bar so as not too fail too many kids.

Also, I have yet to see any national testing data that points to any improvements since high-stakes testing gained steam 25 years ago. And, in that time we have also seen a dramatic increase in homeschooling, charter schools and magnet schools.

Same old, same old.

Our society is just plain broken. And I fervently maintain that as (electronic/digital) technology has become easier to work and more pervasive, we’ve become virtual zoned out zombies. The effects of the “boob tube” starting back in the ’50s has been well-documented. Remember the alarm bells that went off when Sputnik was launched?

And this country spent millions in the early ’60s in inviting scientists to revamp science textbooks and curriculum, some of it (as in biology) based upon ability grouping. These were (are) wonderful texts. But it wasn’t too long before the “everyone’s a winner” crowd said ability grouping and vocational alternatives for the less academically inclined was SOCIAL INJUSTICE and that these poor souls would be STIGMATIZED FOR LIFE because they were in a consumer math or fundamentals of biology class or a shop class, etc.

Oh, and bad teachers? To many here, their best teachers were the ones who let them sleep and chat ever day in class, flirted with the cheerleaders, talked sports with the jocks, told jokes, etc. but still gave them A’s and B’s for not doing much of anything.

I don’t trust the average American’s definition of what a “good” teacher is.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 30, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Then there’s the middle…where you usually find the sense.

verbaluce on October 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Not really. Most folks “in the middle” are simply ill-informed.

Don’t forget who it was that reformed Welfare…

verbaluce on October 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Yeah, Newt Gingrich.

GWB on October 30, 2014 at 4:42 PM

There’s not critique of bankers who keep their jobs when their banks fail. There’s no critique of all kinds of other workers.

EMSREPORTER on October 30, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Oh, bullhockey.

ALL the critique of teachers is outright jealousy, because they get their summers off.

Bullhockey AND FU.

a teacher gets the summer to recover from taking it in the ars all year from parents, kids and the administration of schools

The sheer ignorance of that statement is pretty indicative of every other morsel in your little rant.

GWB on October 30, 2014 at 4:48 PM

In fact, research from economist Jesse Rothstein suggests removing tenure might worsen educational outcomes because it would eliminate one of the major attractions to the profession…

Or it might improve it by making the profession less attractive to shitty teachers.

Just saying.

Midas on October 30, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Why not follow the practices of the educators themselves when they implement a NEW TEACHING TECHNIQUE or previously untried curriculum. They do it to find out if it works, even if it doesn’t work it remains in place until some new hair-brained method replaces it. Kinda like…”We have to pass it to find out what’s in it!”.

Get rid of tenure and see what happens until it is replace with something else.

belad on October 30, 2014 at 5:06 PM

A tenured teacher losing their job is not much different than a postal worker losing theres. Funny how the work ethic is also about the same. Even better, they show up around 8:00, the schools are a ghost town by 3:30, 10 weeks off every summer, and about 15 of their 180 work days are actually half days over by 12:15. You be the judge on weather or not this is a good thing.

nikophil on October 30, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Brazile has become a joke, sadly.

Schadenfreude on October 30, 2014 at 12:11 PM

She has been for some time.

monster_man on October 30, 2014 at 7:44 PM

EMSREPORTER on October 30, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Lighten up, Francis. I’m 20 minutes north of you and I see the same Wall St. Guys and salespeople making more money than I will ever see in my life. You know why? Because they PRODUCE. Being the 18th best salesman in the office means you don’t come back to work tomorrow. When the South Korean sales office and the Albanian sales office and the Polish sales office routinely trounce you, you get downsized right out of a job. They also have to contribute to their own 401-K and usually pay about 25% of their own health insurance. Not to mention they work 70+ more days.

Admittedly, tenure isn’t the only problem with public schools, but getting rid of it is a good start. There’s no reason our tax dollars need to subsidize the comfy retirement of a pedophile or a teacher with anger management issues.

Maddie on October 30, 2014 at 11:41 PM

The thing about Brazile is that she really doesn’t have views, just positions that she takes, for the Clintons.

I’m just struggling here to see the connection between her defense of the indefensible tenured incompetents and the benefit of that to Hillary.

It’s possible she’s not working for the Clintons any more but, that would be a first for her.

virgo on October 31, 2014 at 1:11 AM

Brazile is just a left-wing mouthpiece with little substance.

The fact is that tenure keeps schools from getting better by keeping incompetents in jobs that should be given to better teachers. It’s effectively a policy which attracts and promotes the worst and dullest instead of the best and brightest.

Can you name ONE successful private company which gives its employees tenure?

GE (for instance) has a policy of regularly firing those whose performance is rated in the bottom 15%. Can you imagine what tenure would have done to that company?

landlines on October 31, 2014 at 11:44 AM

“Due process policies such as tenure are put in place to protect good teachers from being fired without cause. They aren’t there to protect “bad” teachers.”
But tenure DOES protect bad teachers. Good teachers don’t need protecting, just as any good employee doesn’t need protecting. I never feared losing my job and didn’t need tenure rules to protect me.
The rules that kept bad employees at my job were federal anti-discrimination laws. If a bad employee is non-white and female, it is almost impossible to get rid of them.

beemr8509 on November 3, 2014 at 1:02 PM