And It Can Happen Again, Even After The First Two Years….

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lopez2-2009aug02,0,1335910.column

Everything in this piece rings true – except it left out some important details which further emphasize Ms. Requa’s dilemma.  Susan could go through this again in another school district. Example: Susan decides to move to the bay area in five years.  Susan takes a job in a new school district. Her tenure from LAUSD  is not ‘portable’ so she starts at ground zero – again.  She could go through what is happening right now.  Some teachers want to leave a district when a new principal comes to their school or a new mandate in the district or the school became reconstituted as it did not meet test score improvements. What ever the reason, teachers should be able to move about just like the geeks in Silicon Valley.

The punishment of tenure is having to prove it over and over any time you move or make a life change which involves a new school district.  In order for education reform to take hold, teachers also need to be allowed to have a life and not be stuck in one school district their whole lives – they need the flexibility to move as their life trajectory changes.  Arne Duncan needs to explore not just how teachers are evaluated but making tenure portable.

The teachers with ‘tenure’ – that is part of why they stick around forever –  might not hack it some place else.  Being the new kid on the block can be (and often is) horrible and demoralizing as many experienced teachers have a ‘med school internship’ attittude.  It was hell when I started 15 years ago so it is going to be hell for you.  Just cope up.  In the same way it does not work for doctors, it does not work for teachers.  The turnover rate with teaching is even higher when a young, tenured teacher changes schools and has to go through the drama/show/program for tenure again. 

As an experienced teacher who has had the opportunity to travel and live all over the world, it is horrific to go through the process of obtaining tenure AGAIN at a new school.  I wish Ms. Requa the best of luck as it sounds as though her students are benefitting tremendously from her.  I wish Susan the fortitude to understand the stupidity of tenure, pink slips and the seniority flaw with teacher unions.

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