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Patch's Poll: Will Tenure System Changes Improve Education?

The governor's plan is under fire from teachers, who say they are being blamed for problems out of their control.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been , and most of the reaction has centered on his proposed changes to the long-standing teacher tenure system in Connecticut.

Under Malloy's plan, teacher tenure would be tied to evaluations and student performance, and would have to be re-earned on a regular basis.

"This is the evaluation system that the teachers' unions negotiated through a two-year process," Malloy said earlier this month at a forum in West Hartford. Connecticut, according to the governor, will rely on standardized tests as a measure to a much lesser degree than many other states do. "Should we just maintain the status quo?" he asked.

Teachers have reacted strongly to the plan, saying their job security shouldn't be tied to student test performance, which can be affected by poverty or other factors outside their control.

What do you think? Take our Patch poll and add your thoughts to the comments.

farm guy March 25, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Donald, China has the highest teenage suicide rate as well. They also don't have the SPED laws we have and they also only teach the brightest beyond 8th grade. If we did that we would be right up there at the top as well.
farm guy March 25, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Administrators need to do their job and either get lousy teachers help to improve performance of fire them. Tenure does not impede either one of these regardless of what people think.
farm guy March 25, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I'd like to hold a forum for the misinformed public without politicians or School administrators in attendance, just teachers and tax payers. It would be an eye opener for many people.
Max March 25, 2012 at 03:44 PM
William, yes Finland comes to mind. The USA political system has done more to confuse than to clarify. Our governor is rather low on understanding and high on picking up a hammer to cut a board. But this is generally true of politicians. Charter schools, on the basis of dubious standardized tests (those in power seem to hold as gospel) have been frequently outperformed by Public Schools. But like all problems this one should not stop at comparisons; but at purpose. Why do we send youngsters to school? Is the purpose of "education" to prepare one for a job; i.e., produce workers? What kind of economics needs these human "products"? Or is there more to it? When can learning occur and where? Should it be in buildings as we have for nearly two centuries? Or should there be community learning that may or may not take place in a central structure? Should we be challenging both "sides of the brain" rather than focusing on logic and math for the "hard" sciences, engineering, etc.; i.e., should creativity be just as important (not simply in conventional ways, but in a host of developmental ways)? Teachers, in my opinion, are for the most part doing with significant competency the job they're paid to do. I challenge all of us to think about whether that job is the right one. We need proficiency in doing what really matters when we think about the totality of the quality of life...not the narrowed scope of a job or test score.
Denise March 25, 2012 at 04:25 PM
In reference to Farm GUYS comment of -I'd like to hold a forum for the misinformed public without politicians or School administrators in attendance, just teachers and tax payers. It would be an eye opener for many people." I BELIEVE ...... This is a terrific idea and should be done as a group of area towns or individual towns! I believe there would be a huge attendance. We don't often get to hear directly from the teachers, the ones working directly with our children.
constance stripling March 25, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Thanks farm guy. You have hit the nail on the head consistently. You are obviously informed on what passing bill # 24 really means for teachers, students and public schools. Malloy, the Education Gov., is undermining teachers and students by throwing his support to charters while throwing the public under the perverbial bus. All in the name of the unholy dollar.
Donald Vail March 25, 2012 at 05:08 PM
This is an easy answer, inclusion isn't always helpful. Dyslexics need to learn by different means. A heterogenous classroom is a disservice to all. Magnet schools are for a specific specialized curriculum. Why not for children with languaged based learning disabilities? These kids are intelligent, just learn differently. Approximately 20% of the population has been identified as having some degree of dyslexia. Approximately 80% of the prison population is functionally illiterate. We could do the math here very easily. The trouble starts when ability does not match performance. Better to spend on education than the judicial and penal system. And on and on....
William March 25, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Last call to stop the SB24 train wreck- The Legislature is scheduled to vote on it tomorrow. Contact your reps by email or phone and let them know how you feel about the Governor's attempt to discredit all teachers, not just the few bad ones, and bust their union so he can advance his political career. And if you are one who buys Malloy's pitch, by all means contact your reps and insist they punish teachers by stripping them of their dignity and livelihoods. While you are at it, maybe you can contact your Senators and Congressmen and demand they cut salary, benefits and programs for those good for nothing soldiers in Afghanistan who aren't mopping up the Taliban fast enough.
Donald Vail March 25, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Patch should require bloggers to enter their real name. Some comments are just plain irresponsible. It's easy to comment anything you like without your name attached to it.
Jay March 25, 2012 at 10:39 PM
And have a teacher stick it to the child of a poster ?
William March 26, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Did I offend you Mr. Vail? I'm sorry. I was simply implying that Malloy is misguided in attacking the foot soldiers in the education wars. Jay, as a retired teacher I can assure you that teachers would never harm a student as retribution for comments made by a parent in a public forum. Teachers go into the profession to help kids, not harm them. We get our joy from smiles, not tears. That's all SB24 does...
William March 26, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Please ignore the final line above. I meant to delete it, but it was hiding outside the text window of my iPad.
William March 26, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Mr. Vail, You must realize that heterogeneous grouping and mainstreaming is a cost cutting measure used to save money. Homogeneous grouping will concentrate the low and require additional teachers in the classroom, thus more salaries and more benefits. Also, mainstreaming means low paid 'tutors' can be hired to shadow and assist low students, and this is far less expensive than having these students in dedicated classrooms with highly trained, and expensive, SPED teachers. Savvy administrators, like ours in Groton, have figured out that "the least restrictive environment" is the way to save money, regardless if it is what is in the child's best interest. So, yes, heterogeneous grouping is part of the problem.
Rick McDonald March 26, 2012 at 01:10 PM
And how many of those annual evaluations after tenure are more than just paperwork? I believe very few are actual evaluations
Rick McDonald March 26, 2012 at 01:22 PM
William, it is just not possible for you to make such an assurance about every single teacher even if you personnally knew ever teacher. I have personal experience of just such retailiation.
BJ March 26, 2012 at 01:45 PM
William: I have to agree with Richard. There are petty people in every profession. I have seen plenty of petty teachers; I have seen retribution AND reward based on the personal opinions of teachers toward students (based on things far "pettier" than a parent's public comment).
Jay March 26, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Many centuries ago I was awarded a scholarship as the result of taking several tests (another state. A teacher complained that I should not get it because I did not "deserve: it - one of her favorites did.... The system is like any other staffed by humans - the rhetoric is just that - smoke.
William March 28, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Well then, by all means, judge all educators by the minority. Pity you are still living by the stereotypes you formed as a child "many centuries" ago.
Rick McDonald March 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Why not? You have judged them all above reproach based on your past. You seem good at throwing barbs but unable to address valid points countering your comments.
Stephanie Calhoun April 17, 2012 at 11:29 AM
I think for schools to be more successful will require that more PARENTS engage in the system and VALUE education. Not just saying the words but doing the work at home, in school or in the community. We can not expect that our children are going to received a complete education in 6 hours a day if parents at home are not encouraging excellence. Are there bad teachers? Probably. But please let us stop blaming the teachers and take some personal responsibility for our children's success or failure.
Edward Jones April 17, 2012 at 12:10 PM
That's funny Fran I've held several jobs that would cause many teachers to cry in their hands, and yet I am evaluated every year pass fail EVERY year. Teachers need to grow up and join the rest of us in reality. Teachers and their union are destroying the education system in this country. We spend more and more every year, class sizes fall and yet there is more teacher hand-wringing every year.
Edward Jones April 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Educational inequities... what a joke. We spend thousands more each year on each urban student than anywhere else. The problems are rampant in the cities, here is a short list in my opinion. First the parents, too many single mother homes. Second the things that are considered important, like providing child care for students. I mean really how about you stop telling them sex at 14 is ok and just a lifestyle choice. Number two can help with number one, and yes teen pregnancy is going back up AGAIN! Third what are we teaching? Do we need a month for this group another for some other group. Teach everyone we are all valued and valuable and let it go. How much Citizenship,Reading, Writing and Math time is wasted on BS. How much money do we waste on special curriculum for this crap? Finally get rid of Tenure and put the unions back where they belong, OUT of the education process. One system worked for decades till President Jimmy Carter decided to kill the system with the Federal Department of Education.
Edward Jones April 17, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Bull, tenure is a guarantee of a job no matter how bad the teacher is. The system is designed to protect the worst and do little for great teachers, not because the union loves the bad teachers, but because the union loves the bad teachers dues.
Edward Jones April 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM
I agree with the problem kids thing, take em out like Montville and Norwich do and stick in a separate school. Time to buckle down on all of the non-school stuff going on in schools and make the kids more responsible for their own progress too. The next time your kid interupts class call Mom and Dad in and put a plan together, if it fails your kid goies to the problem kid school, find some strong teachers to teach in those schools and pay them more.
Edward Jones April 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM
This is a terrible excuse for "tenure" ALL jobs that are done are as important as anyone else's. Teachers seem to like to play the "we are molding the future" card every time there is a discussion. I have worked as the eyes and ears of a multi billion dollar machine filled with 150 other souls depending on me and some others to keep us all from "getting dead". Young men my same young age were running a nuclear plant that could have killed us all and poisoned the ocean if they didn't do their job. Get off of your high self righteous horse, doing your job as a teacher does not require an iron clad job guarantee.
BJ April 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM
stephanie: You are spot on about the personal responsibility regarding our own children, however I think you miss the mark on "...engage in the system and VALUE education." How can we "take personal responsibility" AND continue to allow an education system (that clearly does NOT work) to drain our resources?
Howard Smith April 17, 2012 at 01:03 PM
In regards to yearly evaluation I am curious as to how many tenured teachers have been let go over the last 10 years in Connecticut I bet it could be counted on one hand, that means that of the thousands of teachers employed they all are doing a great job. Does not compute
Edward Jones April 17, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Education is free only for those who do not pay taxes, the poor. Everyone else pays through the nose for an inferior product. The schools are becoming black holes swallowing entire town budgets, not to provide a building or books. But to pay for the salary and benefits (both extremely cushy by today's standards) of teachers and administrators. That is largest single item in EVERY school budget.
Edward Jones April 17, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Bull, it is damned near impossible to get rid of a bad teacher. The only ones going are the ones caught sleeping with their students. I had a completely incompetent science teacher and he only was finally gone after he had a heart attack and was forced to retire due to medical reasons. I had good teachers, mediocre teachers and bad teachers.... they were all still there after. I grew up in this my Step-Dad was a Teacher, Coach, Vice Principle, Athletic Director, Asst Superintendent and Superintendent. I heard about the good and bad and how it was impossible to get rid of them because the PEA/NEA would block any attempts. I watched him attempt to draft budgets that bloated as salaries and benefits soared. He was the Superintendent of a district that built a palace of a stadium for the football team as the school books were 15 years old and teachers that went on strike in spite of being the highest paid people in an extremely poor Central Pa district.
Edward Jones April 17, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I agree with you here farm guy... we need to get rid of mainstreaming so the kids can get a more tailored education for their level of ability. Just a suggestion as you seem to be a person of common sense refer to it as Spec Ed as SPED has been used as a derogatory term for years.

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