April 15, 2016

Vergara Down! Can We Even Know What Tenure Is? Edujobs, Board Appointments, Hansel/Pondiscio On Literacy, CTE, TFA, Closures, Parental Involvement, And What Boycott? Another Animal On The Run!

By Bellwether

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At Bellwether we work to put out and organize a lot of information for you. Our own publications can be found here, a lot of information on teacher pensions can be found here, and we work with RealClearPolitics and curate education news from around the sector two times each weekday here at RealClearEducation. And look for a new site soon…

Some new edujobs here.

Vergara overturned on appeal. Underneath all the rhetoric about the Vergara case the legal question was whether the California laws in question violate California’s constitution. The plaintiff’s argument would have extended a line of legal analysis about how courts should interpret those statutes. At the original trial a judge ruled for the plaintiffs. Yesterday an appellate court said they hadn’t met that burden. The appellate court said that the plaintiffs had failed to show the statutes specifically impact certain groups of students and instead that the problem was how school administrators implement them. Somewhat ironically, if you want to see a more expansive interpretation of due process rights – as many on the political left do –  the ruling is a setback. But because this is education we’re talking about, and teachers unions in particular, the politics instead break in politically predictable ways.  The case now goes to California’s Supreme Court.

From the decision (pdf):

Although the statutes may lead to the hiring and retention of more ineffective teachers than a hypothetical alternative system would, the statutes do not address the assignment of teachers; instead, administrators—not the statutes—ultimately determine where teachers within a district are assigned to teach. Critically, plaintiffs failed to show that the statutes themselves make any certain group of students more likely to be taught by ineffective teachers than any other group of students.

With no proper showing of a constitutional violation, the court is without power to strike down the challenged statutes. The court’s job is merely to determine whether the statutes are constitutional, not if they are “a good idea.” (McHugh v. Santa Monica Rent Control Bd. (1989) 49 Cal.3d 348, 388.) Additionally, our review is limited to the particular constitutional challenge that plaintiffs decided to bring. Plaintiffs brought a facial equal protection challenge, meaning they challenged the statutes themselves, not how the statutes are implemented in particular school districts. Since plaintiffs did not demonstrate that the statutes violate equal protection on their face, the judgment cannot be affirmed.

More analysis – with some really key insights –  from Bellwether’s Hailly Korman – who litigated the Reed case in LA back in her days as a barrister.

A similar lawsuit filed in Minnesota this week. But this one is sparking an outbreak of Campbell Brown derangement syndrome:

Campbell Brown “continues to do the bidding of her monied donors,” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said in a statement Wednesday. “Tenure doesn’t give anyone a job for life; it’s about ensuring fairness and due process in the workplace,” Weingarten said. “Stripping teachers of workplace protections will harm, not help, those students most at risk.”

Yet here’s Weingarten herself on tenure:

“It has effectively become in some places a job for life, which is wrong,” said Weingarten.

OK, then. Maybe it’s a metaphysical question? Really, what is tenure anyway… ? People say education is too slow to change. When it comes to the politics I feel like if you take a day off you’re suddenly behind the game. In any event, if you just want to focus on how adult politics drive American education, well, that’s your job for life. Why are we even talking about Campbell Brown here? This is about laws in Minnesota not people in New York!

John King’s curriculum speech sparks this from Hansel and Pondiscio on curriculum broadening and literacy. Teach For America CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard on the challenges of recruiting.  New analysis on the effects of school closures in New York.  Parental involvement may hurt rather than  help!

A lot of people and organizations boycotting North Carolina in the wake of its recent anti-LGBT law – but school reform critics not amongst them.

It seems there is a consensus around the importance of CTE and existence of good post-secondary opportunities that are not just four-year colleges. Here’s a Times op-ed today on exactly that. But less discussed is the question of how you let young people make genuine choices about different paths but then also leave the door open for them to reconsider those choices a few years later.  That’s where CTE programs that also maintain an academic focus are key. They have good outcomes and account for the reality that many young people don’t yet have a clear sense of how they want to spend their lives (and the decisions run both ways, plenty of people subsequently decide college isn’t the right path, too).

Interesting situation in Denver around a board appointment.

This animal escapee looks a lot less adorable and quite a bit more dangerous than the Finding Nemo-like Octopus from earlier this week.

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