Re "Deasy provides fodder for both sides in lawsuit," Feb. 3
United Teachers Los Angeles President Gregg Solkovits calls the lawsuit against teacher tenure in California "an attempt to deprofessionalize teachers." While his union's argument about mismanagement may be valid, Solkovits needs to rethink this particular claim.
Doctors, lawyers and engineers all must continue to update their skills and apply them in their work. Can you imagine a physician who prescribes an outdated prescription for treatment or medicine? Or an attorney who has not kept up with case law? Or an engineer who barely understands the latest technological advances?
These professionals would be hard-pressed to retain currency in a marketplace that demands up-to-date talent.
Why should teachers, as professionals, effectively be excused from this mandate? Why should California law protect teachers who fall short of their professional expectations? And why isn't Solkovits advocating for more oversight in ongoing education instead of blaming others for trying to take away teachers' professional status?
If I were the plaintiff in this case and truly believed in my cause, I would show not only that the Los Angeles Unified School District isn't firing bad teachers but what, if anything, the district is doing to attract, train and retain top candidates.
After all, what's the point of focusing on firing when you have no plan to hire good replacements?
Unless hiring the best and brightest is the main goal, districts will continue to have to deal with incompetence, as with any profession.
But don't hold your breath. Budget cuts, standardized tests and attacks on contracts will ensure that teaching will continue to lose its stature as a respected and fairly compensated long-term career choice.
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