Mandy Redfern, president of the LCUSD teachers' union, recently derided efforts to reform teacher tenure, suggesting tenure was far from “the problem” (“Blaming teachers union is wrong tactic,” op-ed, April 22).
She minimizes both the laboriousness of the process and the role of the union.
It has been suggested that tenure is simply notice of underperformance, opportunity to improve and proper documentation. In reality, tenure represents a mortal lock over one's job and can cause unintended damage to students.
When a school district wants to dismiss a tenured teacher, he/she is entitled to a third-party panel hearing that is stacked against districts. In California, the vast majority of cases that make it to the panel arise from gross misconduct — like sexual abuse — and even though only the strongest cases are pursued, over a third are unsuccessful. Since 1997, only 20% of upheld dismissals had to do with the quality of teaching.