Monday, September 25, 2006

It is not a lemon... Is it?

The SacBee reports on a new bill on the Governator's desk that would purportedly aid urban districts in their search for more qualified teachers, or more precisely, their quest for fewer senior teachers who have been passed along as lemons--*think non cooperative, stuck in their ways, ineffective, or any other reason a principal would want to dismiss a teacher.

San Diego principals--more than 25 percent--admit to "coaxing" teachers who have been "underperforming" to transfer elsewhere. The New Teacher Project found through a survey that 47 percent of principals in San Diego confessed that they had hidden vacancies to avoid accepting teachers who had been "convinced" to leave their former schools. About 65 percent of the San Diego district's schools had no choice, or limited choice, in filling at least one position.

The bill is simple. But may not have simple results. The way I read it, the bill is designed to give more authority to principals of schools ranking 1-3 on the 5 point school performance index. If the Governator signs this bill, principals in lower performing schools (SacBee, lacking discretion, calls these schools "urban") will gain the option of not hiring teachers who have heretofore been placed in low performing schools. Why were these lemon teachers being placed in these schools? Because they had an unfulfilled need for teachers. The new legislation would give principals more leverage to consider other applicants, if there are any, before they have to place a teacher transfer.


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