In too many places, public schools are failing their two most basic missions: to provide children with an equal, world-class education, irrespective of race or income, and to ensure that their skills and knowledge match the needs of Connecticut’s employers.
As I traveled around the state last summer on my jobs tour, nothing was more frustrating than a refrain I heard from too many employers. They said, “I have job openings, but I can’t find workers in Connecticut with the skills to fill them.” To be honest, it was maddening to hear. Because just prior to that, I’d spent two months traveling around the state to do 17 town hall meetings on the budget and in that time I met hundreds of people who were unemployed or under-employed.
Imagine that: we have jobs that need to be filled – good jobs — and we have people that desperately want to work. Yet those jobs remain unfilled and those people remain unemployed. It’s got to stop…
Since 2009, 31 states have enacted tenure reform, including our neighboring states of New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. It’s time for Connecticut to act. For those watching or listening who don’t know what tenure is, it’s basically job security. Let me explain. Right now, if you’re a teacher and you have tenure, your performance in the classroom has to be rated “incompetent” before a dismissal process can even begin. Even then – even if you’re rated “incompetent” – it can take more than a year to dismiss you.
And to earn that tenure – that job security – in today’s system basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours. The bottom line? Today tenure is too easy to get and too hard to take away. I propose we do it a different way. I propose we hold every teacher to a standard of excellence.
Under my proposal, tenure will have to be earned and re-earned. Not earned simply by showing up for work – earned by meeting certain objective performance standards, including student performance, school performance, and parent and peer reviews. And my proposal says, you should not only have to prove your effectiveness once, after just a few years in the classroom. My proposal says that if you want to keep that tenure, you should have to continue to prove your effectiveness in the classroom as your career progresses.
And we won’t get drawn into making a false choice between being pro-reform or pro-teacher… I’m pro-teacher, as long as that doesn’t mean defending the status quo
Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, whose state is among the ones to watch for action on systemic reform, making clear his goals on education during yesterday’s special school reform session of the legislature.