LIBN: Ron Verderber: Tenured teachers can be fired

Date Posted: 
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I am responding to a comment on the Long Island Business News poll about Common Core.

There is no conflict of interest in teachers evaluating the Common Core. The evaluation and use of Common Core in New York should be done by teachers, because they are the practitioners in the classroom working with kids every day.

I would like to clear up the misconception that after teachers earn tenure there are “no requirements to maintain high-quality teaching standards because they have a certain level of job security.” The job security referred to is simply due process.

A teacher must earn tenure after three or more years of effective teaching, oversight and evaluation. A teacher is then entitled to a fair hearing before being fired. Teachers must complete over 175 hours every five years in high-quality professional development to maintain certification and must be evaluated every year by district administrators.

The union has nothing to do with granting tenure. Local boards of education are the sole entity that can grant tenure to a teacher. Job security is based on performance. Any teacher found to be incompetent can be removed through the dismissal procedures established by section 3020A of New York state education law.

In fact, teachers, including tenured teachers, are fired at a rate of close to 2 percent. This compares with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which, when comparing companies with over a thousand employees (similar in size to the average school district), reports about a 2 percent loss of the workforce due to firings, layoffs and resignations combined.

As you can see, teachers are more likely to be fired than many at-will employees in the private sector.

New York State has rigorous standards and requirements for teachers – typically ranking among the nation’s top 10. Tenure is just one of the safeguards New York State has put in place to ensure every student has an effective teacher.

Verderber is president of the Jericho Teachers Association.