« Tax-Supported Religious Schools | Main | Growing Segregation in School Districts »

Eliminating Teacher Tenure in Minnesota Is Ironic

"No good deed goes unpunished" is an apt expression for what could  happen in Minnesota ("Will the Gopher State Go Tenure Free?" EduShyster, Dec. 1).  Known for the impressive performance of its students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the state would seem to be the last place that needs to eliminate tenure for teachers.  

Yet that is a distinct possibility, as the trip to the Gopher State by Marcellus McRae, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the Vergara v. State of California case, portends.  If teachers are doing such a good job there, it's hard to understand why McRae and his ilk would want to bother to get involved in a legal battle.  Principals in Minnesota already have the power to hire whomever they want.  Moreover, rural parts of the state can't find enough teachers to fill their classrooms.  So what is the reason for the interest?

I wrote before in this column that the real motivation in California had little to do with making it easier to get rid of ineffective teachers.  That argument was a smokescreen.  The objective was to break the power of teachers' unions in the nation's largest state in order to set an example, in the same way that former President Ronald Reagan fired airline controllers to send the message that public employees' unions were on notice.

Whatever credibility the Vergara team's argument enjoyed among voters should be called into question now that Minnesota is in its crosshairs. There is no need to eliminate tenure there in light of the state's track record.  A lawsuit would be merely a power play.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments