Commentary

Editorial: State Supreme Court should bust tenure-busting law for teachers

The Fayetteville Observer gets it right with an editorial blasting the anti-teacher law that would transform all state educators into, in effect, “temps.” The law, which stands as one of the real signature “achievements” of conservative rule in North Carolina these past five years, is now before the state Supreme Court. Here’s the Observer:

“The battle over tenure for North Carolina teachers reached the state Supreme Court this week. We hope the justices will put this misbegotten piece of punitive legislation out of its misery.

The law, passed by the General Assembly in 2013, stripped teachers’ ability to earn “career status” after four years of satisfactory performance. Lawmakers mischaracterized it as tenure, saying it prevented school districts from firing incompetent teachers.

The truth is, if school districts use it as an excuse to keep lousy teachers in the classroom, it’s their own fault. The law specifically empowers administrators to fire bad teachers for reasons including poor performance, insubordination and immorality.”

After noting that Attorney General Cooper is, regrettably, defending the inane law, the editorial concludes this way:

“As the teachers’ association lawyer responded, if lawmakers really wanted to improve the quality of teaching in the state’s classrooms, they could have raised the performance criteria teachers must meet to keep their jobs.

We’d like to see the General Assembly do just that, instead of simply attacking anything that looks remotely like a union – a theme that has run through a considerable body of legislation for the past three years.

That, in truth, is what the tenure battle is about. Even though there are no public-employee unions in North Carolina – they’re already banned by law – lawmakers appear determined to rid the state of any protection that looks even remotely union-ish. Hence a war on a tenure status that doesn’t exist.

Teachers have earned what little job protection they do have. In fact, it was promised to them as a benefit of their employment. That’s why the court should strike down this law.”

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