When reflecting on the new laws gutting the teaching profession in NY, I mused that Campbell Brown must be bummed that Andrew Cuomo had done an end run around her. But apparently teaching has not been sufficiently eviscerated to suit the Browninator.
Per Politico's morning education grab-bag, Brown is rolling on ahead with her lawsuit to strip tenure protections from all teachers in New York.
It's an interesting stance. After all, the new NY rules subordinate tenure to testing-- Carol Burris has the clearest breakdown on the new rules at Washington Post today, and it's clear that NY now will give teachers a couple of strikes, and then they're out. Two bad years of test results (which trump any observations by human life forms) seem like enough to end the career of any NY teachers, or keep those careers from ever starting in the first place. So why would Brown still want to tie tenure to the legal whipping post?
Here's the quote from Politico
While the budget reforms have promise, Brown said it’s still way too
hard for districts to lay off bad teachers, especially those with
seniority. “We are glad that Albany appears to have finally woken up to
the crisis in our public schools. But make no mistake, they have a long
way to go and there is much work ahead,” Brown told Morning Education.
“This will have no bearing on the legal case moving forward.”
This can only mean one of two things:
1) Brown agrees that Cuomo's proposed evaluation method (one part test scores, one part evaluations mostly by strangers) is a lousy way of identifying whether teachers are any good or not. If this is the case, I look forward to hearing her articulate what she thinks needs to be tweaked. If this is not "far enough," what does she think an evaluation should look like? 100% test driven? 100% drive-by evaluation by strangers? Please, Ms. Brown-- spill!
2) Brown wants to be able to fire teachers for reasons other than poor job performance. If the state is going to measure how well teachers do their job (not measure it well, I know, but stay with me here) and fire them if they do their job poorly, and that's not good enough for Brown, then she must want to be able to fire them (especially the senior ones) for other reasons. Could we be on the cusp of hearing a reformsters finally say out loud and in public, "We want to be able to save money by firing the teachers who get paid the most!" Will Brown articulate why being able to fire a tenured teacher for being a bad teacher is somehow not enough for her?
Of course, there's a third possibility, which is that Brown's lawsuit is not about making changes in NY tenure law, but about having a platform from which to reduce the political clout of teachers and their union (although, again, moot point--why bother trying to reduce the clout of the ineffectual NY teachers union at this point). When Brown hired Incite and former Dem political operatives, it was not to build the case, but to mount a PR offensive against teachers. And she made damn sure that hers was the only such lawsuit being filed.
So what more does Campbell Brown want? Does she want teachers to be fireable for any reason at all, from bad hairs to wrong politics to costing too much money? Does she want them to be discredited in the public eye? Does she just want them to be sadder? I guess we'll see in the months ahead. I hope somebody in the court or press has the balls to ask her exactly why her lawsuit needs to go forward.