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[Susan notes: The Wall Street Journal publishes a letter that takes them to task. And they put a good title on it: 'Landmark' Case: Tenure Also Protects Good Teachers.]

Published in Wall Street Journal
06/18/2014

To the editor

Regarding your June 11 editorial A School Reform Landmark: In the current politicized climate it is not so difficult to find a judge with an agenda, and Vergara v. State of California serves nicely as a case du jour. To begin with, Vergara is not a landmark until and unless the California Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue; at present, the case is not binding on any other state unless, as a case of first impression, such state chooses to adopt the Vergara holding.

Moreover, the California case may have more to do with the procedural aspect whereby one receives tenure, than with the concept of tenure in and of itself. If one will argue that tenure that is too easily offered fails the competency test, thereby increasing the potential for poor teachers educating our children, then one must also consider the fact that tenure provides educational stability, ensuring that good teachers are not arbitrarily taken from those same children because of personal animus or political pressure. Finally, to bring Jim Crow into the discussion is to misapprehend the nature of the debate. This is about competency, about job protection and the parameters whereby one may seek a career as an educator. It is not about the willful denial of rights to segments of our society, Judge Rolf Treu's opinion notwithstanding.

Shlomo Groll


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