Tuesday, January 12, 2010

AFT Chief Vows to Revise Teacher-Dismissal Process

By Stephen Sawchuk | Ed Week
January 12, 2010

The president of the American Federation Teachers is putting the sensitive issue of due process on the education reform table, with a pledge to work with local districts to streamline the often-cumbersome procedures for disciplining or dismissing teachers.

“We recognize that too often due process can become glacial process,” Randi Weingarten says in a speech prepared for delivery this morning at the National Press Club in Washington. “We intend to change that.”

The pledge—a formal acknowledgment by the AFT that due process, a hard-won labor right, could benefit from some revisions—comes with a caveat: Districts must agree to work with unions to devise fair, meaningful systems to evaluate teacher performance and to help teachers who are falling short improve, as part of any plan to reform due-process procedures.

In the speech, Ms. Weingarten also touches on the contentious issue of using student test scores as part of evaluation systems, which she says should consider multiple measures of teacher performance.

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