Proposition 74: Teacher Tenure
Will Proposition 74 improve the quality of California’s public school teachers? Governor Schwarzenegger believes it will, but there’s disagreement among teachers.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Under Proposition 74, veteran teachers could be summarily fired after two negative reviews in a row. Lillian Perry is a Prop 74 supporter, and a longtime middle school teacher in Southern California’s Inland Empire. She says some educators should be worried about the measure. “Teachers who are low performing or who have some kind of issues that affect their teaching ability or if they’re caught in some kind of indiscretion.”
Perry also backs the other provision of the proposition, extending the probation period for new teachers from two to five years. “I think it will give teachers more time to become better teachers to become better familiarized with the school they’re at. I think it will improve student achievement.”
The measure is opposed by the California Teachers Association and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Eric Heins has been an elementary school teacher in Pittsburg, California for 16 years. He calls Prop 74 “misguided. "It unfairly attempts to blame teachers but it doesn’t address the real problems in the schools. Things like reducing class size or providing training for teachers or buying textbooks."
And Heins says there’s already a due process system in place for firing underperforming or problem teachers. He says Prop 74 goes too far." I can then be fired without being given a chance to defend myself. We even give criminals a right to a hearing, and I would be denied that right if prop 74 were to pass."
Observers say, if it’s approved by voters, there’s a good chance the measure will end up in court.