Wednesday :: Jun 15, 2005

California Election 2005: The Tenure Initiative

by paradox

There were many developments in California Election 2005 yesterday: Arnie was humiliated and quickly fled protestors at a commencement ceremony, state Democrats gave up on this year’s budget battle (taking a $3 billion hit to the future of our kids to focus on the election), and Arnold outrageously claimed Democrats were trying to sabotage Prop. 13, throwing old people out of their homes an' all, for being in opposition to the election.

What principled, honest rhetoric we can expect from Republicans. On the very first day of the election campaign Arnold espoused rank Republican lying; Bush must be his hero.

The California Teachers Association allegedly held enormous sway over state Democrats in their decision to abandon this year’s budget fight—it takes an arrow away from Arnie in that he can’t claim they’re not doing their jobs, and if they lose this fall a budget victory would mean nothing anyway. But why is the CTA so spitting mad and ready to do battle?

Because of the Tenure Initiative, of course. But they’re not furious at the specific proposal, although it’s bad enough. They’re enraged and putting $40 million in play for what the initiative doesn’t do.

Tenure: “…a status granted to a teacher usually after a probationary period that protects him or her from dismissal except for reasons of incompetence, gross misconduct, or financial necessity.”

My wife got her degree and her credential, which took five years. She signed a one year contract her first year for $24,000 a year, worked incredibly long hard hours in extremely trying conditions, and was told at the end of the year her services were no longer required.

One week before the next school year started she got a call—could she sign another 1 year contract and show up to work in a week? She hustled like mad to get all her materials back to her room and worked like a Trojan again for nine months. Again in June the letter came—thank you very much, please beat it.

Again she got the call, this time three weeks before the year started. In her third year her principal, who had total power of her future as a teacher, gave her tenure and a real professional slot in the school. Now she could plan, feel settled, get to truly know and commit to the staff and community, and look forward to raking in the big bucks.

Right. Arnold wants to raise the “probationary” period for beginner teachers from 3 years to five in this year’s election.

Only the most masochistic or unable-to-get-a-job-anywhere-else crowd will sign up to become a teacher in California if it passes. Who on earth would ever sign up for five years of such rank potential manipulation, anxiety, insecurity, and total poverty on top of all the other strenuous demands of teaching?

Not only that, this initiative does nothing to increase funding to our schools, which are shorted by at least 20%. It does nothing to ease overcrowded classrooms, crumbling facilities, or ameliorate English as a second language issues. It doesn’t give our kids better nutrition, more school days, day care options, or any solution to any issue. It just makes a bad situation worse.

Coupled with a horrible betrayal in not returning $2 billion in school funding that was promised this initiative is far worse than a slap in the face to our dedicated teachers. It’s a direct attack on everything they stand for while it screws our children.

Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks he can abuse our teachers and abandon our kids in California with this election. He’s so wrong he’s going to regret he was ever so stupid to pick this fight.

paradox :: 11:50 AM :: Comments (12) :: TrackBack (2) :: Digg It!