Litigation Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Co-Counsel for the Plaintiffs in Vergara v. California
Con to the question "Should Teachers Get Tenure?"
"Teachers are a crucial component of the quality of education that students receive. Research shows that teacher quality has a greater impact on student achievement than many other factors such as class size, teacher certification requirements, and per-pupil spending.
Some students... get stuck in classrooms with teachers who, year after year, fail to educate or inspire their students. These persistently low-performing teachers contribute to a devastating and unjustifiable inequality in our public educational system.
In Los Angeles Unified, the country's second largest school district, African-American and Latino students are two to three times more likely to have a teacher in the bottom quartile of effectiveness than their white and Asian peers. Research has revealed that Los Angeles schools in which ineffective teachers make up over 50 percent of the teaching staff are clustered in certain parts of the city...
But the worst part of these inequalities is that we know exactly which laws are contributing to and exacerbating the problem. Teacher employment protections [tenure] in California so far exceed those in other States that dismissing a persistently ineffective teacher is next to impossible so costly, time-consuming, and unlikely to actually result in dismissal that administrators are prevented from even trying. Worse, when budget shortfalls force districts to implement layoffs, the statutes require districts to lay teachers off in reverse order of seniority, with no regard for skills, leadership or past performance in the classroom."
"Vergara v. California: Marching Toward a Dream Still Denied," Huffington Post, Sep. 11, 2013