Archive for Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kansas teachers vow to fight for rights

April 8, 2014


— Leaders of the top Kansas teachers’ union are vowing to continue the fight through November’s elections against the Legislature’s vote to eliminate tenure.

Lawmakers inserted the provision Sunday into a bill that increases state funding for public schools. The measure is now on Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk.

The Kansas National Education Association said Tuesday that ending tenure would limit teachers’ ability to advocate for their students’ best interests. The union also says depriving teachers of the administrative due process provided by tenure puts their jobs in jeopardy.

Proponents of the change included conservative Republicans and the group Americans for Prosperity. They argued the move would give local school boards and administrators more power to remove underperforming teachers and would improve the quality of public education.


Milton Bland 4 years, 2 months ago

Maybe it is because my grandfather and parents were excellent teachers. Or possibly because two of my children are great teachers. But I simply can not understand why teachers think they have a right to tenure. Anyone who has followed a child from kindergarten through high school has witnessed the sad situation of an individual doing a poor job of teaching and simply hanging on until retirement. Most professions do not tolerate such lousy performance. But our public schools not only tolerate it, they tend to encourage it. I started working at age 14 for a local retail shop. Later I was in the military, and eventually retired from a large corporation. I never held a position where I felt I could slack off and expect my employer to keep me on the payroll. It was certainly possible that one of my employers might have fired me because he simply did not like me, but that would have been his right. And it was my right to quit should I have found my employer not to my liking. It seems as if unions want everything to go their way, and are willing to offer nothing in return. The bottom line is good teachers are in demand, and should one be unfairly dismissed, there are plenty of other positions available. My guess is that the teachers fighting for tenure probably should be in a different profession.

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 years, 2 months ago

you really don't understand was tenure is for k-12 teachers.

Dan Eyler 4 years, 2 months ago

I think this legislation is way past due. Teachers should be identified and through a normal counseling process they correct their porformance or be terminated. I keep hearing they have lost their due process. That is simply a lie or ignorance.

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 years, 2 months ago

Actually that's exactly what they lost, the schools no longer need to show and reason to let a teacher go. Do not confused k-12 tenure with the tenure given at the college level, they are two completly different animals.

Paul Wharton 4 years, 2 months ago

I admit that when it comes to Kansas politics and our congress in particular, I am a hopeless cynic. With the repeal of teacher tenure I can only think that their (republicans) ulterior motives are nothing but sinister. I can not get this image from my mind that there were a lot of high fives and back slapping going on behind closed doors in committee meetings leading up to the compromise that was reached and not for the reasons that a naive person might think. With this legislation they have not only solved the financial inequities as was required by a recent court decision, but they might have also been congratulating themselves for solving the underfunding of the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System. Let me explain. If you have been contributing to the fund, which, if you are a teacher you have been required to do, and have been doing so for a number of years and are nearing having the number of points to retire and receive a pension. I would be very, very concerned. With the passing of this legislation, they have given to the school administration (and the state) the tool necessary to deny you your retirement pension and thus retain the contributions you have made. Consider this, If you have been a teacher for a number of years you are more than likely in the upper reaches of the salary schedule in any given school district. Now school administrators have a tool at their disposal that can be used to fire you for no other reason than that you are making too much money. In a similar manner, if you try to find a position in another school district within the state, they could easily not consider you for the very same reason. Thus you are left without the required combination of the necessary years of contributing to the fund and the necessary years of age to draw a pension. They get to keep your many years of contributions and you get nothing in return for your years of service. Now take those funds that you have contributed and multiply it by the thousands of teachers across the state that are in a similar situation. KPERS funding problem solved. If this is not the way it works right now, just wait until next year when they can legislate a fix for the loophole.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 2 months ago

KPERS benefits earned cannot be taken away. Ending due process has nothing to do with paying off unfunded liabilities.

Sam Crow 4 years, 2 months ago

Paul, what you wrote is absolute nonsense.

First of all, vesting is at 4.5 years.

From the KPERS website, under "leaving employment":

If You Are Vested

You are guaranteed a monthly retirement benefit for the rest of your life if you leave your contributions in your account. Often, if you have a significant amount of service, your benefit is more valuable than your actual contributions. If you keep your contributions with the Retirement System, you can apply for retirement benefits when you become eligible. They will continue to earn interest and you can withdraw at any time if you change your mind.

If you do not withdraw, and you return to covered employment, you will immediately become an active member again and keep your service credit.

If You Are Not Vested

You are not guaranteed a retirement benefit. You need to withdraw your account within five years. After five years, your contributions stop earning interest and you forfeit your service credit.

If you do not withdraw or retire and you return to employment within five years, you will immediately become an active member again and keep your service credit.

James Howlette 4 years, 2 months ago

You're right. Teachers won't get fired so they'll lose pension. That's not where this is going. They might get fired for their high salary if they've been teaching for a while, though. Cheaper than early retirement bonuses.

Paul Wharton 4 years, 2 months ago

All things can change with the Governor's signature.

James Howlette 4 years, 2 months ago

What's up with the mods recently? Sheesh!

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