Archive for Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Teacher due process bill revived in Kansas House

February 21, 2017


— A coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans in the Kansas House on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would reinstate due process rights for K-12 public school teachers, despite the fact that the chairman of the Education Committee had refused to bring that bill to the floor.

By a vote of 66-59, the House agreed Tuesday to add the language of that bill onto a seemingly unrelated bill updating an obscure statute known as the Uniform Arbitration Act.

The bill had been bottled up in the House Education Committee, where Chairman Clay Aurand, R-Belleville, had refused to bring it up for a vote. That threatened to kill the bill for the session because Thursday is the deadline for most bills to pass out of the chamber where they originated.

The law establishing due process rights, also known as "tenure" rights, had been on the books in Kansas since the 1950s. In short, it said that in most cases, teachers who had passed their three-year probationary period with a district were entitled to a due process hearing with an independent hearing officer before they could be summarily fired or not renewed for the following year.

Conservatives had argued for years that the law was an example of what they viewed as the oversized power of teachers unions, and they argued that the law made it nearly impossible for school boards to fire substandard teachers.

They were finally able to repeal it in 2014, when, during a late-night session that extended into the early hours of the following morning, it was inserted into a school finance bill that was meant to respond to a Supreme Court decision earlier that year.

The House voted to advance the bill to final action, which is scheduled for Wednesday.


Lynn Grant 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Great news! See y'all can work together. Now pass it on final action.

Brad Avery 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Excellent news. It's amazing what one election cycle can accomplish. The repeal of the original due process rights was unconstitutional, though apparently those arguments were not presented to the courts.

Greg Cooper 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Try the part that says citizens shall not be deprived of liberty, et al, without due process. It's a constitutional right, in case you haven't heard.

Richard Heckler 9 months, 3 weeks ago

These radical libertarians portraying themselves as republicans are not that concerned about due process as they are about killing unions. Killing unions equates into lower wages which is their ultimate goal.

Killing due process can also equate to lower wages = less seniority = lower wage.

In the ALEC tax dollar privatized system instructors can be hired without credentials = lower wages.

Richard Heckler 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The 4 Most Profound Ways Privatization Perverts Education

Compared to other developed countries, equal education has been a low priority in America.

Profit-seeking in the banking and health care industries has victimized Americans. Now it's beginning to happen in education, with our children as the products.

There are good reasons - powerful reasons - to stop the privatization efforts before the winner-take-all free market creates a new vehicle for inequality. At the very least we need the good sense to slow it down while we examine the evidence about charters and vouchers.

  1. Charter Schools Have Not Improved Education

The recently updated CREDO study at Stanford revealed that while charters have made progress since 2009, their performance is about the same as that of public schools. The differences are, in the words of the National Education Policy Center, "so small as to be regarded, without hyperbole, as trivial."

Furthermore, the four-year improvement demonstrated by charters may have been due to the closing of schools that underperformed in the earlier study, and also by a variety of means to discourage the attendance of lower-performing students.

Ample evidence exists beyond CREDO to question the effectiveness of charter schools (although they continue to have both supporters and detractors). In Ohio, charters were deemed inferior to traditional schools in all grade/subject combinations. Texas charters had a much lower graduation rate in 2012 than traditional schools. In Louisiana, where Governor Bobby Jindal proudly announced that "we're doing something about [failing schools]," about two-thirds of charters received a D or an F from the Louisiana State Department of Education in 2013.

Furthermore, charters in New Orleans rely heavily on inexperienced teachers, and even its model charter school Sci Academy has experienced a skyrocketing suspension rate, the second highest in the city. More trouble looms for the over-chartered city in a lawsuitfiled by families of disabled students contending that equal educational access has not been provided for their children.

  1. The Profit Motive Perverts the Goals of Education

Forbes notes: "The charter school movement began as a grassroots attempt to improve public education. It’s quickly becoming a backdoor for corporate profit." A McKinsey report estimates that education can be a $1.1 trillion business in the United States. Meanwhile, state educational funding continues to be cut, and budget imbalances are worsened by the transfer of public tax money to charter schools.

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