A Law Against Student Learning
- Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Rare is the person who hasn't heard of a school district trying to fire a bad teacher and then being stopped by a teacher union. The battle can go on for months, even years. Worse, and perhaps
more common, is the school district that — in the face of anticipated teacher-union opposition — has all but given up trying to fire a bad teacher, much less trying to fire a merely ineffective teacher.
Why is it so hard to remove a teacher who's not teaching and replace that teacher with one who is?
In Nevada, it's because Chapter 288 of the Nevada Revised Statutes compels school districts to negotiate long, difficult and costly step-by-step procedures that district administrators must follow to terminate a teacher. Moreover, NRS 288 requires that school districts must collectively bargain with teacher unions on a whole shopping list of "subjects" — making contract agreements between school districts and teacher unions into cumbersome obstacles to any school-district effort to improve learning.
For example, NRS 288 mandates that school districts bargain "total hours of work required," "policies for assignment of teachers," "materials for the classroom," "procedures for reduction in workforce," and "discharge and disciplinary procedures," to mention but five of some 28 compulsory subjects.
What results are pages and pages of contract provisions that, over years of negotiation cycles, end up damaging student achievement.