The consequences of treating all teachers alike

Andrew Rotherham, in his weekly column, explores the move among many states to reform laws governing teacher tenure. But when weighing ending the practice of tenure altogether or at least expediting the process of removing teachers guilty of misconduct from the classroom, Rotherham’s commentary takes an intriguing turn toward teacher empowerment (redefinED host Doug Tuthill similarly framed the issue last month):

… both these approaches reinforce an underlying problem in that they basically treat all teachers alike. Why not look to empower teachers and administrators by giving them the ability to negotiate more flexible contracts? Let school districts act more like professional sports franchises so they can protect and incentivize the talent they most want to hold onto. Contracts could offer more than monetary incentives. Excellent teachers could be protected from layoffs, for example, or given enhanced professional development experiences. Most of us are not professional athletes, but you see the same approach in a variety of workplaces all the time.