Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has introduced a package of proposed legislative changes that would bring sweeping changes to the state’s second-largest school district. It includes provisions prohibiting tenure for new teachers and allowing the school district to share future tax levy proceeds with some charter schools.
Yesterday, Cleveland Teachers Union officials told Cleveland’s city council that they were going to come up with their own package of proposed legislative changes. (Details on those changes were sketchy, the Cleveland Plain Dealer says.) Union officials also made some statements about the changes Jackson’s proposed legislation would bring to local schools.
In comments to City Council, union official Michele Pomerantz suggested (but did not say explicitly) that Jackson’s changes would “grant the school district brass full discretion to fire or reassign teachers on a whim.”
And in a message to members, union President David Quolke said that the draft legislation “would give the CEO the right to terminate teachers who are assigned to low performing schools, regardless of their effectiveness, and without due process.”
Jackson’s plan does make it easier for district administrators to fire teachers. It specifically cites receiving two consecutive ”ineffective” ratings on annual evaluations as a reason for termination. It does not cite “whim” as a reason for termination.
The draft legislation would also:
- Eliminate tenure for teachers licensed in 2011 or later;
- Require only one evaluation (instead of the two currently required) for a teacher whom the district may want to let go;
- Prohibit teachers from challenging evaluation results through the union grievance procedure (but allow them to challenge results through the common pleas court system);
- Expand the justifications for laying off teachers; and
- Require performance (broadly defined) to be the principle factor in determining layoffs and rehirings.