Kansas teachers vow to fight for rights

KneaTOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — 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.

  • bootstrap

    Reason for tenure:

    –to keep the parents of non-performing, misbehaving, entitled kids from blaming the teacher for their failure
    –to protect teachers of those kids from losing their jobs because their principals won’t stand up to those parents
    –to allow teachers to expect their students to–God forbid–do some work
    –to make it safe for teachers who work with special needs, ESL, and other “challenging” kids to keep plugging even if the scores don’t always improve
    –to give teachers the rights to free speech that other citizens have, without having a parent demand their head because of something the parent disagreed with (ex.: banned books, such as Huckleberry Finn, The Wizard of Oz, Hamlet)

    Many, if not most, of the disastrous changes in education, such as lack of discipline, not flunking failing students, neutral holidays, etc., have been at the insistence of PARENTS, not teachers. If you think things are bad now, what do you think will happen when teachers can be fired for ANYTHING?

    • Reality Check

      You can bet a lot of teachers are considering moving to another state that has tenure, too. It’s just another nail in the coffin for the educational standards of Kansas. It’s horrible how many kids right now can’t write a legible letter or article straight out of high school. If we let go of experienced teachers and scare away the new ones, too, we’ll be left with those that simply *can’t* get tenure in any other state, so they will come to Kansas, because “we just want CHEAP education, we don’t care if it’s any good!”

    • Parental have rights 2!

      You teachers have already cut us parents down to one parent/teacher conference a year, and we have to give you two days off for it and our kids lose 2 days of school! Go ahead move to another State, but I don’t think you’ll get a whole lot of sympathy no matter where you go.

      • Guest23

        Teachers shift those 2 days during the evenings for the convenience of the parents. Conferences used to take place during the day, but people were at work, so now teachers work during the day and conference all evening. The days off are because they already worked that time for conferences, open house, and orientation.
        Parents can request a conference with a teacher any day they wish. Teachers are there after school or before school. You can email, call, text and arrange a meeting.

      • Chris

        The amount of days/hours in a school year are set by the state. Your children are not losing days.

      • Budget woes

        Why don’t you move? Our teachers put in extra time for conferences from late afternoon into evening. The additional time put in equals the two days off. If you want more conferences, then get the state to fund the schools like they should be and get local people to quit complaining everything USD 489 needs budget money. What to you want? They are already looking to fire 27 teachers due to lack of funding.

  • Guest

    Teachers welcome to the Real World! Everybody else in the workforce could be fired at any time, that is why we try and work hard. There are many different occupations in which jobs require working with hard clients. Why are not all social workers who work in child welfare not tenured?
    Teachers already get a good deal by only working 8 months out of the year, pretty good wages, and a good retirement. Principals are not going to fire teachers who are trying there hardest, and putting forth good work. Many teachers do not have a heart for kids, thus not effective, ones who do care have nothing to worry about.

    • Reality Check

      If you think it’s such a “good deal” and a cushy job, why aren’t you racking up tons of student loan debt and getting in on it? In the early 70s, before tenure, there were LOTS of teachers getting fired for giving the wrong person’s kid a failing grade or just not being nice enough to a parent. Teachers seriously do not need to have to pass kids that aren’t making the grade just to keep their job. It’s hard enough to teach as it is.

    • Protect our teachers

      You are sadly misinformed. Having to deal with the parents of kids year to year is just one reason tenure should stay. For example, you can’t play sports if you don’t have passing grades. Who’s fault do you think that will be pinned on if someones little kid can’t play football?

      • Yahooserious

        Sports are more important than an education. Everyone know this. That’s why most NFL, NBA, MLB and another other pro sport athletes claim bankruptcy after retirement. It’s cause of that quality education they’re getting.

        • Downhill fast

          You said it! It’s too bad that we are taking the easy way out and firing TWO DOZEN teachers instead of taking back out 7th grade sports or cutting down other sports or coaches. Fast forward a few years and we may lose math and English so we can add more time and funding for sports.

  • Duh……

    I think this is much to do about nothing, I would imagine that all teachers have contracts that contain language about Tenure, I would imagine all future contracts will contain language about tenure if there Representative does his or her job. Just because the state interjects some obscure language doesn’t automatically take this tenure thing away.

    • Too many politicians

      Why insert the language at all???? The judgment was too increase funding. Now they want to muddle it all up with junk changes. Just take care of the ONE item that was mandated.

      • Sick of Unions

        How about teachers just do their jobs and stop making up BS excuses of how detrimental losing tenure would be!! My God, there is no other workforce in America that complains as much as a teachers union! You chose to teach so just do it! If you’re a good teacher then you’ll do well and be rewarded, if not then hit the road. You have a responsibility as does everyone with a job. Be happy you’re in one of the nicest communities and one of the higher paid districts. I hope the BOE considers eliminating tenure at USD489….but wait, Hays teachers don’t even get evaluated! So go on Hays NEA, give us your sob story of how bad you have it and how everyone is out to destroy education…I’m sure someone will listen but it won’t be the majority of blue collar Americans!

        • Get the facts

          If you are going to comment, shouldn’t you at least get your fact straight? Teachers are evaluated. Teachers are doing their jobs. And if I was a teacher, I would want tenure to stay. All it takes is the star football player or basketball player to not make the grade and thus not get to play to have the teacher in hot water. If a child does poorly in a class, some parents automatically assume it’s the result of a bad teacher who of course must be fired. Teachers have had wage freezes, supply budgets reduced and now frozen, and put in a lot of heart to teach our kids. As far as everyone destroying education….do you not read??? Funding is severely short due to politicians, class sizes are increasing at an all time high, special classes for kids in need are being dropped, and now a lot of teachers are being relieved of their job.

  • Equal Rights under the law

    So, tell me why a teacher is entitled to more and differential employment “rights” than I am around my employment under Kansas law and Constitution? Please explain the differential rights! Please explain why I should not, and do not have such special rights.

    • Sensible

      Read the post by ‘bootstrap’ below then you’ll see. All it takes is an irate parent with some pull and next thing you know a teacher is out looking for a new job. Teachers have to deal with a lot of ‘bosses’, not just one like you do.

  • Yahooserious

    All I have to see is that Americans for Properity sponsored it. Ever notice nearly every bill passed(no teacher tenure) and every bill repealed(renewable energy act) are/is sponsored by Americans for prosperity. Americans for prosperity = the Koch brothers. Wake up Kansas. Your legislature and governor is in the pocket of big oil. Welcome to corporate America. Take take take but F*ck the little guy.

    • Regression

      And they are oblivious to it. It is extremely sad.

  • passin_threw

    For crying out loud the bill doesn’t say get rid of tenure it’s saying put those decisions in the hands of the local BOE. why is it you liberal pansies that don’t have an athletic bone in your body all think that the government needs to hold your hand on every single decision made? Grow a pair!

    • Resident

      For one, the bill portion about dropping tenure doesn’t even need to be in there. That’s why! Here’s what the bill should say: Fund our schools properly. End of bill.

      • passin_threw

        You have a very shallow grasp on politics. Any bill written will cause some give and take on both sides. Do you really need your hand held?

        • Bill on capital hill

          Maybe you should understand that the mandate given was to fund our schools. There was no, I repeat NO, mandate/court decision that anything else needed to be done. This is why a lot of people, myself included, don’t like politicians. Since the politicians didn’t like having to give money to the schools they throw in extra legislation to wreak havoc. It’s like when a child doesn’t get their way so throws a tantrum. All they have to do is pass the legislation and direct more state dollars where it should go (the schools) and be done with it.