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Press Release

    In Oregon, Unions Protect Teachers at Students' Expense

    09/03/2008

    Oregon law permits public education administrators to evaluate and then retain or release teachers based on a number of legitimate criteria, including—but not limited to—the following:

  • Subject area certification

  • On-going professional development

  • Academic expertise

  • Classroom/behavior management

  • Student performance assessment

  • Planning and goal setting

  • Record keeping/reporting

  • Communication skills

  • Interpersonal relationship skills

  • Professional deportment

  • However, established practice in public education allows teachers to demonstrate fitness for continued employment based almost solely upon seniority, which may have little to do with teaching ability and even less to do with student performance.

    Why this disparity between what the law permits and established practice dictates?

    The unfairly weighted importance of seniority is easily linked to the influence exerted by national, state and local education associations, which work together to hamstring the teacher evaluation process. Contract language often trumps common sense. Pay raises are doled out according to how long one has taught and how many post-graduate hours one has amassed. Hard-working, creative, effective teachers are compensated at exactly the same rate as their less devoted, less productive peers. Then, if budget woes require a reduction in the labor force, guess whose job is at risk simply because someone else has been in the district longer?

    The unions' message is clear: Protecting a tenured teacher’s job is more important than providing the best teacher for the job! This mindset hurts students and teachers alike and erodes the educational process.

    Measure 60 empowers administrators to use the evaluation process to identify, reward and retain good teachers—whether they have taught three years or twenty-three—while also releasing supervisors to more effectively manage unmotivated, unproductive or burned-out personnel.

    And it sends a clear message back to the unions: Protecting a student’s education is more important than providing job security for a teacher!

    FreedomWorks urges a Yes on Measure 60