Opinion: How much time should teacher tenure take?

Vergara vs. state of California
Teacher Gaby Ibarra, joined by union members and parents, addresses the media before opening arguments in the Vergara case. A judge ruled that key job protections for teachers are so harmful to students that they deprive children of their constitutional right to an education.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: George Skelton’s column brings to mind the educational reform movement of 1983 when California Sen. Gary K. Hart (D-Santa Barbara) authored a bill eliminating the rights of probationary teachers to have hearings regarding terminations or layoffs. (Re “Ex-teacher is up against a strong union,” column, June 27) Under this law, probationary teachers today are not even given a reason for their dismissal or layoff.

Hart also included a provision to decrease the number of years to earn so-called tenure from three years to two years. This Solomon agreement clearly gave new teachers the shorter end of the employment rights stick.

Now, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) wants to add back the three-year requirement for a teacher to earn what is properly called permanent status. In city and county government, employees only have a six-month probationary period before becoming a permanent employee.

This bill is shortsighted for the very reasons California Teachers Assn. President Eric Hein points out in Skelton’s column.


Mark C. Salvaggio, Bakersfield

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