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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jonah Goldberg: Why teacher tenure must go

Jonah Goldberg write about the consequences of hiring teachers that can't be fired in his column published in the Union Leader.
Brandi Scheiner believes she is a political prisoner. Held against her will in what is euphemistically dubbed a "rubber room," Scheiner, 56, likens her two-year captivity to being imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. Alas, it's unlikely the Red Cross will hear her case.

She's a New York City public school teacher who, like about 600 fellow teachers, has been removed from the classroom for alleged incompetence or other charges that include being drunk in the classroom or molesting students.

Scheiner, who makes more than $100,000 per year, insists she is a prisoner of conscience forced to spend her workdays in the rubber room -- at full pay -- until the system can adjudicate her case. She cannot be fired, at least not without the school district spending gobs on legal fees, because she has tenure and her union, the United Federation of Teachers, would rather protect 1,000 lousy teachers than let one good teacher be fired unfairly. So Scheiner and her rubber-roomies report for duty every school day and do nothing. They all get the usual vacations, including the entire summer off.

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