David Kopel offers some perspective on the new teacher tenure law in Colorado. Among his points:
- The chief sponsor of the law is a Democrat and–perhaps more important–former school principal.
- The right to appeal was not in the original bill, but was added as a political compromise–meaning that the proposal was even more strict than it is now. (How many private sector employees have a right to appeal a dismissal for cause?)
- The law was supported by a bipartisan coalition in the Legislature, plus the American Federation of Teachers, which is second to the National Education Association (which opposed the bill) in membership in the state, and the Democrat Party governor.
- The Legislature was prodded by the potential of getting money from the Race to the Top fund from the U.S. Department of Education.
One may argue the wisdom of further federal involvement in education–as Kopel does–but here’s one case in which it may have done a lot of good. In a few years, we will see how it has worked out. I’m hopeful, though it’s possible the reform will be scuttled by insiders.