- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Iola Register, April 7

Teachers are sacrificial lambs in school finance:

It took less than an hour Sunday night for state representatives to agree to meet the minimum requirement to fund schools and in the process strip the rights of those who work there.

Kansas has eliminated tenure - the system that protects teachers, school counselors and librarians from being fired without a hearing - in order to agree to fund K-12 schools.

What do the two have in common?

Absolutely nothing.

So how did that help the Senate and House bridge their differences?

Because the ultra-conservative majority is pressing on the jugular of moderate Republicans and Democrats that unless teachers unions are emasculated, they will not come to the table to discuss a budget package.

Unions are in the bull’s eye of ultra-conservatives and especially those beholden to ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Americans for Prosperity, whose goals are to privatize education. That’s right. Private companies would run our schools. Think of it as pay-go for education. You pay, you can go to school.

Ultra-conservatives defend the elimination of tenure, saying other employees don’t enjoy such privileges.

With tenure, teachers with three years under their belts facing dismissal can challenge the decision and have their cases officially reviewed. It’s not a guarantee they’ll keep their jobs, but when faced by people with agendas, the school “has their back.”

The system was set forth in 1957 by way of a Supreme Court decision. Today, almost 40,000 school employees rely on tenure to ensure they cannot be dismissed without just cause.

The defense of tenure is at its best when you consider a teacher is accountable to hundreds of “bosses” - parents and school boards as well as administrators.

Eric Magette teaches biology at Eudora High School.

What if a board of education is strongly opposed in the instruction of evolution, he asked in an interview with The Topeka Capital-Journal.

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