Is the teacher tenure rhetoric of Rick Scott and others counterproductive?
Florida Gov. Rick Scott isn't the only one employing stark black and white imagery pitting the "good" teachers against the "bad," a la informal education adviser Michelle Rhee. ("Good teachers know they don’t need tenure. There is no reason to have it except to protect those that don’t perform as they should.")
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is talking the same talk, also side by side with Rhee. He recently announced that he will push to end tenure for teachers. "I don't know what the justification is for it any longer, I really don't," he said, suggesting that getting rid of the worst 5 percent of teachers would vastly improve NJ schools.
Liam Julian of the right-leaning Thomas B. Fordham Institute is less than impressed with the rhetoric. He writes of Christie (though it could apply to Scott too):
"The Rhee Coterie, of which Christie is a seminal part, is unsettling — education reform zealots on parade. One wishes this crew would be less abrasive, less Manichean. They are currently the best public-relations tool the teachers’ unions have."
Seeing everything without shades of gray isn't always a good thing, even for conservatives, it seems.