I have to hand to Arnold. He seems to be making some very sound decisions recently, and this latest piece of legislation is no exception. Basically, it keeps poorly performing teachers from being able to slip through the cracks in the system.

From SF Gate:

(09-29) 04:00 PDT Sacramento — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Thursday to end the so-called dance of the lemons in which unsuccessful teachers move from one low-performing school to another and principals are powerless to stop it. […]

SB1655 authored by Sen. Jack Scott, D-Altadena, will give school principals the flexibility to reject a voluntary transfer of a teacher and change hiring deadlines so that promising new teachers can be hired earlier.

Currently, principals must give teachers seeking a transfer first priority for any open positions, even if they are not performing well.

Now, of course the teacher’s unions don’t like this, but it’s ridiculous to keep bad teachers in the system if they’re failing the students. The unions argue it’s not the teachers’ fault, and while that may be true in some cases, it has to also be true that there are simply bad teachers who aren’t doing a good job.

So if you kick some teachers out, who do you replace them with? Well, check out the other piece of legislation Schrawenegger signed. Basically, make it attractive for the good to replace the bad.

Now, that’s not what the following says the bill would be doing, but that’s certainly going to be one of the effects.

Another Scott bill signed by Schwarzenegger, SB1209, is aimed at overcoming the challenge of losing 100,000 California teachers to retirement over the next decade.

Specifically, the bill makes it easier for out-of-state teachers to become credentialed here and enhances mentoring programs by providing a $6,000 stipend to veteran teachers who mentor new teachers in low-performing schools.

Make it easier for outside talent to move in? Paying teachers more? Until I hear some compelling arguments why these aren’t good ideas, I’m giving it a hardy thumbs up. Well done.

Politics No Bad Teachers Left Behind In California