by Mrs. Sabraw
I abandoned public education in 1998 after spending 26 years in the system. A host of tenured teachers in our English department, vocal proponents of the California Teachers’ Association, helped to make that decision easy.
I opened my own after-school program, which focused on writing, grammar, and literary analysis. In five years, we had an enrollment of 1000 students who paid to enroll in classes in the Fall, Winter, and Summer Sessions. Their parents could afford to pay for the instruction, instruction which should have been taking place one mile down the road at the local high school. Thank you Tenure!
Justices Cantil-Sakaue, Corrigan, Kruger, and Werdegar: I present you with a true story of Tenured Teacher A and her modus operandi:
Assign a literary analysis paper on September 15 to gifted sophomores in high school, whose academic goals include a 4.2 GPA, admission to Cal and Stanford, and 4-5’s on all AP tests.
When the first drafts come in on September 21, collect them—all 100 papers from three sections of 35 students each.
Put the papers in your car, take them home, and set them on top of your dresser.
Don’t read the papers.
When the students finally work up the nerve to inquire how the papers are coming, tell them the papers are so terrible that it is taking you forever to get through them. That’s right: if you create anxiety, the students, Asians and East Indian kids in particular, will work harder.
On October 15, carry the unread papers back into your classroom. In all three classes, announce to your eager students that you have not made one mark on any of the papers because, frankly, after reading them, you were appalled. Then say, “ Would you like to redo your papers for a better grade, or should I correct them this weekend?”
All students readily agree to take their unmarked papers home.
On October 22, collect the second draft of the papers.
One month later, on November 22, right before the Thanksgiving holiday, return the papers with a tentative grade in pencil at the top. Again, do not make any marks on the papers.
Tell the students that if they redo their papers one more time, perhaps the pencil grade will become an inked higher grade. Don’t tell them that you have put B’s and C’s on all papers.
During the Thanksgiving holiday, your students will work feverishly.
Collect the final drafts on December 5, take them home during the Winter Break and return the graded essays in early January.
Good job! You have only corrected one paper the entire semester while the little beaver down the hall in Room N-9 has corrected 4 papers in that time period. What a little sucker she is.
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Justices: Your decision not to take up Vergara v. State of California was at best disappointing; at worst, irresponsible.
Thank you Justices Chin, Liu, and Cuellar for your dissents.
Tenure for public school teachers is bad.