Teaching has always been a tough, thankless job. Back before the teachers’ unions managed to give members of the profession some degree of security it was a job that allowed hiring and firing at the whim of the educational powers-that-be. In recent years there have been complaints that teachers’ unions have taken the system too far the other way and that it is now impossible to get rid of bad teachers, thereby making it impossible for students--particularly minority students--to get a good education. That was the argument made by the nine students before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu in Vergara vs State of California. Judge Treu saw it their way. Plaintiff Julia Macias, entering high school this year, said Judge Treu’s decision proved “students have a voice and can demand change when we stand together.”
This is one of those rare times when we can say with no attempt at flippancy, that we feel strongly about both sides of this debate. How can we not sympathize with students who feel their futures have been jeopardized by poor teachers and entrenched bureaucracy? And how can we ignore the feelings of those good teachers -- certainly the vast majority -- who believe their careers and their family’s future is now in jeopardy from over-zealous politicians, looking for quick fixes to complex funding problems? We can’t…
What we can do is hope this is settled in the best interests of both parties. We can imagine nothing that is more important than students -- every student -- getting the first-class education that our children deserve and that this country desperately needs to stay at the forefront of nations. Nor can we think of anything more likely to ensure them a first-class education than first-class teachers -- a commodity unlikely to flourish in the absence of secure employment.
In the meantime, we here at RobotsLAB will continue to develop the robotic digital-teaching tools that will complement those first-class teachers and assist them in keeping their students engaged and convinced that they're receiving first-class educations.