Paul Rigmaiden: Educators need protection

June 16, 2014 

Regarding “Ruling targets teacher laws” (Page A1, June 11): Teachers have “permanent status,” not tenure.

A procedure exists for dismissing teachers, which guarantees due process and objective examination of the facts.

I have been an elementary teacher in Modesto since 1986. During that time, I have served my school’s community in a variety of areas: curriculum committees, school site council, mentor teacher, supervisor of student teachers and as a union representative.

In order to expand and enhance my knowledge of the subject matter I teach, I earned a master’s degree in the humanities. In order to increase my expertise, I earned a Ph.D. in education with a specialization in teaching and learning.

I never received an unsatisfactory evaluation until this past school year. My evaluation had less to with the quality of instruction and more to do with the manner in which I express myself. I did not get the evaluation overturned, despite the fact that I wrote an extensive rebuttal, supporting my comments with research. It’s just that the opinion of the person who evaluated me had precedence.

This is why we need tenure for teachers. Without the protection tenure offers, it is possible I could have been summarily dismissed.

Paul Rigmaiden, Modesto

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