A judge has ruled that Californa’s laws giving school teachers tenure after 18 months is unconstitutional (nytimes) on the grounds that it means some students will be taught by incompetents. But why does that follow? Californians love to pay 50-year-old retirees $100,000+/year for not working (see this article for some statistics; this article, on the other hand, indicates that it is tough for the newly retired to get more than $200,000 per year; this article has some data on what yet-to-retire workers earn). If a school administrator decided that a 24-year-old tenured teacher was incompetent, why would it be against state tradition to pay that person $50,000-100,000/year to stay home and play Xbox? It would cost taxpayers more, admittedly, to send tenured-but-ineffective teachers home and hire replacements, but that’s an accounting/efficiency problem, not a constitutional one. And California taxpayers have a demonstrated willingness to pay public employees without regard to their contributions/efforts.
So why can’t California school systems meet their commitments to teachers (pay without regard to performance) and also to students (teachers meeting a minimum standard in each classroom) simply by adding some more tax dollars?