We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This is only a big deal because public school teachers are so often unionized. Pre-teachers unions, they were professionals - meaning that their work was subject to their own conscience, honor, best reasonable effort, etc., - and the judgement of those paying the salary. Today, only private school teachers can be regarded as true professionals, even though I acknowledge the vast numbers of utterly dedicated public school teachers (including many who bemoan the industrialization of their chosen field).
Why should teachers get tenure anyway? Nobody else does, not even pastors.
As in the post below about medical insurance, teaching should be opened up. Throw out those worthless teaching degrees and let the marketplace decide. I'd bet there are plenty of retired guys who would love to teach math or literature or history, and could do a better job than kids just out of their education degrees.
The best English teacher two of my kids had (in private school) was a retired Sports Illustrated writer and editor. He knew his way around choice of words and the construction of sentences, but the "idea" and the "image" were keys. Essay structure had to be perfect, Francis Bacon-style.
And with grammar, he would have ripped my posts to shreds (but I "fly casual" at Maggie's, conversational English - and it is a relief for me to do so).
It will be interesting to see if the firings "stick." Living up to contractual obligations seems out of favor in DC these days. There are plenty of lawyers around to file enough law suits to make things financially troublesome for the district.
The volume of screams is based on who's Ox was gored. And the ox of the teachers union was gored hard. the problem is, what else could the teacher's union scream about? They get PAID by their members (as does any union) to scream LOUD when members are terminated. They are like professional wail-ers hired by the funeral director to enhance the misery of the funeral. Oh! They will be missed so much! Listen to the wailing coming from the next room. So the teachers pay the funeral director to make some wails... and that gets duly published. But I venture that when the arbitrator only reinstates two of the fired (or none), that will be found in the lower right of page nine.
Professional or not is just semantics. What you want is smart. As for tenure, it is just part of negotiating the pay. You can eliminate job security but you will have to pay more. And that might be a trade off you want to make.
Like every other group of human beings, teachers' competence falls under a bell curve; now and then someone has the courage to prune the low-performing end a bit. Repeat after me: THERE'S NOT ENOUGH UNEMPLOYMENT YET.