Ex LA Union Head Duffy to Run Charters, Restrict Tenure

Former UTLA union head A.J. Duffy will change course by opening a charter and restricting teacher tenure.

A. J. Duffy

A. J. Duffy

Most in the education world know of A.J. Duffy as the former head of the United Teachers of Los Angeles — a status quo protector of teachers’ rights and virulently anti-charter. But Duffy, along with the times, appears to have changed, writes the LA Times.

Term limits forced Duffy from office with the UTLA in July of 2011, and with his new-found freedom, he will become the Executive Director of Apple Academy Charter Schools. By the fall of 2012, Duffy hopes to have an application approved to open a charter school in South Los Angeles.

At this school, Duffy says he’d like to make tenure — a measure of job protection for teachers currently too close to a rubber stamp — more difficult to earn. He’d like to see teachers demonstrate that they’re effective and to speed up the dismissal process for underperforming teachers.

Under Duffy, the union was, in LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s words, “one unwavering roadblock to reform” — and now Duffy is set to champion several of the reform causes the UTLA so strongly opposed under his leadership.

At Reason.com, Nick Gillespie writes that he wishes Duffy luck, and congratulates him on not having to deal with himself as the UTLA’s head.

E.D. Kain writes that in his view, getting rid of bad teachers and protecting good ones doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.

The LA Times editorial board argues that it doesn’t much matter why Duffy had a change of heart, and that instead what’s important is the reflection of a shift in education policy attitudes.

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September 6th, 2011

Staff Reporter EducationNews.org

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