Time Magazine has chosen to dedicate its Nov. 3, 2014 issue’s cover to bad teachers. The cover photo shows a judge’s gavel about to smash a shiny red apple – the kind often found symbolizing teachers and education. Alongside the graphic it says “Rotten Apples: It’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher.” The article inside the magazine is entitled “The War on Teacher Tenure,” according to a Huffington Post report on Monday. As one can imagine, many in the teaching profession are beyond livid over the magazine’s decision to lambast the profession – just as any profession would be vehemently opposed to such incredibly bad publicity.
The introduction to the extremely opinionated piece in the magazine states that it is really difficult to fire a bad teacher – and, furthermore, a group of Silicon Valley investors wants to change the situation. The article begins by telling about Rolf M. Treu, a Los Angeles County trial-court judge, ruling in the case of Vergara v. California. The judge has made headlines by ending California laws that have been around for approximately 50 years.
They are laws that have been about teacher tenure and other job protections. The laws were being challenged on the allegation that the laws have violated California’s constitution. In brief form, according to Treu’s decision, it can be said that he found tenure and other job protections to make it difficult to get rid of a teacher – and, he continues, bad teachers substantially undermine a child’s education.
Regardless of the story Time wishes to write about, the artwork on the issue’s cover- accompanied the phrase stating that it is nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher – has gotten teachers’ unions near and far to give a immediate negative response. In fact, a representative from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) asserts that a petition from the AFT asking the magazine to apologize for the cover has in access of 72,000 signatures.
The petition states that the cover is particularly disappointing because the articles inside the magazine present a much more balanced view of the issue. The petition most aptly says, “But for millions of Americans, all they’ll see is the cover and a misleading attack on teachers.” There is little arguing this point. Beyond the petition, a hashtag reading #TIMEfail garnered more than 21,500 tweets on social media networks. #BoycottTIME popped up as well. Thus far, there has been no apology from Time regarding the negative cover on its November issue. The discontent displayed by educators and their associations does not appear to be going away soon.
Back in 2008, there was a teacher backlash against Time as well, according to the Washington Post. At that time its cover displayed then-D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee standing in a classroom. In the photo, she was holding a broom. The headline was “How To Fix America’s Schools.” That piece was about Rhee battling against bad teachers.