Teacher tenure is life-long job protection for teachers who have been employed as a teacher for one or more years depending on the state. The purpose of teacher tenure is to protect teachers from being fired for political or personal reasons. It also prevents school districts from eliminating experienced teachers in favor of less expensive teachers. The fundamental problem with teacher tenure is that it is given to a teacher after only one year on the job and requires little to no additional effort. The increased job security breeds complacency in many teachers who are teaching only to collect a paycheck. There is a need for teacher tenure but the program must be drastically reformed.
What is Tenure?
Tenure is a policy that basically gives teachers a lifetime contract. It prevents teachers from being fired for something small all the way up to severe misconduct or incompetence. . Tenure began in the early 20th century. It was meant to protect teachers from wrongful termination. In that time race, personal bias, and politics could get even very effective teachers fired. Women were often targeted when they got married or became pregnant. With tenure, even if a school district tries to fire an incompetent teacher or one who is guilty of misconduct it can become very difficult and expensive It also protected teachers whose research or teaching practices might be considered “out-of-the-box.”
The Positive Side of Teacher Tenure
Tenure is in place to protect teachers. Many teachers are very dedicated to what they do and go above and beyond what is required regardless of their pay scale; tenure is in place to protect teachers like this. Teachers that have proven that they are in the classroom to make a difference in the life of a child are the ones that tenure was meant to protect.
Tenure is also in place to protect experienced, “expensive,” teachers from being fired for cost cutting measures. Since salary is determined by the amount of experience, administrations could maximize a payroll budget by cutting out the more experienced teachers in favor of less expensive, inexperienced teachers.
Another great thing about tenure is that it allows teachers to have a teaching style that may conflict with the style of the administration. Without tenure, teachers could possibly become clones. Each one the same as the other without an ounce of originality, because many would worry that originality could cost them their jobs. Students need creativity in the classroom since each one has a unique learning style. Tenure allows teachers to approach subject matter in a way they feel will be the most effective for their students.
Tenure also allows teachers the protection needed to challenge administration. This way, teachers can act on the behalf of students or other faculty that have received unfair treatment. With tenure, a teacher can go out on a limb and stand up for what he or she thinks is right without the fear of termination.
Back in the days...