Is the security of aneducator’s job worth the risk of poor education to students? Teacher tenure began back in the year 1886 in Massachusettsand then slowly began to be adopted by other schools throughout the United States.Tenure is defined as the status granted to an employee, usually after aprobationary period, indicating that the position or employment is permanent. Theidea of tenure really began to become popular and be adopted by other states inthe early 1900’s when many female teachers were advocating on the behalf ofwoman’s rights. Since women were dominant in the career field of education,there needed to be some sort of protection for their jobs in the educationsystems throughout the nation.
History shows that when a new principal was hired, theywere given the ability to fire whomever they wanted and then hire anyone theychose. If a new principal wanted his friends on staff he could do so, despitethe fact that the teachers already working at the school were successfullydoing their jobs. Other examples of thisunfair use of power would come with the swing in politics after an election, orcould be based on gender or even race. It was clear that there needed to besomething put in place quickly to protect all teachers from unfair advantagesthat the school authorities had. Tenure was implemented at a time when it was needed, buttoday tenure has more negatives outcomes than positive ones. Teacher tenure cancreate laziness and complacency because teachers know that once they aregranted tenure the likelihood of them being fired is slim to none.
Second,tenure makes it very challenging and expensive to fire bad teachers that havenegative impacts on students and schools. Lastly, there is no need for tenurelike there used to be in years past. The job field for educators is competitiveand does not need extra incentives for working. Some might argue that tenure isstill protecting teachers and prohibits less experienced teachers to take thejobs of more experienced teachers, but these reasons do not come close tomaking tenure acceptable. During a probation period of up to five years, principalsaround the country closely watch teachers to evaluate whether or not they willreceive tenure. Once teachers receive tenure it cannot easily be revoked,knowing this can cause a teacher to become lazy in their job position and notbe up to date with the latest technology or data. Instead of teachers workingto incorporate innovative techniques into their classroom, they just do thebare minimum tasks. For the good of the education of the American population,tenure should be removed so that teachers are motivated to better themselves aseducators.
If a teacher becomes stagnate in his or her educationalposition and are not presenting good educational results, the schoolauthorities are left with little to no options. Firing a tenured teacher isvery expensive and time consuming. The process is multi-layered andcomplicated. According to an article titled, “Fat-Check: Just How Many TenuredTeachers Are Fired Each Year Anyway?”, peopleused to estimate that one in forty tenured teachers were fired for poorperformance but now, “…data suggests that it’s more like one in500 tenured teachers.
” The court systemsmust get involved as well as the administration from the school. If the teacheris suspended while his/her case is looked over, he/she still receives pay whilethe courts and administration look over reasons for firing. This in turn incurscosts like wages for a substitute.
“It costs an average of$250,000 to fire a teacher in New York City” (ProCon.org par 6). The cost required to fire a teacher could payanother teacher for roughly six years.
Some people say that tenure is needed to ensure thatteachers will be able to teach freely and that they will not be fired for non-justifiablereasons. In today’s world, our courtsystem is capable of making sure this does not happen. Instead of havingproactive measures taken, which are resulting in many bad side effects, weshould let the courts handle any unfair situations like they already do. Somealso say that tenure protects less experienced teachers from taking the placeof experienced teachers, but this is the very thing that makes teachers better.A good competitive environment for teachers would result in teachers makingsure that they were being effective educators. A long term contract may be analternative to the tenured status. “As per Tiemey (1998), the strength of long-termcontracts ‘is that it enhances institutionalflexibility, provides the opportunity to downsize academic areas that may no longer be of academicinterest, and ensures that academics maintain a degree of scholarly vitality if they want to be renewed foran additional term’ (p.
48)” (McGrath).This type of long termcontract would give educators the opportunity to work hard and to continue toprove that they have the necessary skills to keep their job. In addition tothis, new teachers bring lots of innovative teaching strategies in to schools, asthey have just graduated college. It is very important that teachers stay competitive and notget complacent in their jobs. Teachers are the very people that have theresponsibility of educating our nation. Teachers have a big responsibility placedon their shoulders and they must be held accountable to take their jobseriously. Tenure in its simplest form guarantees that teachers receivedue process but, teachers like every other American citizen, are already giventhis right.
This then begs the question: what is tenure really giving teachers?Furthermore, the opposing side would say that tenue is earned and not justfreely given out to teachers. But then does that mean that due process is onlya right given to teachers who are able to impress the principal who is givingtenure? We as a nation should not settle on this issue and putthe education of students in jeopardy. It is not mindful of the taxpayers, whodo not necessarily have job security in their own jobs, to pay thousands ofdollars to the education system, for this to continue on.
Tenure is ultimatelydepriving students. It is removing motivation for good teachers to be betterand more importantly protecting bad teachers from being fired. Instead of offering tenure to teachers, we should provideincentives for teachers to work hard and be successful. These incentives couldinclude: pay raises for time committed to a certain school, bonuses for hightest scores, or extra time for paid leave as a result of high ratings fromstudents and parents.
Pay raises, for example could work like this: every twoyears that a teachers stays with a school and preforms his or her necessaryduties, he or she makes five thousand dollars more. Other professions have touse similar incentives to keep encouraging their employees to stay with theircompany, so it should be no different in this case. As the educational system remains complicated and hasover the years been declining in its success, we, as consumers of theeducational system, need to take a firm stand to repeal outdated policies.
Tenure is one example of this type of “outdated” policy. The policy was enactedto protect vulnerable educators in the 1900’s, but is now protectingpotentially harmful and ineffective educators. Changing this firmly rooted educational policywill take educating Americans and building a broad base of support. Along withincreasing awareness and support from a large population, taking this issue tothe judicial system is necessary. It will take the higher court of law tomodify or amend the tenure policy of educators. In conclusion, tenure to educators once served as anecessary protection to a wrongful termination. The educational system is nowinhibited from its optimal performance partly due to the tenured educators itemploys.
The permanent status of educators with tenured status, can potentiallydecrease the productivity of the educator and complacency may settle in easier.Although some may say that tenure is still necessary to protect educators andgive them due process, our judicial system is advanced enough and set up tohandle matters such as this. It will take educating the general public andcreating a solid base of support in order to approach the modification of thetenure process in the higher courts in each individual state.
Is the tenurededucator effective or non-effective in today’s educational system? As weevaluate the health of the educational system in America, we must approach eachdelicate issue with the next generation in mind. WorksCited”Teacher Tenure -ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines,teachertenure.
procon.org/.McGrath, Patricia.HE PERCEPTIONS OF TENURE AND ALTERNATIVES TO TENURE AMONG FACULTY AT A MID-SIZED REGIONALUNIVERSITY IN A LARGE NORTHEASTERN STATE. rdw.
“Fact-Check: JustHow Many Tenured Teachers Are Fired Each Year Anyway? (Hint: Not Many).” The 74 FactCheck Just How Many Tenured Teachers Are Fired Each Year Anyway Hint Not ManyComments, www.the74million.org/article/fact- check-just-how-many-tenured-teachers-are-fired-each-year-anyway-hint-not- many/.