To Tenure or Not to Tenure?
Why does every high school have that one really old teacher that should be retired and be checked into retirement home? Why does it seem like that one teacher does everything but teach their subject? Having this teacher makes high school even more dreadful than it already is. So why is it that this so called “teacher” is able to keep their job, but the cool teacher down the hall, who actually ignites the potential that every student has stashed in their mind has to live day to day not knowing whether or not they will have a job at the end of the semester. The answer boys and girls; tenure.
What is tenure? According to Dictionary.com, tenure is a status granted to a teacher usually after a probationary period that protects him or her from dismissal except for gross misconduct, or financial necessity. In other words, a teacher can stay as long as they want , as long as they are granted tenure, regardless of their performance. Every other job is based on how well you, as an individual, perform, why should teachers be treated differently? Well, it gives teacher’s academic freedom, they can teach whatever they want as long as it’s within their subject. Doesn’t that sound a little like our first amendment? “Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief.” Is tenure really that necessary for teachers?
Why can’t tenured teachers just be fired? Firing a tenured teacher is actually a very strenuous and expensive task. According to scholastic.com, an average of 2 out of 95,000 tenured teachers are dismissed each year for poor performance. A way to fix this may be to higher better quality teachers or to have a hiring process that can eliminate the applicants who are not great candidates. Like all jobs, you will have applicants who have the qualifications but do not have the drive that is needed to do the work. Another great solution would be to offer advanced training once they are hired. Bonuses could be offered to the educators that choose to take on advanced training; if bonuses aren’t possible, then some other typer of reward could be offered. By implementing some of these solutions, the teaching profession could be made into a more attractive career choice to college students who are in the education field.
I think it’s fair to say that most teachers come out of college motivated; ready to revamp the educational world. Everybody has had that fun teacher that made going to high school fun. That teacher, more than likely, was highly motivated and excited to teach. That motivation and “spunk” quickly comeS to a screeching halt, for most, as soon as they receive that job security. That not only hurts the institution, but also our students. Our students have a lot of pressure from our society to succeed, but should the finger be pointed at them for recent disappointing world rankings? According to Newsweek.com, the United States are currently ranked 26th in education. The difference between kids from Finland and kids from the United States isn’t that their kids are smarter, it’s that they are getting better quality of education.
According to Lawers.com, some states are trying to do away with the tenure process by suggesting one-year contracts and salary based on student performance. This will show which teacher does the best job with their students. This bill be able to weed out the bad teachers. Since every teacher will be on a yearly salary, they will evaluated at the end of the year. If there is no change in the students performance in four years then the teacher will lose state certification. Not only will this motivate teachers, but it will also inspire competition, which will in turn better help children that are in public schools. The argument against this section of the proposed bill is that this will scare students from wanting to enter the field. This argument has no merit. Every entry-level job comes with low job security, why should teaching be treated differently? If you perform well, then it will be rewarded with a higher salary and better job security.
In conclusion, our education system is in dire need of educators that can tap into our students potential and inspire them to do great things. We need a change in our dated system and replace it with a new one. A way to do just that would be to replace our tenure law and change it to a system that would make the teacher accountable for their students scores.