Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fighting the Myths Around Teacher Tenure

One of the most contentious issues in the current wave of teacher bashing is tenure, which is deceptively and inaccurately portrayed as job protection for life, given to all teachers after a couple of years, regardless of their skill.


For a good analysis of these myths and their truths, check out  What teacher Tenure is and what it isn't

By Kevin Hart

reposted from Education Matters


  1. From the mouth of an experienced educator: Anyone who watches "Waiting for Superman" will know that the lies about tenure. Tenure is only exists now to protect careless, lazy teachers while aiding in the disintegration of the effectiveness of the American educational system. In order for a teacher to lose his/her job, that person would have to do something extraordinarily awful, such as abuse or assaulting a student. Children deserve excellent teachers and to be a part of an exciting learning environment, and many of them are not afforded that right. We have a duty to fight for young people, resulting in a better future for everyone.

  2. You may be a case in point. Your writing is full of mistakes. (Hopefully your teaching is more accurate).

    In any case, your arguments are equally full of errors. Tenure exists to provide due process for teachers, to prevent them from being fired arbitrarily or vindictively, not to protect bad teachers. In a culture where collaboration and open, honest communication about curriculum, structure and reform are essential, you do not want the most important stakeholders to be silenced out of fear that they will be fired for being critical of bad or dangerous policies.

    It is also quite easy for teachers to lose their jobs, as we are seeing across the country with the massive layoffs. Many tenured teachers ARE being canned. Teachers who refuse to do their duties or who repeatedly get bad reviews can and are fired. However, administrators rarely do their jobs well and fail to review teachers sufficiently to make this assessment, so some mediocre and bad teachers do fall through the cracks. This is not a failure of the tenure system, but of its regulation.

    Children do deserve excellent teachers, but it is a myth that the schools are filled with terrible ones. What is killing the American educational system is the failure of Americans to adequately fund it AND the growing income disparity that is destroying the living standards of increasing numbers of children.