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A Matter of Debate

Debates and discussions on the big issues in education

Should Teachers Have Tenure?

Tenure gives teachers job security. But critics say tenure makes it hard to get rid of underperforming teachers. Is it the best way to attract talent to the profession, or something that prevents principals from giving kids their best chance at success? We've got two heavy hitters in the education field weighing in on the pros and cons. Read what they have to say, then join the discussion!

expert opinion: No

by

Geoffrey Canada


Educational Activist and President of Harlem Children's Zone

Our nation is in the midst of a crisis in public education and because teachers are critical to the academic success of our children, the profession needs to attract and retain the best and brightest. Teachers need to know that they will not be fired arbitrarily, but the current tenure system in many school systems has gone too far. A system that favors seniority and ignores merit sends a terrible signal to anyone thinking about teaching.

Principals need to be able to evaluate their teachers, using student achievement as a starting point, then make staffing decisions based on the needs of the children, not on the needs of the adults. In poor neighborhoods, many students have unstable home lives, get terrible health care, and face a constant threat of violence – they can’t afford a lousy teacher. So while we need to address all the obstacles to a child’s success, we need to demand more of teachers, pay them accordingly and create a system where they will be judged on their ability to make a difference in the lives of the children sitting in their classrooms.

Expert opinion: yes

by

John Wilson


Executive Director of the National Education Association

First I want to commend Mr. Canada for the great work the Harlem Children’s Zone does in addressing the challenges of poverty, which affects one out of five children in our nation today. We owe the same to every poor child and the people who work hard to teach them.

The term “tenure” itself is misleading. NEA worked to establish fair procedures that protect good teachers from personal, political and discriminatory actions by employers, while allowing for the dismissal of incompetent teachers. These protections should be earned through a relevant and rigorous process, and employers can make this process easier by only hiring teachers who are competent, qualified and caring in the first place. It is time to restore the standards for entry into the profession that lawmakers have weakened in recent years, and create teacher education programs that attract high achieving students and prepare them for the 21st Century teaching environment.

What's Your Opinion?

Please respect this as a forum for the thoughtful exchange of ideas.

Should Teachers Have Tenure?

Opinions (85)

  • Yes

    jirwin: Having pay in accordance with merit is the ideal situation in order to provide the right incentives for teachers to do well. I'm sure that some tenured teachers might slack off if their position has become too secure, however I don't think this is the norm. Most teachers try really hard despite lousy pay, for purely altruistic reasons. There is no need to deny benefits to all teachers, just because a few may slack off.

    The tricky part is determining a teacher's merit. Tests alone are not a good judge, relying on them doesn't always lead to smart independent kids who are self-learners. It leads to teachers just teaching for the test. Furthermore if you rate teachers by how high the students scores are, you penalize teachers who have disadvantaged kids. If you rate teachers by how much the students improve on tests, you penalize teachers who have bright students to begin with who don't have much more room for improvement. A de-emphasis on just test scores is needed, with more in class evaluation by other teachers, evaluations by former students, and other innovative ideas.


    Recommended by 35 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 6, 2010
  • No

    Redwood_City_Mom: I think teachers have one of the most important jobs in our country and I cherish my children's teachers like they're part of my family.  I've loved my kids teachers because they have each gone above and beyond the call of duty to challenge and encourage my children while making school fun and helping my kids develop a love of learning.  I know we are incredibly lucky to have had those kinds of teachers and it breaks my heart to think about all the parents who send their kids to teachers every day who are the opposite of my kids teachers.  

    A teacher who can't or won't provide the education that every child deserves, doesn't deserve to have the job.  

    It's just a fact that human beings are motivated by carrots and sticks.  I work hard at my job because I know there are rewards available to me if I do so consistently.  And I do my job well even when I don't feel like it because I know if I don't my company will find someone else who will.  

    Teachers have neither the carrots or the sticks that most working people in our country have.  That all needs to change.

    While the logic is simple, I know the implementation is not easy.  There's a lot to figure out - how to measure a "good" teacher, how much to invest in a "bad" teacher before letting her go, how to fund the "carrots".  But we're a country full of smart people, and if we'd get out of our own way, and stop letting the teacher's unions convince us and our politicians that tenure is necessary, we'd take a big step in the right direction.

    By the way, if you ever ask a GREAT elementary school teacher if he thinks teachers should have tenure - his answer will be "no"...try it for yourself.


    Recommended by 26 users
    Voted: No, Oct 7, 2010
  • carmazon: I'm not sure where the disagreement is.  Mr. Canada says  'teachers need to know that they will not be fired arbitrarily."  All tenure laws do is  ensure teachers due process rights, but they can still be terminated for cause.  So where's the debate?


    Recommended by 23 users
    Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    flynn204: Tenure does keep bad teachers.  Bad administrators keep bad teachers.  Bad administrators can't be bothered to do their job properly.  Tenure becomes a non-issue when administrators are doing their job.


    Recommended by 22 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    IRONcoreMAN: Having Tenure assures employment from year to year.  As result of tenure, I know that I will have a job next year, provided there are students to teach.

    Tenure does not, will not, and can not protect anyone from dismissal resulting from  insubordination or using ineffectual poor teaching practices.  

    I don't mind having an administrator come in to my class for an evaluation.  But, they along with politicians need to stay out.  Education is in progress.  I currently have 85% of my students performing at proficient, advanced or above on the End Of Course.  5% of the kids refuse to be taught, I can't save them when they refuse to reach for life lines.

    Some children need to be left behind.


    Recommended by 17 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    ddkona: Tenure doesn't mean guaranteed job for life. It does value seniority, and does give priority for transfers in the district. It protects against arbitrary firings or evaluations. I would like to hear Canada speak more from his own experience rather than in generalities as he does here. For example, does he let his more senior teachers go when he sees the bright and shiny ones come to take their place. How does he deal with the issues of stability, respect, loyalty? Has he had to make those decisions? Why? Why not? The way he and his "reformer" friends speak, it is as if the main problem is lousy teachers. Is it? Where's the evidence of that? I guess the test scores, especially as shared in the WFS docu-drama. All I can say is TG for Unions, because with this type of mentality sweeping across the country, it will be a perpetual hunting season for anyone who has the power to fire at will, for whatever reason, just because they can.


    Recommended by 12 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    bobtx3: The current tenure system allows school systems 3 years to determine whether or not a person is qualified to provide the children of that district with a quality education. This time is sufficient to weed out those who do not fit the mold of the districts expectations. In addition, there are processes in place to remove teachers, even with tenure, from positions if they are not providing a quality service to the district. With out tenure, school districts would be free to remove even the best teachers because they are too expensive (especially in hard economic times) or the administrator has a relative who needs a job. This would leave school districts with inexperience teaching staffs at all times; a shift that would not be good for education.


    Recommended by 12 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 8, 2010
  • PattyS: Teachers are so important to our country. We need to make sure that all are highly qualified, but at the same time, recognize that substantive due process is not available to our teachers in many states. If they were guaranteed due process, the discussion regarding tenure would be more appropriate. Unfortunately, in the discussions regarding Race to the Top, there is a hurry to by-pass the legislative process of truly guaranteeing teachers the rights that others have in their professions.


    Recommended by 11 users
    Oct 8, 2010
  • carcon22: I think they should be able to have tenure but I think it should be harder to get and it should not be so final.  I think yes, it should exist, but it should be in a different form that allows the good teachers to have some security while bad teaching can be more easily addressed.  If tenure ceased to exist, there would be even fewer teachers than there are, and they would be of even lower quality.  The whole thing could be changed if the teachers were actually paid a decent salary.


    Recommended by 10 users
    Oct 6, 2010
  • Yes

    aksfrog: In an career where politics play a big role , teachers need tenure.  The administrators should hire teachers that are good and the tenure will never be an issue.  The biggest issue isn't teachers but the fact they are not allowed to really teach.  They are so worried about parents and test scores that it takes away from the process.  Parents should have a role but also support teachers.   I see too many parents taking their son or daughters view and not the adult (teacher). For every bad teacher there are 10 good ones.   Those 10 good ones that don't stay in education i will because they cannot handle the parents and how there isn't any support there.   Most teachers teach because they love it.  Let's face it, it can't be for the money.  Compare teachers pay to a doctor or lawyer.  Just doesn't seem right because they wouldn't be where they are without a teacher!!


    Recommended by 10 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    MidwestInstructor: Yes!  Tenure in Illinois means due process.  It does not and has never meant the inability to remove teachers. Tenure can protect teachers who stand up for their students, their colleagues or themselves in the face of any number of abuses.  If and when there are underperforming educators and they are not remediated or removed it is due to incompetent or politically corrupt administrators.  For example, in recent years, in one area school district, principals needed to belong to the Republican party.  In some smaller area districts, some supervisory employees are related to school board members and favoritism and nepotism are rampant.  It is often only with union protection and tenure due process that teachers can survive to teach their students in such situations.
    And merit pay is an illusion.  Who judges the merit?  Is it the same principal who plays favorites or is too lazy to actually evaluate his or her teachers?  Do you get to discount the behavior disorder students' purposeful low test scores as part of your evaluation and merit pay scheme?  Do only the math and science teachers get "merit pay" if student standardized state test scores improve?  What about the rest of those teaching other subjects?  If my students improve their reading tests by three years in one year, but are still behind their grade level, do I merit a pay raise?    
    I have no problem with accountability.  For 32 years I was accountable every day to my students, their families and my administrators.  I had to show job placements in our career field with area employers and colleges.  Under the rules of the day I completed advanced degrees and hundreds of additional hours of training and workshops--and they made me a better instructor.  But my job was no more worthy of additional pay than any other teacher in any other class.  We all have jobs to do and the challenges are different every day and different in every classroom and lab.


    Recommended by 10 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 9, 2010
  • JRayCT: Tenure is not a vehicle teachers use as an excuse not to do their jobs, it is a vehicle for administrators to use as an excuse not to do theirs. Administrators are the ones saying that teachers cannot be fired because they are tenured, not teachers or union officials. This excuse means that administrators don't have to do observations, or provide coaching or professional development to their teachers who desperately want these things.

    I as a teacher, I don't really want more salary, although it would be nice. I want to be able to go to more conferences, to take more courses, to network with other great teachers, to refine my craft. That is where the money needs to be spent. Send me on a three day conference to learn the most modern pedagogy, or provide me with a literacy coach that can come into my classroom and offer real suggestions. Don't blame me for not doing something I am not trained to do, and don't use the tenure system as an excuse for not providing these tools.


    Recommended by 9 users
    Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    Rita500: I once had a conversation with a Capitol News Bureau reporter here in Louisiana.  He made the statement "tenure protects incompetent teachers."  I know tenure laws were passed here in the 1930's to protect good teachers from the politics which were rampant at that time (Huey Long was governor). I told the reporter that tenure is just a PROCEDURE for FIRING incompetent teachers and that he hadn't done his homework.  I also remember remarking that the laws don't protect incompetent teachers.  Incompetent managers who refuse to do their jobs protect incompetent teachers.  Saying tenure laws should be repealed because there are incompetent teachers makes as much sense as saying laws against murder should be repealed because there are still murders despite the laws against it.  It's hard to believe this debate (with the same misinformation) is still going on after all these years.


    Recommended by 9 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    Alicia26: In my state, tenure does not protect a "bad" teacher.  It only means there be a valid, documented reason for dismissal.  Tenure protects a teacher from being fired because a board member's nephew needs a job or a principal's pastor's daughter just graduated with her teaching degree and wants to teach Kindergarten!  It keeps teachers from being let go without a fair and just reason.  Without tenue, that can happen in my state.    Yes, an adminstrator will have to document a teacher's lack of ability, and then the teacher will be given a chance to improve and if he/she does not improve in a given time frame, then he or she is terminated.  I don't know what tenure means in other states, but in only means fairness in my state and I am thankful for it.  In my state you only earn tenure after you are hired for your 3rd year straight in the same school district and work your first day of the 3rd school year.  What is so bad about tenure in my state?  Nothing!  Tenure doesn't keep "bad" teachers.  Poor administrators who don't won't to rise to the expectations of their job are the problem, not tenure!  Teachers need tenure!    


    Recommended by 9 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    retiredlife: I am retired from the classroom but I well remember the person I teamed with in one school who needed to find another career.  If there had been an effective evaluation system in place which was properly executed by the administration, that person would have been released from employment.  Bacause there was virtually no such plan, it took one determined administrator to do what needed to be done to remove that person from the classroom and it took a whole year to accomplish this.  The point being tenure is not the problem, taking the trouble to design and execute an effective evaluation program is often the roadblock.   Education is not an industry.  It is an art.  It's pratitioners cannot be treated the same manner that a professional in industry can be dismissed.  The trick is removing subjectivity, evaluator bias and personality differences from the process.  Student test scores are poor predictors of teacher effectiveness unless all students a standardized and have the same learning styles and personalities.


    Recommended by 9 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 9, 2010
  • Yes

    1learner: This whole debate is a distraction. In reality, most teachers range between "pretty good" and excellent. Getting rid of every "bad" teacher will do far less to improve schools than we could accomplish by helping good teachers become even better.

    Secondly, the currently dominant model of teacher evaluation doesn't work all that well, because only a minority of school site administrators have the ability to conduct useful evaluations.

    Third, the frequently proposed alternative of evaluation based on test scores would be even worse than the current model. Nearly every teacher knows this, and so do most parents.

    To improve teacher evaluation so that it contributes to increased teacher effectiveness, evaluation must include practitioners - that is self-evaluation and peer evaluation. Teachers have resisted peer evaluation when it is tied to decisions about promotion or firing. But since no one wants to fire most teachers, it should be possible to set up systems involving peer evaluation for those who are doing a good job and want to get better. If these evaluation systems are tied to professional development and support, then they can paly a significant role in improving schools.


    Recommended by 8 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    Alicia26: To:  Redwood City Mom:  In my state the Teacher of the Year for a local school district was let go because she didn't have tenure (and that was honestly the reason).  Guess what - somebody else was hired to take her place in the fall.  I wonder who the person that was hired was related to or knew.........  Don't you think this Teacher of the Year was a GREAT teacher?  I do.


    Recommended by 8 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    lisetrigger: If teachers don't get tenure, then you need to pay them what other professionals are earning---for such high standards---more in the range of $75,000-$100,000/year.  Tenure should reward outstanding and competent teachers a fairly and to keep them in the school system.  It also should help provide fair hearings and grievances so local politics does not affect the retention of good teachers.  We are not grocery store workers.  We need to be paid a fair and equitable salary so we can live in the community where we teach.  Most families do not want to see high teacher turnover.  That's what will happen if tenure is not there.  Good teachers will go where the higher salaries and tenure exist.


    Recommended by 8 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 9, 2010
  • Yes

    Masterteacher09: As long as politics runs education, there should be tenure.


    Recommended by 7 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 11, 2010
  • LeftCoast: While I deeply value my kids' teachers, I can think of no other profession where no matter what you do, your job is safe for life. Needs change, demographics change, children change. It's important for teachers to stay current on newest practices and improve their skill set-- just as this is the case with any other job. Teachers who do not have the motivation and passion to stay at the top of their game should be replaced with those who do. I believe that merit pay is the best answer and though it is not perfect, it provides a glimmer of hope. The sticking point is that teachers will be evaluated by their coworkers-- how do you keep things fair when everyone is competing for the same pool of funds? It should not be based solely on test performance because that penalizes the teachers working with the most at risk kids. Perhaps evaluations from independents, hired for this purpose.


    Recommended by 6 users
    Oct 8, 2010
  • No

    LouiseSattler: Two weeks ago I was one of about 300 educators invited by Oprah to attend her live show regarding the new movie and educational debate- Waiting for Superman-The Reaction Show. It was an wonderful opportunity to meet educators from all over the country and get an idea of what is on the minds of many teachers, parents and administrators. I would have to say that one of the most discussed topics was the reconstruction of our current educational system with the goal to keep the good and get rid of the bad.  Many stated that would begin the revamping of our schools with doing away with some of our "traditions" - such as tenure.  Many who I conversed with did not want to eradicate unions. They simply wanted to keep what was good about unions while making teachers accountable, which meant no more tenure as we know it today.  I often heard the terms- " Business model" or "IBM model" when discussing how teachers should be commended, receive raises and continue to hold their positions.  I also heard phrases like "Show them the door" and "Get rid of slackers" when fellow educators discussed teachers who were deemed unworthy of holding a school position and simply there to collect benefits and a paycheck.

    I am a proud educator.  I thank Education.com for asking this important question.  And I look forward to future discussions.


    Recommended by 6 users
    Voted: No, Oct 8, 2010
  • No

    perceygaynor: I think parents should need to fight for tenure.  Most of the problems I see at my school don't originate with teachers who have jumped through hoops like the BEST porfolio, PRAXIS testing and four years of having hot and cold running administrators running through your classroom disrupting you and your kids a bazillion times a semester.  The problems in schools originate from guilt ridden parents who have let a daycare raise their kids.  Kids have no manners and are numbed out by their phones and iPods.  Both parents and children want a trophy for just showing up.  Heck, after a team scores ten in  a soccer game these days, they stop keeping score.  Guess what?  Your kids still know who really won!  When parents and students decide that the truth is too tough to take, i.e. realize that junior is going to be a D student unless he or she works harder, the teacher is asked to lower his or her standards and basically say, "Okay,  you're right, my master's degree is wrong.  Two plus one is really five, if that's the answer that won't hurt your child's self esteem."  I'm very worried about the future.


    Recommended by 6 users
    Voted: No, Oct 8, 2010
  • Yes

    disheartenedinmissouri: Perhaps it is different in every state, but in Missouri, tenure really means very little.  If a Principal wants to get rid of a teacher for whatever reason (legitimate or not), all they have to do is give a job target, wait the required number of days, say that the teacher has not lived up to expectations, wait until that time period is up (we're talking 6-9 months), then the teacher can be discharged. The truth is, that behind every so-called bad teacher, is an administrator that is not doing their job. No-one seems to want to talk about all the bad administrators out there who bully teachers and who often do not have the best interest of students or teachers at heart.  Many good teachers cannot reach students because of administrative decisions that inhibit and restrict teachers in obtaining needed resources and making critical decisions concerning a student's education. There are some good administrators but there are a lot of bad ones also, but no-one ever talks about them, mainly because most are male. The reason most people do not enter the education field is the low pay, long hours, lax discipline, and lack of respect from students, parents, and the media. Since teaching is primarily made up of women and most administrators are men, I see the media bashing and the lack of respect as sexist and prejudicial. NBC reported about teachers in other countries and how they are honored, how they spend lots of time with the students and how some classrooms have more than one teacher. I also noticed that they did not report on what those teachers were getting paid! I can guarantee that it much more than teachers in this country are paid. It is time and past time for the teachers of America to gain the same respect and honor that other countries place on those who teach!


    Recommended by 6 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 10, 2010
  • No

    Revise23: I have seen too many burned out teachers going through the motions to reach retirement.  A few years back I attended a high school open house where the first words out of the teachers mouth was, "I'm Mr. Smith, and I have taught school for over 27 years and 2-1/2 years until retirement."   No words of encouragement on how he was going to inspire my child.  No enthusiastic plans for how he would entice him to learn and love learning. He was more concerned about his retirement.  I have seen rosters for math classes where over 30% of the children were receiving D's and F's--- 30%!  And this was in a highly ranked school district scoring 27 out of 27 on the state requirements.  Doctors are not granted tenure, in fact most professions I am aware of are not granted tenure.  Teachers sole purpose is to TEACH students.  School districts should be structured in a way that benefits students over teachers.  I do not dispute that good teachers have a tough job, but to reward them with tenure is counterproductive to creating a environment and job position where the best are rewarded because they bring results, not because they have tenure.  

    What benefit do students gain from a teacher gaining tenure?  The teacher absolutely  benefits, but does the student? If tenure did not exist, the BEST would have the experience, so to state experience as a reason to grant tenure is
    inaccurate.  Why grant tenure to hang on to teachers who have lost their zest for teaching? Tenure encourages burned out teachers to keep on teaching.  In most occupations, if you burn-out and under perform, you are fired.  Teachers should not be allowed to coast under the protection of tenure.  Only through rewarding those who teach with positive results, will we see an improvement in student achievement.              


    Recommended by 5 users
    Voted: No, Oct 13, 2010
  • No

    IrishBrian: Like the Teamsters the various Teacher's Unions first priority is to maintain the workforce and the benefit packages associated. Granted protecting good teaches from capricious school administration and school boards is important. No argument.

    Teachers are underpaid, overworked and working conditions in urban environments can be harrowing in the extreme.

    But to allow the unions to protect the rights of incompetent teachers at the expense of students trumps all. One bad teacher can be like the one bad apple proverb.

    Voting down with tenure. My father was an educator (teacher, principal and superintendent) and he gave up the profession he loved. The primary reason was quite simple-the years of dealing with incompetent teachers became intolerable.


    Recommended by 5 users
    Voted: No, Oct 18, 2010
  • No

    marinaccio: When tenure prevents poor teachers from being fired then it's harmful to the education process and results in poor education for kids. Teachers should be re-evaluated regularly just as with other professions.


    Recommended by 5 users
    Voted: No, Nov 16, 2010
  • Yes

    insolidarity: Tenure is not the problem, unions are not the problem, poor administration is the problem.  In cases of underperforming teachers, the administration has turned a blind eye.  Often this happens because the administrator and teacher are from the same community and the administrator has too much "community clout" at stake.  Another reason is that administrators let these teachers go without improvement plans for so many years that after so long there really is nothing an administrator can do. Schools have strong, dedicated teachers who are accountable every day in their classroom.  Let's turn our attention to the administrators who need more back bone by taking on people who really don't belong in the classroom either during their 3 years of probation or as they become inattentive and unfocused in their later years.


    Recommended by 4 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 9, 2010
  • althomp: Teachers are consistently being assessed. It is not like how everyone would like to think it is, that we go to work, and no one pays attention to what we do and how we teach. In my state, and most others, there is an evaluating system for teachers. This system allows administrators to enter a teacher's classroom and use a standardized method to evaluate the way a teacher teaches. Teachers are observed four times a year for their first 3 years, and then twice a year every three years after that. This system is in place to identify those teachers that are doing all they can for their students and those who are not. I as a teacher often feel insulted by these evaluations, but there is a need for them based on this debate. If there is ever any problem with a teacher, a principal hears about it from parents, typically then the principal will go and observe things in the classroom and if they are satisfied with the teachers's performance nothing happens. If there is a problem then the principal and teacher create a plan to resolve any issues.  Most professionals are not required to have someone check up on them regularly. Please keep in mind: teachers are not in it for the money, if we were, well we wouldn't be teachers. Teachers are doing what they can to help their students succeed in their lives.

    Merit pay according to test scores is unfair and demeaning to teachers. It punishes those teachers that are working with disadvantaged students, and rewards those lucky teachers who get the smart students. If we all moved to merit pay, then no one would be willing to teach in those disadvantaged communities and the gap between students would just grow greater.


    Recommended by 4 users
    Oct 10, 2010
  • Yes

    jdlaw: My husband, who works in the business world, was let go from a  job because he was the highest paid person in his rank.  It was not because he was underperforming, or a poor manager. Plenty of people have these types of stories.  Student deserve veteran teacher with high skills.  Students shouldn't lose great teachers because they are the highest paid in a system.  


    Recommended by 4 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 12, 2010
  • Tenurehelpsall: LeftCoast brings up the erroneous idea that tenure means a job for life.  Tenure means that teachers are protected against unfair firing practices, and against vindictive attacks by parents, administrators, and townspeople.  Tenure means that teachers are protected when their professional responsibilities to educate children upset the sensibilities of those who only want children to be taught what "they" think is appropriate, instead of a wide-ranging, criticalthinking-based curriculum.  Tenure means that I can be candid with parents and administrators about what is going on, instead of having to measure every word for fear of upsetting someone and getting fired.  Tenure means (in this economy) that experienced teachers (who are paid more) will not be fired in favor of less-experienced (i.e., cheaper) teachers.  Tenure also means that, if a teacher is not effectively doing his or her job, he or she will be given the opportunity to become effective and will then be fired if he or she does not take that opportunity.  (this, of course, only happens when administrators do their jobs, but that's out of our hands)  

    As for teacher evaluation, well -- what's the evaluation tool?  Plumbing is pass/fail -- the pipe leaks or it doesn't.  Marketing is pass/fail -- sales either go up or down.  For all of the grades that we give, effectiveness of teaching cannot be measured on a pass/fail basis.


    Recommended by 4 users
    Oct 13, 2010
  • No

    bobbielovesrandy4life@yahoo.com: no due to the fact that teachers work with a lot of students none being the same temperament or personality and i am a mother of many i get tired of lots of things and my attitude reflects that. teachers are not any different they also get tired and it reflects how well they teach even if it is just one day they have a bad day or attitude it will reflect on the child or children and teachers mess up. if they have a set amount of time to serve than they may not try as hard or care as much knowing that they have a secure job so i say no


    Recommended by 4 users
    Voted: No, Oct 14, 2010
  • No

    Deb2row: My recent experience with my son teacher for the 3rd grade for Las Positas elementary school La Habra, CA  is questionable.  School started Sept. more than 6 weeks and until today it was brought to my attention of one procedure that my son has not completed. Meanwhile, myself and spouse have been communicating with the teacher for over 3 weeks and until today she decided to have a clear conversation, as to why my son has zero points for one of his academics classes. Now, she also responded the following; I have 31 students in my class and she looked at my son and said the following;  it is your responsibility to do this I can't help you I have to many students. I looked at my son and asked him do you understand the procedures on how to use the computer in a daily basis read the book and take the quiz, he responded NO! So, as a parent I have to question her ability to handle a large group of students and those whom are in need in assistance to understand certain procedures for the class.  Remember, our children our students are in the hands of these teachers 6 hours a day.  Us parents do the best to ensure our children complete their assignments but when a teacher doesn't want to step up or assist students that needs that ex-tra little help to help then understand the class procedures,  then I have to questions the teacher tenure. Thank you.


    Recommended by 4 users
    Voted: No, Oct 14, 2010
  • No

    dkim416: arted: First amendment right? Religion, speech, press, peaceful protest, or assembly? I don't understand which of these that tenure protects. Please explain. Apparently the public school system has failed you in teaching you the constitution and more specifically the bill of rights. I guess tenure didn't work so well in your case. Sorry.


    Recommended by 4 users
    Voted: No, Oct 25, 2010
  • No

    alanbdee: I think tenure should either be removed to much more difficult to have. Say for instance only 10% of the teachers in a school can have tenure. Teachers should be able to earn more based on the performance of their children. While this will intrinsically encourage teachers to teach children to pass an exam. I aver that if children are taught the fundamentals of an exam and are not properly prepared for the world then the exam is inadequate. It would also be good to see exams change to a more task oriented style rather then a multiple choice memorisation. This can't really apply to all things or would be difficult. It's a very complex topic but I honestly do not think teachers need the "protection" tenure claims to provide.


    Recommended by 4 users
    Voted: No, Aug 29, 2011
  • JSorrentino: The issue of teacher tenure has been hotly debated amongst those in the education field for decades, but is now on everyone's lips due to the release of the film "Waiting for Superman." The film presents the idea that many schools can't fire bad teachers, or "lemons", because their contracts guarantee them tenure.

    This is just one of several problems with our education system that the film discusses.

    Education.com has written a parent guide to the film. You can check it out here:

    http://www.education.com/magazine/article/waiting-superman-means-parents/


    Recommended by 3 users
    Oct 7, 2010
  • Houli: Like most of the reform areas in education, teacher tenure is seen as a quick fix, and placing blame on one group or another is the norm.  We see this in politics, business and governments (state and national).  Everyone has the silver bullet, and in education, the predominant silver bullet is teacher tenure.

    As a former principal and superintendents in two different school systems, I have never had a problem encouraging teachers to find other employment when their performance is poor.  This occurs only after these teachers are given lots of help, mentoring and staff development.  In short, tenure has not been the issue it is often made out to be by the politicians and policy wonks.  Most have never worked in a school, but it sounds good.

    At the same time, I am not in favor of the current tenure laws, because especially in the big cities most administrators either are dealing with antequated tenure issues and/or simply afraid to take on the union.

    Here is my suggestion- a performance-based tenure system.  First, teachers would not be granted tenure until they have shown clear performance in the classroom for at least the first three years of teaching.  For those needing more time, achieving tenure could be lengthened to five years.  Demonstrating strong performance could be fashioned in part by using the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards as a guideline.

    Once tenure is received, teachers every five years would have to clearly show ongoing improvement as a teacher before tenure is extended for the next five-year cycle.

    Bottom line for me- let's stop with the silver bullet, blame game approach.  It will note improve performance throughout the K12 system in this country.  Instead focus on helping teachers become better and better, and if they don't perform in a most positive way, the graduated tenure system will not allow them to continue.


    Recommended by 3 users
    Oct 12, 2010
  • greenprof2: I taught in the public schools for nearly a decade. I believe I was an excellent teacher and had great rapport with my students, but I was active in the union and outspoken in opposition to the Vietnam war. I refused to pledge the flag.  I know I would not have been retained had it not been for having tenure. I also know that bad teachers CAN be dismissed under the present system, but evidence has to be shown for doing so. With no tenure, teachers can be intimidated and let go on administrative whim.  MLB


    Recommended by 3 users
    Oct 12, 2010
  • Yes

    bdegroff25: Tenure is not what the common resident understands it to be.  Tenure does NOT mean a teacher can not be let go.  It simply means there must be due process, documented and teachers are to be involved and notified of the charges.  In the teaching field, "witch hunts" can occur when students simply make up charges.  Until tenure, a teacher can be let go for no reason at all.

    Given the risks of facts, proof, and the danger of "rumors.  tenure is a necessary and appropriate tool.  It is not attained until after close scrutiny by administrators for 4 years.


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 13, 2010
  • No

    RNinRno: Teaching is one of the most nobel professions and I respect them for the job they do. Teaching is a job just like mine as a nurse, the only guarantee I have to keep my job is to do the best at my job every day. If I excell I will get a raise and keep my job for another year. Why should it be any different for teachers? Unfortunatly politics enters into every job and good people loose their jobs unjustly, that is called life. I do not support that kind of behavior, but it is just a fact of life. Tenure is unnecessary and creates more problems than it prevents or fixes. Level the playing field for all teachers and the cream will rise to the top just as it does in every other profession.


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: No, Oct 13, 2010
  • Yes

    jphwink: One very important gift of tenure is that teachers can express what they feel is in the best interest of students without fear of being fired for not blindly accepting administrative directives. Within our schools we need honest and thoughtful discussions that are centered around student growth. We don't need staff preoccupied with impressing the boss or scheming for that merit raise. By empowering teachers, we serve the best interests of the students.


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 13, 2010
  • No

    mowiltse: I was a teacher in a great district in a wonderful town in upstate NY.  We were privileged to have wonderful parents and even more wonderful students, and we were considered one of the elite school districts in our area.

    Having said that, there were many sincere, caring teachers who worked very hard for much less than their neighbors in this village.  There were also the "hangers-on" who knew that there was nothing these very educationally-oriented parents could do, because of tenure.  


    Our counterparts in industry, (friends and neighbors) were rewarded for hard work, long hours, etc by promotions and salary increases and were most happy, as we were for them.  Our reward for the same kind of dedication was more  children with problems, larger classes, more IEPs, because we "could handle it"...where is the parity in that philosophy?   (The poorer teachers never had the problem children or the very brightest for the same reason)

    Wonder why the kids today have figured this all out and there are less quality folks in teaching?

    I am not the least bit bitter, as my career is nothing that I would ever trade.  Just an observation on the way things are as oppsed as they way they should be!


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: No, Oct 21, 2010
  • No

    rajmahaj: I'm a teacher and I don't believe there should be tenure. The most successful system of education I have witnessed is the democratic model implemented by schools like Sudbury Valley (sudval.org). These systems work well because they are based on the individual student's goals, needs and responsibility. Every teacher must be re-elected each year by a majority vote of students and staff. If a teacher doesn't meet the needs of that educational community, he or she doesn't come back. This model could sound brutal, but it is supremely successful in achieving the goal of education: to nurture the youth into successful adults.


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: No, Nov 9, 2010
  • No

    ceubanks: There may come a point when a teacher is no longer able or willing to be objective. Testing may root this out. The question is similar to 'Should people have drivers' licenses for life?


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: No, Nov 11, 2010
  • No

    pridebegone: First, let me say that good teachers are to be applauded and commended for the task they take on everyday.  They are not always dealt a good hand, but they deal with what they have and try to bring out the best in our children.  Good teachers are born not just produced.  

    I voted that teachers should not have tenure, because if an employee does not show some type of advances then you get rid of the employee.  I'm sure that most teachers don't agree with this.  However, some thing needs to be done regarding the teaching issue in the United States.  There has to be some type of reprimands for not providing our children with the best education that they deserve.  What's the solution, no matter what happens you continue to earn a paycheck (and with some it's just a paycheck).  Our children are our future.  Let's not get involved in having a little pride and just do the right thing.


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: No, Feb 9, 2011
  • No

    abirch: Coming from someone who doesn't have a TON of knowledge regarding tenure, I can believe that it is currently set up poorly. I understand that it is important to protect our teachers, but coming from someone who has had a teacher tell them, "It doesn't matter what you say or think, they can't fire me," I feel that the system of tenure has been taken advantage of my many teachers. No one wants their child to hear that. They need to make it a more difficult process to achieve tenure to ensure only the highest preforming teachers are awarded with it. Either that or give an option for the teachers who have proved themselves a higher salary, or the option of tenure. This is something that was proposed by Michelle Rhee, but was never voted on because it offended the Unions. Bottom line, what we are doing now isn't working, so what will?


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: No, May 22, 2011
  • No

    Lerojist: Teachers are public employees.  Taxpayers haven't a say, who is hired or fired....I say NO to tenure.  I don't believe any job deserves that type of agreement.   A principal at a local high school said the best thing the people can do is DO AWAY with TEACHERS TENURE...I agree!!


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: No, Jul 14, 2011
  • No

    alanbdee: I think tenure should either be removed to much more difficult to have. Say for instance only 10% of the teachers in a school can have tenure. Teachers should be able to earn more based on the performance of their children. While this will intrinsically encourage teachers to teach children to pass an exam. I aver that if children are taught the fundamentals of an exam and are not properly prepared for the world then the exam is inadequate. It would also be good to see exams change to a more task oriented style rather then a multiple choice memorisation. This can't really apply to all things or would be difficult. It's a very complex topic but I honestly do not think teachers need the "protection" tenure claims to provide.


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: No, Aug 29, 2011
  • No

    Cajun985: I don't have any tenure to protect my job from political winds or doing my job poorly..what makes teachers so special??! Especially the lazy, deadhead, baby sitting, "check collector" types..You know who you are!!!


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: No, Dec 4, 2011
  • No

    Greenburger: I'm extremely opposed to the idea of Tenure. The idea was to protect college professors from being fired based on some of their beliefs. In modern days, teachers aren't allowed to teach promote religious beliefs or directly support political parties anyway. All it does, it keep poor teachers right where they are, and good teachers from getting a job. Teaching is a career, and just like other careers, should be based on a supply and demand basis.

    I had plenty of crappy teachers (I'd say about 65%) in my high school, who were nearly invincible due to the laws behind tenure and what it takes to get rid of a tenured teacher. There are many people who are unable to find teaching jobs, because of these tenured teachers. I value experience in teaching, but not when it's experience of being an awful teacher. For many people growing up in poor communities, their only way out is to get a high-quality education, which is not readily available at low-income public schools.

    In addition to the argument of tenure, should be added the debate of teaching subjects in higher demands receiving higher pay. I firmly believe that certain fields, such as math and science, need to offer higher pay, in order to increase the demand for skilled and knowledgeable teachers in those fields, especially since they are the foundation of our technological future.


    Recommended by 3 users
    Voted: No, Feb 11, 2012
  • Yes

    bkrisley: Step into the shoes of a disciplined, hard working teacher in an underperforming school for a week and you will see why.  The mayor tries to bargain with our teachers to have us believe that a yes vote for the GIC will guarantee raises in the future and the current proposal is 0%,0%,0% for the next three years.  Just one question- does this occur in your profession?  If the administration were doing their jobs in an effective manner then someone who is not qualified for the position can be "taken care of" before tenure occurs.  This is a major problem in education- how often does an administrator really observe in the classroom, or is even alloted the time to do so?  A half hour/hour a year?  Yikes- seems like it comes down right from the top!!!  


    Recommended by 2 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 11, 2010
  • Yes

    respectedteacher: taking four years to achieve tenure, it is the responsibilities of the administration to weed out those that are not performing and from my view point, it is working. also, MERIT pay is riduculous. it favors teachers with high achieving students and will divide the staff. also, administrators may favor one teacher over another and that's just NOT fair. teachers that achieve tenure are dedicated; hard working; care about their students & their performance.


    Recommended by 2 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 12, 2010
  • Yes

    JasonC: I agree with tenure critics that there should be reform which makes it easier to remove ineffective and/or inapproriate teachers, but tenure is necessary to protect academic freedom and to protect teachers from administrative/public/board of ed/board of finance moves to remove teachers who are controversial or costly.


    Recommended by 2 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 12, 2010
  • Yes

    Brtbailey: An education culture without professional recognition to a quality teacher is a serious system failure.  Tenure is an important accomplishment for a young educator,and a recognition that they have met and exceeded the expectations placed upon them by their system and their profession.  As the challenges to public education continue to escalate and evolve, all citizens need to recognize the value quality teachers bring to their workplaces.  Should there be threats to confirmation of that quality, we will lose that talent to a competing industry for good.   Our society cannot afford the loss of one more good teacher due to a vote of no confidence conferred by a tenureless system.           Brtbailey                            


    Recommended by 2 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 12, 2010
  • Yes

    bdegroff25: Tenure is commonly a misconception among the layperson, but understood by teachers and administrators.  I does NOT mean a teacher can not be fired.  After a teacher has been closed scrutinized and evaluated by several administrators, one receives a tenured position.  The process takes 4 years and is rigorous.  During this time, a teacher can be let go with no reason, making it possible for students to start rumors, and even use tools now such as Facebook to defame character, with no foundation.

    Tenure is earned, not given.  It simply affords teachers a due process procedure and notifications of charges.  It is, and I repeat, necessary and offers deserved protection.


    Recommended by 2 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 13, 2010
  • Yes

    jgamache: Teachers should have tenure.  Tenure simply means job security.  Teachers are evaluated every year,  a couple of times each year.  Tenure allows teacher the feeling of security. It does not mean that teachers can do what ever they want.  It takes forever to get a public school job.  You have to be certified and to sub and learn from collegues and to do  (team) and to keep up on professional development.  We work hours after school and take care of 20 to 30 students at a time academically and emotionally.  Once you have been granted tenure you have shown that you can meet standards in your district.  You have seniority and experience.  


    Recommended by 2 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 14, 2010
  • Yes

    caseyonq: There are some people in every professional pursuit who are lacking in ability and this includes educaton.  However, there needs to be a clearer understanding of what tenure is about.  It is a way of ensuring due process in charges which might lead to dismissal. A question not asked  and one which needs to be asked is "Who put the accused teacher in the classroom?" Certainly it was not those who would become colleagues.  Why is it that teachers have so little voice or no voice in the certification and/or hiring of those seeking to teach?  Yes, no matter how carefully these choices are made some teachers lose the passion and concern for helping students.  But why do we assume that a principal or other administrator  is qualified to pass judgment on competency? Many of them have only been in the classroom a minimal number of times. An evaluation team composed of teachers would be more qualified to judge performance in the classroom.  If teachers are given contol of certification and licensing, there woujld be far fewer unqualified  entering their ranks than is now the case.  Of course, this scares those in the upper tray of our economic strata because they know that with less risky entrants there would be an accompanying need to pay higher salaries.  So, it is easier to complain about lack of competency/committment than it is to pay the kind of salaries that the brightest and best would expect upon entering any occupational pursuit.
    Withoujt tenure (fairdismissal policies) we could return to the days when a teacher was dismissed because the hemline of a skirt didn't come to the misdle of the kneecap,  because the teacher did not give a suitable Christmas present to the Superintendent, or was not in church on Sunday morning or not in the right church, etc.
    In 1970, I attended a  Senate Committee hearing to testify in  support of tenure. (HB 128)  One of the lawmakers suggested there was no need for tenure since a principal would likely be dismissed if three or four good teacers were dismissed because of him.  My reply was that it woujld be unprofessional to suggest that three of four good  teachers should lose a job because of one bad principal or other administrator. I believe that  one good teacher is worth more than all the bad administrators that ever lived.
    Ken Curtis
    Missouri NEA-R


    Recommended by 2 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 14, 2010
  • Yes

    TeachinMass: I totally agree that this debate is a waste of time.  "tenure" does not even exist anymore.  Teachers are of "professional" or "non-professional" status.  The non lasts for 3 years.  They are observed and evaluated 3 times per year for 3 years.  If there is room for improvement, which there is in any job out there, the goal is to SEE or EVALUATE the improvement.  Who needs to see it?  Who needs to evaluate it?  THE ADMINISTRATORS!  Teachers do NOT evaluate their colleagues, Principals, Assistant Principals and Department Heads do it.  If they do their job correctly any non professional who does not show signs of improvement or strength in all areas of their teaching they are not rehired.  No non professional teacher is GUARANTEED a job.  Along with that what manager out there in ANY profession doing their job wouldn't see a "bad" employee within 3 years?  Sorry, but that means the MANAGER is not doing their job.  In order to keep my professional status I am observed and evaluated every other year and have a meeting in between those observation years with my Principal to discuss my plan for my Professional Growth during that year.  I am evaluated EVERY YEAR and have to show PROFESSIONAL growth each year.  If I don't, it is noted and I get put on a Remediation Plan and basically puts me into NON PROFESSIONAL status for one year.  If what is outlined in that plan is not done, I am released from my position.  Can I try to fight it with my union?  Of course!  Everyone has a right to a FAIR TRIAL and INNOCENT before proven GUILTY.  But if the administrator has done his/her job and it is PROVEN that I have not done my job, I am gone.  So, there is not a single teacher out there that is GUARANTEED A JOB FOR LIFE.  Do we want it to be for life? YES!  We are invested in this career and there are few places out there where you can stay for 30+ years even IF YOU DO YOUR JOB!!!!!  Teaching is one of the few where you have to PROVE you do a good job.  Teaching to a test, merit pay, evaluated by my students progress those are NOT any kind of CARROT to me.  I agree with someone else who said what they want is more ways to GET BETTER AT WHAT THEY DO!!!  To be honest, if you can't pay us more, give us more opportunities to improve.  Spend the money to make us better, don't waste money debating how to get rid of those of us you call "bad"


    Recommended by 2 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 14, 2010
  • Yes

    NHMSTeacher: Tenure does not protect bad teachers.  Poor administrators allow poor teachers to continue teaching.


    Recommended by 2 users
    Voted: Yes, Oct 15, 2010
  • No

    nuimaster: I am an 18 year old student fresh out of High School, and the largest problem that plauged the schooling of myself and my fellow classmates was poor teachers. No matter how much complaint was put against them, the result was always the same: Teacher's Unions and Tenure keeping the terrible instructors in the classroom, as well as miserable, failing, students that don't know what's wrong with them and why they can't learn this subject.


    Recommended by 2 users
    Voted: No, May 15, 2012
  • Yes

    CTteacher: I takes 4 years of successful teaching in the state of CT to attain tenure. What other profession has a "probationary" period that long? 4 years is plenty of time to determine whether a teacher is well-qualified enough to continue working.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Voted: Yes, Oct 12, 2010
  • Yes

    speechteacher: It is up to the administration to do their job to weed out the ineffective teachers. If admin follows protocols for evaluations, then regardless of tenure, teachers will either get the help they need to improve performance or after receiving assistance with little or no improvement can be terminated.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Voted: Yes, Oct 12, 2010
  • Yes

    jojo22: Parents are too quick to blame a teacher for the failure of their own child. If teachers did not have tenure then the teaching profession would be a revolving door. Parent groups and community organizations would rule the teachinig positions in the school and that would begin the deminishment of our school system.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Voted: Yes, Oct 13, 2010
  • MTrejo: Tenure is a wonderful recognition for the individual teachers.  It is formal acknowledgement that you have done a good job.  It is a formal step in ones career.  It makes one feel like a real professional.  So in my mind I separate the significance of tenure with the unintended consequences that it can take when it becomes part on an organization and used to defend, as well as, protect the rights of teachers - as if each teacher in the organization or union merits the same consideration.  There are many, many wonderful teachers who do fantastic work for children and students on a daily basis.  But there are also too many who wrongly believe that schools were build for the convenience of the adults and not to serve and protect students.  Tenure should not be the only or the major consideration for either evaluating, dismissing, or compensating teachers.  It should be one of many factors among effort, preparation, skills, student outcomes, and other factors unique to the local situation where the teacher is teaching.  Over the last thirty years of my career, I have visited hundreds of classrooms.  I have never been to a school where the principal and staff were not fully aware of who were the best teachers, the worst teachers, and the dedicated teachers in their staff.  There was always agreement on who they were.  So why is it so difficult to document this for evaluation purposes?  A major factor is that supervisors are intimidated into writing less than truthful assessments but everyone blames the process on 'the lack of accurate and fair procedures and criteria.'  Unfortunately, tenure is not a problem just with education.  Many private business bosses talk about the difficulty of supervising employees and giving honest feedback.  Tenure is a good thing. How the privilege is applied needs much improvement.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Oct 13, 2010
  • flyfishinct: I believe that this is a sticky issue.  As a tenured educator I am somewhat jaded.  I support tenure because I lost my first (non-tenured) job in teaching because I honestly answer a board of education members question about there childs character (He was subsequently arrested for arson...).  So in my experience, politics in teaching has adversly affected me.

    On the other hand, I also see that no matter how hard I work or how much time I invest I will not improve income.  I think that tenure with merit pay is the answer.  Protect teachers from those in power, let us do our job (which most of us love) and reward us who work hard and let those who sit back and ride the retirement train fizzle away at a lower rate of pay.  A happy employee works harder, more efficiently and with less distraction.  


    Recommended by 1 user
    Oct 14, 2010
  • Yes

    NHMSTeacher: Tenure does not protect bad teachers.  Poor administrators allow poor teachers to continue teaching.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Voted: Yes, Oct 15, 2010
  • Yes

    Second: How can one become a bad teacher when all they do is their best?  Use what is given to work with: i.e. 40% classes of incorrigible students; poor materials, NO administrative support (after they place the 40% incorrigible students), principals go out to lunch, bullies control the offices with equipment failures, etc.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Voted: Yes, Oct 16, 2010
  • Yes

    ianphlegming: One reason for tenure is to protect excellent, inspiring, creative teachers who have become senior enough to have climbed a fair way up the pay scale. A school administration would be tempted to "release" them and hire a much less expensive, newer teacher, thereby saving the district a significant amount of money in difficult financial times.  This kind of thinking is labeled "practical" and "business-savvy" by bottom line thinkers.  The solution  to having "lousy" teachers is for the ones responsible for hiring to do their job well, and then evaluate their hires before they achieve tenure. In other words, to proactively "make staffing decisions based on the needs of the children, not on the needs of the adults."


    Recommended by 1 user
    Voted: Yes, Oct 18, 2010
  • Yes

    ianphlegming: One reason for tenure is to protect excellent, inspiring, creative teachers who have become senior enough to have climbed a fair way up the pay scale. A school administration would be tempted to "release" them and hire a much less expensive, newer teacher, thereby saving the district a significant amount of money in difficult financial times.  This kind of thinking is labeled "practical" and "business-savvy" by bottom line thinkers.  The solution  to having "lousy" teachers is for the ones responsible for hiring to do their job well, and then evaluate their hires before they achieve tenure. In other words, to proactively "make staffing decisions based on the needs of the children, not on the needs of the adults."


    Recommended by 1 user
    Voted: Yes, Oct 18, 2010
  • Cynewulf: A couple of things:
    1.  Tenure is not a bullet-proof jacket.  An administrator that goes to the trouble of keeping accurate documentation will not have any difficulty getting rid of an incompetent teacher.
    2.  Most of the teachers I know view tenure and job security (not the same things) as a trade-off for lower pay.  Having said that, there is a reason for having tenure, and ianplehming covered that well in his post above.
    3.  While the downturn in the economy had changed things a bit, for quite some time there was a teacher shortage with many classrooms staffed with a long-term sub instead of a certified teacher.  In those circumstances, it was viewed that in most cases an ineffective teacher was better than a substitute.  Right or wrong, the way to circumvent that is to attract enough high quality teachers that you don't have any shortages.  I wonder what would attract the cream of the crop towards this profession...
    4.  Let's not lose sight of the fact that we are talking about a handful of bad apples, which every profession has.  Granted, no one should have to sacrifice their child to one of these bad apples, but as I noted, every profession has them, and every profession has a way of getting rid of their bad apples.  This brings us back to #1.  


    Recommended by 1 user
    Oct 20, 2010
  • sdcrawfo: Tenure needs to be there to protect teachers.  Why?  Well one instance is when a teacher is fired for failing a star basketball player, a school board members kid, or a principals kid.   Yes this type of thing happens.   I have seen it first hand.   My wife lost her first two teaching jobs because of that.   Why should a teacher be fired for doing their job.   If a student does not do their work, or show up, or just does not apply themselves, then they should not be able to rely on their parents pressure and influence to get that teacher fired.  

    As far as tenure protecting a teacher from getting fired, it does not do that.   If the administration (superintendent, principal) are doing their jobs of appraisals and teacher evaluations then teachers can be fired for failing to do their jobs and not because they failed a student and it made some parent mad.   Tenure needs to be there to protect teachers from the political influences of parents and school board members.   Wake up to reality people.   It is time to protect our teachers, and teach our kids.  

    We need to invest in the future of our nation and one way to do that is an investment in our children.   One such investment is our teachers.   If we continue on the path we are currrently on we will fail.   Parents need to step up in the teaching of their children also.   When kids do not get the parents involved in their learning it hurts not only them but society.   So wake up parents.  Get involved in your kids.  

    I would like to see these politicians try to teach the kids in high schools today.   I have done it just as a substitute teacher and I have no idea how my wife does it day in and day out.   It takes a special person to want to teach these kids.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Mar 7, 2011
  • mom23kidstoday: Tenure is killing our school systems. Bad, unmotivated teachers are allowed to teach our children and there is nothing we can do to get rid of them. It's extremely sad that this is happening to our children and frustrating. There are so many excellent teachers out there but we are not allowed to reward them for a job well done. My children out perform themselves with great teachers but their grades suffer every time they have a teacher who uses curriculum from 1991 or earlier, or some other quirk and refuses to use updated materials or they refuse to engage any kind of conversation that is stimulating for the children. Why should we have a system that protects bad teachers, bad principals and a system that does not help parents engage in their children's education.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Jul 31, 2011
  • ddoleary: It is a myth that tenure protects a teacher's job. Seniority is the problem. I am a National Board Certified teacher with a Masters in Teaching who received tenure seven years ago. However, tenure did not save me from being laid off time after time.  This last year (after 17 years in the same district), I was laid off once again. I lost my position to a teacher who had more seniority, despite the fact that I was a passionate, effective, well-liked teacher with a higher degree. I found myself desperately searching for a teaching job in another district. After taking my position, the other teacher promptly went out on medical leave....for an entire year! This situation is a prime example of why good teachers leave the profession.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Jan 14, 2012
  • No

    respect4everyone: I see that most of the bullying at school is done by the teachers!  Children learn behavior taught by their teachers, then teachers complain when they are disrespected.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Voted: No, May 21, 2012
  • No

    CatherineDAquila: First and fore most I agree that we need teachers who are willing to make a difference in all children's lives, but unfortunately those educators are hard to come by.  Many do not want to take the time to provide necessary accommodations for students who are at a lower level.  Also, when teachers are evaluated under the current process the principal is the sole decision maker.  Well what if he just doesn't like the teacher?  We need to have an outside source involved in the evaluation process, a process where teachers are not able to prepare beforehand.  You cannot get a true evaluation when the teacher is allowed to prepare prior to the evaluation process.  In addition, standardized test scores should not be used to decide if a teacher is performing as an effective teacher.  Did you ever hear of cheating?  Well, let me tell you it goes on.  The most important aspect of being a truly effective educator is creating an environment where each child knows they are cared about by an approachable teacher, one who is willing to help every child.  I have shared many stories about the quality of a good teacher and why our education system continues to fail in my book, Snitch: True Stories of Destructive Classrooms and Bad Teachers.


    Recommended by 1 user
    Voted: No, Sep 3, 2012
  • Kingsdaughter613: I think teachers should get tenure - but not after two years! I went to a religious private school and have several teachers in my family. What made my schooling experience so unusual in terms of teachers so unusual was the incredible variety, I had girls a year out of teachers seminary to women who taught my grandmother. What I could not help but notice was this - age had little to do with ability. For example, my two favorite teachers had one major difference between them: one was barely twenty; the other was a grandmother. One had just begun to teach; the other had been teaching for decades. Both were amazing teachers.
    Then I had a history teacher. She was another beginning teacher but she really knew her history. When we had a fifty year old substitute take over for the day I got detention. Why? Because I informed the substitute that Henry Ford did NOT invent the gasoline run engine; the Germans did. My twenty year old regular instructor knew this.
    I had another experienced teacher. Before her test I overheard one friend say to another "it's okay when I fail her test. My mother had her and knows she's impossible." The only way to pass this woman's test was to memorize Ethics of the Fathers in the original Hebrew.
    Then there is my grandfather. He has tenure at the college he teaches at. I have read the comments on his course and book. All his students claim that he gives a clear and understandable explanation of organic chemistry - a far cry from the young lady who taught me in high school. I don't think she understood her subject at all!
    Ultimately I think teachers should be observed after two, five and ten years. One kind of tenure can be given at five years, another at ten. Throughout their first year a mentor system might be useful as well - although some first year teachers can be better than the old-timers! Teachers should also have yearly evaluations. These should not necessarily be about grades. I used to record grades for my mother. Throughout the years most of her students did well. One year she had a group of girls that the school acknowledged were impossible. The teachers were trying to get out of class to avoid them - and these are all excellent educators! Sometimes even the best teachers can have an unmanageable class. Evaluations should look at the teacher's class work, her teaching style and method, the amount of care given to the students, the form of her tests and essays and the level of the work. This would allow for bad teachers to be more easily identified while in-between teachers could be shown what needs to be fixed. The actual grades are not as important. Some children are not good test takers. Some can understand the knowledge but cannot translate it for a test. Others may be dealing with problems from previous years. If a student never grasped math in third grade and that teacher did nothing, should the fourth grade teacher be held at fault? What should be tested is the amount of general knowledge the student received from the teacher. Too much emphasis is placed on specific knowledge and facts as it is. Before entering college most information needed is in a general field. Specific knowledge is needed for the area where you will ultimately work. Even then, many times it is the techniques, not the specific data that comes in handy in real life.
    One thing I do think should be done (although this applies more to college) would be to eliminate teachers with heavy accents. I know it sounds mean, but it really is not fair to the students. I had a Bio teacher in college. She was a wonderful woman and really knew her stuff. Unfortunately she was also Chinese and had a very heavy accent. I did not learn a thing all semester. How could I? I did not understand a word! Ethnic diversity is important but should not come at the expense of the students. If a teacher has an accent make sure she intelligible to her students.


    Recommended by 1 user
    May 29, 2013
  • Yes

    coach76: Mr. Wilson talks about evaluations to determine competent teachers. These evaluations must be carriied out by competent Administrators that have a clue as to what it is to be a manager and a motivator. In the business world most administrative personnel know what it takes in each job within the company. In the class room it is much differrent. remember most Admins. come from  a singular subject background and have no IDEA what it is like to work with more challanging students in the realm of Spec. Ed. ,especially in the  CDT/ED self contained classrooms. The whole idea of this debate is absurd.


    Voted: Yes, Oct 13, 2010
  • Yes

    pistol: If teachers have tenure why do they need a union?  If teachers have a union why do they need tenure? For the slackers/bad teachers, send them to the rubber room until they they can retire.


    Voted: Yes, Oct 19, 2010
  • Yes

    arted: Most tenure naysayers believe that tenure protects only bad teachers. Well, tenure protects good teachers as well. Tenure protects our First Amendment rights. Don't all Americans wish for that? If people think that teachers go into education because tenure guarantees them a job for life - think again, or at least spend a month in a public school teaching before you decide that tenure is a bad thing.


    Voted: Yes, Oct 22, 2010
  • Yes

    Tangelaed: As a teacher, I see both views of teaching and tenure.  I teach in an at-needs district and you will run into a few teachers who teach and a few teachers allowed to pick up their paychecks without teaching.  You also will see some administrators with less than five years of teaching experience, so inexperienced they are afraid to make stable decisions beneficials for the students.  Yes, teaching and tenure needs to be re-evaluated for 21st century learners.  


    Voted: Yes, Oct 30, 2010
  • Yes

    ImaRealTeacher: Tenure simply means  teachers are entitled to due process when they face dismissal.  Without this, dedicated professionals who have chosen the CAREER of education may be dismissed in order to hire cheaper, less experienced, less effective teachers--many of whom are passing simply through on their way to other more lucrative fields.  The extremely high turn over of young teachers in many charter schools (including Mr. Canada's)  is proof that  many of the newcomers--some of whom were "trained" in five weeks of summer school--are not well prepared to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of the children they are supposed to serve.  (Indeed, some of them went through these alternative certification programs for the free masters degree.  Is that who you want teaching YOUR child? And, BTW,   reports claiming that "data" shows alternatively certified teachers to be more effective  (based on test scores) have been repeatedly proven false.
    It is a misconception to think that teacher unions support ineffective teachers getting tenure.  Every "bad" teacher with tenure represents at least one administrator who failed to do the paper necessary to end their employment.  They had three years to observe and terminate these teachers.  Instead,  they opt for this short cut: "If you agree to leave my school, I'll give you a satisfactory rating and a recommendation."  Unfortunately, they usually end up in hard-to-staff, high needs schools where administrators have to take more complex steps to terminate them--all while keeping them on payroll in an already tight budget.
    While we need to ensure that every teacher is effective and qualified, tenure ensures that this decision is not based on personal, political or even the economic preferences of an administrator.
     


    Voted: Yes, Nov 11, 2010
  • Yes

    justjohn: Tenure protects teachers from the whims of administrators, school board members and parents who may have personal agendas. Tenure in no way prevents schools from dismissing teachers, it only insures due process. Tenure protects students by allowing teachers to present the best and most current research on any given subject which is often a threat to individual or personal beliefs.


    Voted: Yes, Nov 13, 2010
  • Vwindman: I understand why people are debating this issue.  After seeing Waiting for Superman I also debated the tenure status.  I do know in NYS we are reevaluating how we rate teachers.  I believe there needs to be accountability.  I do think many people think teachers who are tenured just roll in and count the minutes of the day.  I truly see the older teachers though scared of new methodology take their jobs very seriously.  On the flip side many of the younger teachers come in not sure if this is what they want to do for the rest of their lives.  We have a three year rigorous process in my district.  You would never consider taking a day off. I do not see that now.  I do believe all teachers should be observed scheduled and not scheduled.  I do see many teachers are lax about coming to school on time. Tenured or not that is our responsibility.  We need to be accountable to our administration just like any other job.  Standardized tests are not the answer.  Helping students explore their strengths is our job.  Howard Gardner's seven levels of intelligence is a way to look at the student who does not fit nicely in the box.  Yes, thinking outside the box is what we need to do.  My peers who are teachers take their job very seriously.  Many of us started later leaving our previous careers.  We know why we are teaching. We can also manage a class and speak to parents.  No one realizes the standards are just one piece of our job.  We have much more to deal with that curriculum.  On that note I believe tenure should remain.


    Jan 31, 2011
  • sdcrawfo: Yes teachers should have tenure.  Why?  Well the first reason is to protect them from being fired because they give a school board members kid a bad grade, or maybe the principals kid, or the basketball star.   Yes this kind of thing happens.   It is reality.   Not all kids want to learn and some rely on their parents pressure and influence to try to get them a good grade.   If a teacher is reprimanded and fired from a teaching position for this reason it is just wrong.   I have seen this happen twice to my wife in her early teaching career.   Now she has tenure and she can not be forced to give a child a grade they did not deserve.   I have to say if a superintendent of a school system is doing their job of evaluating teachers, then the tenure system will not protect that teacher.   It is just like any other job out there.   If you are being evaluated on your job performance by your supervisor or manager and you are performing badly, you might be written up or even fired.   The same thing can happen in a school system.   If appraisals are given and teachers are evaluated it does not matter about the tenure system.  The school would have grounds for firing the teacher.


    Mar 7, 2011
  • Yes

    Thinker: Based on ALL of the unfairness in the profession of EDUCATION today,leaders do EVERYTHING to get scores up, when students CAN"T read blame the teacher,student out of class too often for whatever-blame the teacher when he does not catchup. People use the Culture of students to say and mean what they want the peole to understand in their methods-DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET THE SCORES UP! Some young Teachers are so afraid to question things,though they know it will not work or forbid they know it is WRONG, and they will not speak up because of the chance of making the principal MAD and they are gone.


    Voted: Yes, Jun 14, 2011
  • Yes

    Emake: It is my opinion that teachers should have an opportunity to become tenured. Yes, we do live and evolve around changes that place very high expectations on our lives, especially those of the students and their teachers. Whether one teaches in or attends a private or public school system, one thing is for sure, WE All Need  Help. Help starts at home, nurturing, supporting, priortizing, and being an intrugal part of a student's academic pursuits. We as teachers take the responsibility of what we do as measure sof GOOD Faith. We do want to make a difference in the lives of our students. We do want scholars to evolve from our midst, but this comes with the involvement of an entire village, those near and far. Stop playing the blame game and get to the thrust of the problem. We have failed our most vital entity, our children. Can we please come together as a people with one agenda, and that being the education of all of our children, poor, rich, black, white, brown, etc.

    I hope this has been food for thought. I have been in the educational profession for 17 years, and even during the most difficult times, I have never taken my eyes of the prize. That is what I have been chosen to do for the betterment of mankind, That is teach.


    Voted: Yes, May 1, 2012
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