Good question. Tenure has been in the news a lot these days not only because of the movie Waiting for Superman, but government (both state and national) want to pass legislature that will affect teahcers' tenure.
I'm a public school teacher in FL and here is a good definition: Florida public school systems are required to collectively bargain with employees on all matters affecting their terms and conditions of employment. Teachers in public schools, after completing a probationary period, are granted tenure by law and may not be dismissed without first going through a year-long rehabilitation period and then only after a public hearing in which charges of incompetence or misconduct must be proven. Private schools are free to deal with personnel matters in a discretionary manner, unencumbered by requirements imposed on public schools. http://www.browardschools.com/info/education.htm
Tenure is designed to give public school teachers projection from a disgruntled administrator, student, or parent. It is tided to the teachers' contract. The probation period is set by the state, but the average usually after three successful years the teachers is protected by tenure. If you want to know how long a teacher needs to teach before earning tenure, check out this site http://certificationmap.com/states/.
I'm glad to see that not only educators are talking about education. Keep the questions coming.
We are currently running a debate on the issue: "Should Teachers Have Tenure?" Educational experts Geoffrey Canada and John Wilson provide a little more information on how tenure relates to teachers, and whether they think teacher tenure policies should remain.
To add your two cents to the debate, simply "Add Your Opinion" at the bottom of the page.