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Veteran Teacher: 'The Problem Isn't Tenure'

Veteran Teacher: "The Problem Isn't Tenure"

Tenure has been under assault around the country and some states have either eliminated teacher tenure or cut back on teacher job protections, making some courts a "battleground."

"If you ask 10 people to explain more tenure for K-12 teachers, most of them would likely say that it is a job guarantee so ironclad that tenured teachers can't be fired," said Valerie Strauss from The Washington Post. "While there are cases in which it takes way too long to remve teachers who shouldn't be in the classroom, tenure is not, in fact, a lifetime job guarantee, as tenured teachers can and do get fired."

Veteran teacher David Cohen looks at this issue, and takes apart some of the "problem with tenure arguments." Cohen begins by looking at New York Times writer Frank Bruni's column, "The Trouble with Tenure." Bruni's column said that too few teachers are fired because it's too hard to fire them under tenure, and since they know they can't be fired, they don't worry about their job performance. 

"Those assumptions are, at best, difficult to support and to apply broadly - and at worst, they're just wrong about teachers and organizational management," said Cohen. "First problem – it’s not tenure, in the sense that university professors have tenure. It is not a “job for life,” but rather, a due process protection that ensures teachers who need improvement or dismissal are given appropriate chances to address the issues raised...The problem I have is that the underlying assumptions in their arguments for reform are the same underlying assumptions for elimination of those rights, and so the assumptions need to be challenged."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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