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Monday, April 20, 2015

OK, I'll say it: Teachers deserve tenure

In jumping into the teacher-tenure debate, I know I’m stirring up a hornet’s nest. But who doesn’t like a little danger now and again? So here goes.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu recently struck down California’s teacher-tenure system in a lawsuit brought by a small group of students backed by a Silicon Valley millionaire, ruling that tenure violates the state’s constitution because it deprives students of a sound, basic education by keeping poorly performing teachers in place, according to The New York Times.

The Vergara v. California ruling, which will spend years under appeal, has electrified tenure’s critics. The New York City Parents Union filed suit in State Supreme Court on Staten Island on July 3, seeking to overturn New York’s tenure law on similar grounds.

I come from a family of teachers. I grew up in Suffolk County, hearing stories about teachers unfairly targeted by boards of education or administrators because they spoke their minds. Tenure, which gives teachers due process rights and requires districts to show “just cause” to remove them, was their shield against an often capricious system that ebbed and flowed according to political currents.

Little has changed since then.

At no time has tenure been more important than during the recent rollout of the Common Core State Standards. Tenured teachers have been among the most vocal critics of the State Education Department’s hasty, many would say chaotic, implementation of the standards. Teachers have spoken out without fear of reprisal –– that is, without fear of losing their jobs — thanks to tenure.

Without tenure, they could be silenced by the powers that be. Tenured teachers, though, needn’t toe the proverbial company line. That’s good for students. The freedom to speak their minds ensures that teachers can engage in vigorous debate, whether in the classroom or boardroom, and keep their jobs. Spirited discussion is the foundation of our democracy. Without it, we become a totalitarian state.

Comments

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art529

Yes, I understand where Scott Brinton is coming from. His parents were (tenured?) teachers and he is as well. All will agree that tenure is a great benefit for teachers.

It is almost impossible to dismiss a teacher that has tenure.

And tenured educators contribute to Long Islands high taxes. Do tenured teachers earn their guaranteed compensation?

Maybe we should expand tenure to for-profit businesses- which could result in a $10. apple.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 | Report this
JohnDunn

Did you ever wonder how good workers in the private sector continually get raises if bosses only want the lowest salaried workers? (In the private sector we call them bosses, not principles, and some of them are also big meanies.)

Instead of letting the mediocre and incompetent teachers block merit pay, let schools offer higher salaries to attract and reward great teachers, just like is done in the private sector. Unlike the union's philosophy that all teachers are commodities of equal value, the private sector knows that a good worker is worth much more than a mediocre one.

And that works both ways. In the private sector, workers can leave unpleasant working conditions and go work at their boss’s competitors.

Friday, July 18, 2014 | Report this
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