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Teacher Tenure

Some states judiciaries are striking down teacher tenure. There are many people that think this is a very positive idea and many that think that it is a very negative idea.
The concept of teacher tenure was developed over 100 years ago to protect teachers from being fired on the whims of principles. Sensibly, tenure provides due process if a principle feels that a teacher should be fired.
Unfortunately, the due process procedure is very onerous and a few teachers who are not good teachers end up staying in the classroom while the process is going on, to the detriment of the children. Concern for the children has prompted a group called Students Matter to bring forth suits in states all over the country with the intent of striking down teacher tenure.
Students Matter has a great deal of monetary backing because it was started by Walmart founder Sam Walton and recently funded by billionaire David Welch.
Teachers Unions are leading the fight against the removal of tenure. From their prospective, tenure protects good teachers from unfair or misguided principals and gives the teachers security in their jobs.
Take a step back from this national issue and imagine that this ruling reached Pennsylvania and effected your child’s school. It could be a detriment or a blessing. Let’s look at two possible scenarios if tenure was struck down in Pennsylvania.
In the first scenario you love your child’s elementary school, you love the teachers, you know they work together to always keep improving and that their number one concern is for the children. Now imagine that a new principal gets hired who prefers younger, attractive, female teachers so suddenly a well loved teacher with 30 years experience is fired and two of the students favorite male teachers are fired. This can happen, (it happens everyday in private schools), it will happen and it will not be in the best interest of the students if these were very good, competent teachers.
Now for the second scenario; Same school, you love the school and the teachers but one teacher is not like the others. She is constantly taking off, she picks the children up late every morning and she doesn’t know the latest teaching techniques so she just lectures to the children all day as they doodle or sleep at their desks. Under a tenure system the Principle would need to provide professional development for this teacher to help her improve. Without tenure he or she could simply fire her or not invite her back the next school year.
So, ask yourself, which would matter more to our students, the possibility of losing most of thei r favorite teachers based on the capriciousness of a principal or having to endure a less than perfect teacher until he or she can be trained or fired? Listen to for more discussion.

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