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Con: Teacher Tenure

For many teachers, teaching is both a dream job and a passion. Getting the chance to inspire students to find their own passion is an incredible feeling. But how do we get rid of the teachers who don’t have the drive to help students? If you’re thinking about firing them, forget about it.

According to Merriam-Webster, tenure is “the right to keep a job (especially the job of being a professor at a college or university) for as long as you want to have it”.  This is absolutely ridiculous.  Someone who has control over the future of our country shouldn’t get a job because he or she just shows up to work.

Most teachers are great at what they do. But for the teachers who fail at what they do, tenure gives them a sense of complacency. They know that the district would have to go to great extremes to fire them, so they aren’t worried about losing their job. According to http://www.nbcnews.com/id/25430476/ns/us_news-education/t/superintendent-bad-teachers-hard-fire/#.UkTEJ0B6ZqU firing an incompetent teacher could cost as much as $250,000. In addition, firing a tenured teacher is a process which requires months of work.

To me, it makes sense that the best teachers should get greater job security. Although older teachers are often more experienced than newer teachers, this isn’t always true. There are many great teachers that are new to teaching, but are more qualified. With tenure, seniority is the major factor when it comes to dismissing teachers, not quality. Being a young teacher during budget cuts can truly be a nightmare.

According to http://teachertenure.procon.org/, a study by the New Teacher Project in 2009 found that 81% of school administrators knew of a poorly performing tenured teacher. Why such a high number? The reason there are so many underperforming is teachers because at the K-12 level, tenure is given to basically anyone who has stuck around long enough.  Unlike universities, where professors must show contributions to their field in the form of published research, tenure in K-12 is handed out like candy on Halloween.

Now some supporters of tenure might say that tenure allows teachers to focus on their students, and their job. According to teachertenure.procon.org, a mere 53% of teachers support tenure. This is barely half of all teachers.  In addition, a report by Thomas B. Fordham found that 86% of education professors want to make it easier terminate unmotivated or incompetent tenured teachers.

Most of the people across the nation don’t support tenure, so we should get rid of it. Only 20% of Americans support tenure, and 91% of school board presidents criticize tenure. But tenure goes beyond individual teachers.

Tenure is the teacher union’s bread and butter. It gives teachers an edge over other professions, which is unfair.

Overall, tenure for teachers is something unnecessary. It makes it impossible for administrators to weed out lazy teachers. It does absolutely nothing for the students, and just gives comfort to unmotivated teachers.

 

About Steven Hong

Steven Hong
Steven is now a senior at MC, and Co-Editor-In-Chief of the MC Sun. He enjoys playing volleyball and has been playing it for a number of years now. Besides volleyball, Steven enjoys to eat in his free time. He loves Italian food, Hot Cheetos, and anything that's high in sodium.

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