What’s This About? In the United States, approximately 2.3 million teachers have tenure. Teacher tenure is a controversial form of job protection that 46 states support. After one to five years on the job, with three being the average, teachers in these states are guaranteed permanent employment. Should we get rid of teacher tenure?
This house believes that we should get rid of teacher tenure.
“I agree..” It’s difficult to replace an underperforming tenured teacher due to the long legal process it entails. According to the New Teacher Project, 86 percent of American school administrators forgo dismissing an incompetent teacher because of the time-consuming process. In addition, around 30 percent of school districts in New York decline to dismiss tenured teachers because the process is too cumbersome. According to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, “The line from dismal performance to dismissal has hardly been streamlined. For the most part, state and local policies create a tortuous maze of paperwork, regulations, and directives.” Furthermore, tenure creates complacency because teachers know they are unlikely to lose their jobs. For example, many tenured teachers hand out work packets or let their students watch movies in class. Educator Michelle Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst, says that tenure “has no educational value for kids.” Chris Hong Copy Editor (email@example.com)
“I disagree…” Many schools are dealing with budget cuts, and tenure prohibits them from dismissing experienced teachers to hire less expensive teachers. Marcia Rothman, who has taught for 14 years, stated, “They don’t want old experienced teachers who are too expensive. It’s a concerted effort to harass older teachers so they can hire two young teachers.” In addition, tenured teachers are more creative in the classroom. According to Barbara Kerr, former president of the California Teachers Association, “Teachers are afraid to try new, innovative things if they are afraid of losing their job.” Plus, David McGrath, a teacher at Edison State College, says that tenure “ensures academic freedom to teach important concepts such as evolution and classic texts such as Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, or Catcher in the Rye, all of which have been banned by some school districts.”
Christine Kim Staff Reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. What is the main argument of pro?
2. What is the main argument of con?
3. Do you agree with pro or con?
1. Do you think tenure creates complacency?
2. Do you think any smart person would want to teach if teachers' tenure weren't guaranteed?
3. When would you be more creative - when you're afraid of losing your job or when your tenure was guaranteed?