War over Teacher Tenure

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The fight over teacher tenure is hurting our children’s education. By: Meir S. Zimmerman

The war between the Teachers’ Union and various levels of the government over tenure has been raging ever since tenure was first introduced into the American school system in the late 1880’s. Created for a good reason, tenure provided job security for many public school teachers. In no other profession can you find the job security, where it is almost impossible to fire incompetent workers. Times have changed, and so comes the need for change in the system. What once brought comfort to teachers is now the source of most teacher-administration fights. Amidst the fights that break out almost every year, one party continues to be the biggest loser: our children. America, once on top the world in testing, has faced a steady decline in the world education rankings. There is no question a major flaw in our system. Many school administrators and reformists believe that tenure’s strong hold leaves schools with incompetent teachers resulting in students getting a poor education. At the end of the year, many students will advance to the next grade but remain a year behind. Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert wrote in an article for Newsweek, “Nothing, then, is more important than hiring good teachers and firing bad ones.” How can America allow bad teachers to continue teaching our students? “A really poor teacher may only cover 50% of the required curriculum in a school year while a really great teacher can cover as much as 150% of the same curriculum,” says Peter Franzen, an education expert. “A student who is unfortunate enough to be in classrooms with poor performing teachers two years in a row will be on an entirely different academic trajectory than his or her peers.” The scary part is how frequently this occurs today. Tenure was first introduced to accomplish a very important goal: to provide teachers with a sense of job security specifically protecting them from...
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