14 April 2014
Teacher Tenure Synthesis Prompt
(Suggested time—40 minutes. This question counts for one-third of the total essay section score.)
Directions: The following prompt is based on the accompanying six sources.
This question requires you to synthesize a variety of sources into a coherent , well-written essay. When you synthesize sources, you refer to them to develop your position and cite them accurately. Your argument should be central; the sources should support your argument. Avoid merely summarizing the sources.
Remember to attribute both direct and indirect references.
Tenure is a senior academic's contractual right not to have his or her position terminated without just cause. If it is defined as such, it would appeal to most as reason. Excellent teachers do deserve a secure job with benefits. Teachers do deserve to have their future protected; but what about the children’s future? Who will protect the minds of tomorrow from teachers who just sit and wait for their pension funds fill up?
Read the following sources (including the introductory information) carefully. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least three sources for support, evaluate the most important factors that if tenure, should be kept as a teacher’s perk or get ridden of all together.
You may refer to source by their titles (Source A, Source B, etc.) or by the descriptions in parentheses.
Source A (eHow)
Source B (Thibodeaux,)
Source C (Galouchko)
Source D (Stephey)
Source E (Brill)
Source F (Englehart)
"Should Teachers Get Tenure?" ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
The following is excerpted from an online article.
Tenure allows teachers to work more effectively since they do not need to be in constant fear of losing their jobs. Without the anxiety and fear of losing employment, teachers can focus their efforts on providing the best education for students.
Tenure encourages the careful selection of qualified and effective teachers. Since it is difficult to remove tenured teachers, tenure encourages school administrators to take more care when making hiring decisions. Additionally, tenure prompts administrators to dismiss underperforming teachers before they achieve tenure and cannot be removed as easily.
Tenure allows teachers to advocate on behalf of students and disagree openly with school and district administrators. Award-winning history teacher Kerry Sylvia said that without tenure, she would be afraid of being fired because of her public opposition to initiatives by administrators.
Tenure makes it difficult to remove underperforming teachers because the process involves months of legal wrangling by the principal, the school board, the union, and the courts. A June 1, 2009 study by the New Teacher Project found that 81% of school administrators knew a poorly performing tenured teacher at their school; however, 86% of administrators said they do not always pursue dismissal of teachers because of the costly and time consuming process. It can take up to 335 days to remove a tenured teacher in Michigan before the courts get involved.
Tenure makes it costly for schools to remove a teacher with poor performance or who is guilty of wrongdoing. It costs an average of $250,000 to fire a teacher in New York City. New York spent an estimated $30 million a year paying tenured teachers accused of incompetence and wrongdoing to report to reassignment centers (sometimes called "rubber rooms”) where they were paid to sit idly. Those rooms were shut down on June 28, 2010.
Tenure makes seniority the main factor in dismissal decisions instead of teacher performance and quality. Tenure laws maintain the "last-hired,...
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