Insight on tenure

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Tenure appears to be disappearing and I don’t know how I feel about that. Teachers need more protections than the public may realize. For one thing, some students lie so well they can make me doubt myself. (Maybe I didn’t see him throw it. No, that’s ridiculous. I was only 15 feet away. He threw it.) For another, administrators can be both vindictive and arbitrary, not to mention incompetent.

Eduhonesty: Nonetheless, I’d like to note one problem with tenure.

After four years in Illinois, a teacher who has become tenured may be difficult to remove (this is less true all the time) but the administration has to decide within four years whether to fish or cut bait. Will “Karen” learn to manage her classes? Maybe. Classroom management in urban and financially-disadvantaged school districts often proves a tough proposition. If they cut Karen loose in year one or two, they are fairly safe from challenges and legal repercussions. But Karen may be a great teacher in a few years. Who knows? Administrations under a tenure system may not be able to take the chance and wait, unfortunately.

When they talk about that 50% of teachers who leave the field within 5 years, I think part of that percentage is created by administrators who got stuck with a tenured turkey or two and decided to take no future chances. Many teachers with good potential may lose their positions for this reason.