Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tenure for All

I have time for a rant before starting the final day of the Delaware 145th General Assembly. Having just heard another derisive comment about teacher tenure on national TV this morning, I feel it is time yet again for an explanation of teacher tenure. Let's call this one Teacher Tenure for Super Idiots.

All lawmakers, policy makers, and media pundits should have the integrity to do just a little research into what is teacher tenure. It is not the type of process and job security of major universities of old . By the way folks, this is rare even in academia today, as that sector has no more respect for employees than any other.

Teacher "tenure" (the term "tenure" is never actually used in DE Code) for K-12 teachers means nothing more than teachers get due process rights before termination. School districts must document poor performance and failure to show improvement after warning the teacher of the unacceptable performance. The teacher is entitled to a hearing before the terminating school board or a hearing officer appointed by them.

If we have a good teacher evaluation system this should not be a burden in any sense of the word to school districts. Under RTTT we are supposed to have superior teacher evaluation. Policy makers should also know that under the current system teachers with tenure are terminated every year. It is an absolute myth (lie) that it is impossible to terminate "bad" teachers under tenure.

My final point is one to rock the Chamber of Commerce. The idea of due process for termination is not some archaic privilege of education which should be eradicated; rather due process in termination is something which should be extended by law to ALL employees. It is good management practice and it is fair to workers. The concept of a disposable American workforce (employees at will) has done nothing for US quality of life. It is time we give "tenure" to everyone.

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