Posts Tagged ‘Tenure’


Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

I got into an exchange in the edublogosphere about tenure, whether it was a basic right, as one commentator claimed it wasn’t, or a way of keeping minority workers down (last hired, first fired) as another commentator claimed it was.  All I can say is that I have tenure for the time being and hope to hold onto it as long as I can.  Some of these comments came from the Windy City where I guess a lot of teachers don’t have crap. What’re you LA guys complaining about? they seemed to be saying. At least you have bargaining rights. So since Green Dot has “given” those rights to the teachers at schools like Locke (after axing the teachers who were already there) should I feel greedy that I don’t want them coming after my school (and tenure) too?  As Caroline Grannan puts it in a recent post:

Those (media) voices constantly cite teacher “tenure” as the evil to end all evils. Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines tenure:

“…a status granted after a trial period to a teacher that gives protection from summary dismissal.”

It seems to me that anyone who has ever worked for an employer would view “protection from summary dismissal” as a reasonable right for workers. That would include most every employee of the mainstream media corporations –- who I have a feeling haven’t thought this through when they do all that bashing, blaming and demonizing of teachers.

So if tenure isn’t a basic right, so be it.  But it is a reasonable right, which I think every teacher should have.

We’ve Got a File on You!

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009


Discussing the LA Times most recent foray into teacher bashing (it’s looking and sounding like the LA Daily News more and more ever day), my mother in-law stated the obvious, a habit I wish she’d get over. “I’ll tell you why people get upset with teachers.  It’s because they get tenure and nobody else does.”  That sent me to the Google to find out why schoolteachers get tenure, discovering the following after a few clicks:

Tenure is a form of job security for teachers who have successfully completed a probationary period. Its primary purpose is to protect competent teachers from arbitrary nonrenewal of contract for reasons unrelated to the educational process — personal beliefs, personality conflicts with administrators or school board members, and the like.

Okay.  Makes sense to me.  You’re a frontier teacher and you get pregnant out of wedlock.  Bam!  You’re fired.  You’re teaching at a public school in the ‘fifties and you leave your copy of The Communist Manifesto lying around.  You’re outta here! Don’t let the door hit you in your commie behind.

But those practices couldn’t still be happening now, my mother in-law might say.  Oh, no?  How about this little item about a teacher the school tried to axe after spying on her illegally with a surveillance camera?  How about the time years ago when a district thug told me to stop asking why he was grilling me for information about a colleague who was later removed (”You don’t want to know,” he had said)?

So don’t cry for teachers, John Q. Public.  But don’t cry for the poor administrators who whine that they can’t fire or spy on whomever they want.

And PLEASE don’t cry for Arne Duncan who wants to award tenure based on teacher “performance.”

Teachers don’t make widgets.  They educate kids.