Education is the single most important factor in not only an individual’s life and their outcome for success, but also the outcome of future success in America. In order for our country to be successful we must invest in our future generations and the training they will need once they move on to their future endeavors. Although America spends vast amounts of money each year on education, money is not always the answer. We must improve the performance in our classrooms by making sure we have the strongest faculty possible. Teachers being given the luxury of tenure are hurting student performance and the performance of America.
Tenure is not only allowing teachers to keep their jobs secure based off experience rather than performance, but also it is this job protection that makes the removal of poorly performing teachers so difficult and costly. In a result, most schools end up retaining their bad teachers. Teachers having tenure is a very controversial issue in today’s society. There are many pros and cons to this subject, but it is crucial that we have the strongest faculty we can in order to have a bright and prosperous future for this country. Teacher’s tenure is a form of job protection that public school teachers receive after 1-7 years on the job.
It was created in the early 1920s in order to protect teachers from losing their jobs to younger less expensive teachers. According to Time U. S. magazine, “Roughly 2. 3 million public school teachers in the U. S. have tenure”(Stephey). With all the budget cuts that have happened, many talented, energetic and young teachers are being fired in order for other teachers to keep their job. Teacher’s job security should be based on performance in the classroom rather than years a teacher’s been teaching. Teacher’s tenure is one of the most controversial issues in education today.
Many people argue that it protects teachers from being fired for personal or political reasons, and prevents the firing of experienced teachers to hire less expensive new teachers. Before tenure was in place, teachers would be fired if a new political party took office or even if the principle wanted to make room for a teacher friend. Tenure adds stability for the community around it because teachers with long careers are known and trusted throughout the community. Proponents also say that eliminating teacher tenure would discourage people from entering the teaching profession.
Many people would decide to invest their talent in a more securable profession rather than risking their future on what could be a future pink slip. Having less talent in the teaching field would greatly impact education in a negative way. It would reduce innovation in teaching because many teachers’ lesson plans would become skewed towards the standardized tests in order to keep their jobs. Standardized test should not be the reason a teacher loses his or her job, but no teacher should have the luxury of having guaranteed job security.
According to the pro-education reform documentary “Waiting for Superman,” only one out of 1000 teachers is fired for performance-related reasons each year. Teachers with tenure are the older and more experienced teachers. Although they may have experience, their age may be a downfall in their teaching tactics. The older a teacher is, the less energy they have for holding the attention of the class. Especially in the technological age, teachers must be not only energetic and relatable to their students, but they must also be computer savvy.
Every classroom now a days has either a computerized white board, projector, or even a class set of laptops. The future of education relies on technology and many teachers that hold tenure have not grown up around such technology. This restricts them on their ability to utilize technology in order to relate to their students. With the high school drop out rate increasing each year, teachers must be well equipped with skills of not only the Internet, but also power points, online lectures, and also online tutoring that all their students may have access to.
Society has risen the new generation of students to live off technology. Hardly ever do students look something up in a book rather than resorting to Google to find their answer. In a result, teachers that are younger with less experience in the classroom, tend to have more experience with the technological tactics of learning that many present day students prefer. Relating to the students learning habits is crucial for their future success in higher education. Firing a teacher with tenure is a very long and difficult process.
It may take up to a year before the courts become involved before a teacher may lose their tenure. Teacher tenure requires schools to make long-term spending commitments and prevents districts from being fiscally flexible. Teacher employment contracts generally lack provisions for declining enrollment and economic turmoil. As a high school student, I saw many first hand accounts on the effects of tenure. Although it does affect teachers the most, the community around the school may be affected as well. While I was in high school, our school experienced many of our most talented young teachers being “pink slipped”.
Many of the teachers being fired were the most respected around the campus, being favored by the student body by the way they could relate, and teach a subject with such interest. The majority of the school was outraged that many of the younger teachers were being fired rather than the uninteresting older teachers that did not get through to their students as well. The issue began to enter the classrooms affecting the learning of the students. The problem resulted in an organized “walk out” were the majority of my school walked out of their classrooms in an attempt to save the jobs of their favorite teachers.
Although teachers tenure may create stability in a community, fair job protection, and an attractable job profession, tenure must either be eliminated completely, or much more difficult to acquire. Teachers in the K-12 must be held to the same requirements as a college professor in order to acquire tenure. Acquiring a tenure in college requires not only participation in the classroom for a certain amount of years, but also contributions to their given field and accomplishments they make in their long career. Teachings in the K-12 are usually held to the standard of working for two to seven years and then being rewarded job security.
By being able to acquire tenure so easily, the education system as a whole suffers. With less talented teachers having secure jobs, students do not learn as efficiently which contributes to the lack of college degrees in America. Education as a whole is the most important issue for America’s success. In education, learning does not start with the student, but instead the tools they are given to succeed. We must either eliminate tenure, or raise the difficulty of acquiring such job security for the betterment of our future leaders.