If this doesn’t describe why tenure in teaching is inherently flawed…not sure what does….

  1. Teacher tenure creates complacency because teachers know they are unlikely to lose their jobs.
  2. Tenure removes incentives for teachers to put in more than the minimum effort and to focus on improving their teaching.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Tenure makes seniority the main factor in dismissal decisions, instead of teacher performance and quality.
  6. Tenure laws maintain the “last-hired, first-fired” policy. Layoffs on seniority harms younger teachers.
  7. Tenure is not needed to recruit teachers.
  8. With job protections through court rulings, collective bargaining, and state and federal laws, teachers today no longer need tenure to protect them from dismissal.
  9. Tenure makes it costly 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.
  10. With most states granting tenure after three years, teachers have not had the opportunity to “show their worth, or their ineptitude.” Nov. 21, 2008 study by the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education found that the first two to three years of teaching do not predict post-tenure performance.
  11. Tenure at the K-12 level is not earned, but given to nearly everyone. To receive tenure at the university level, professors must show contributions to their fields by publishing research. At the K-12 level, teachers only need to “stick around” for a short period of time to receive tenure. A June 1, 2009 study by the New Teacher Project found that less than one percent of evaluated teachers were rated unsatisfactory.
  12. Tenure is unpopular among educators and the public. An Apr.-May 2011 survey of 2,600 Americans found that 49% oppose teacher tenure while 20% support it. Among teachers, 53% support tenure while 32% oppose it. According to a Sep. 2010 report, 86% of education professors favor “making it easier to terminate unmotivated or incompetent teachers – even if they are tenured.”
  13. Teacher tenure may benefit some teachers, but does nothing to promote the education of children. Former DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee said, “Tenure is the holy grail of teacher unions, but it has no educational value for kids; it only benefits adults.”
  14. 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.
  15. Public Agenda President Deborah Wadsworth argues that because senior teachers will choose to teach more resource-rich and less challenging populations instead of the classrooms that would benefit the most from experienced teachers, teacher tenure leads to “a distribution of talent that is flawed and inequitable.”
  16. School board presidents believe that teacher tenure makes it more difficult to improve education. In an Oct. 1, 2006 survey, 91% of school board presidents either agreed or strongly agreed that tenure impedes the dismissal of underperforming teachers. 60% also believed that tenure does not promote fair evaluations.

Largely taken from Teacher Tenure Pro/Con (with some creative liberties).

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