Friday, January 30, 2009

Tenure Review

And so the battle over teacher tenure continues. Courtest of the National Council on Teacher Quality, comes a report showing that most states (48) don't require any evidence of teacher effectiveness before granting tenure to the teachers. The article does mention that tenure doesn't mean a guaranteed job for life (which is more than many discussions on the topic include), but is generally critical of the system.

I have to say that I'm with the Council on this one. I'm not opposed to tenure. I'm not one of those who thinks that KIPP schools are going to be ruined now that some of them are engaging in collective bargaining. Tenure is fine and teacher unionization is fine. Neither of them are automatically opposed to successful education.

However, tenure seems to me like something that must be earned. At college campuses the tenure review committee is a big deal and the process takes years (and evidence). I don't think that the situation should be so radically different for our public schools. Let's grant tenure to the good teachers. But let them show that they've earned it first.

Also, those that are struggling, let's not just cut them loose. Just like every student has the potential to learn, let's assume that every teacher has the potential to be a good teacher. Instead of focusing on ways to make firing teachers easier, let's look at ways to make teachers better. The Gates Foundation is doing it. Maybe that will help get some of the idealocrats on board.

No comments: