Teacher Tenure in American Public Schools Essay

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Bad teachers poison American secondary education. Incompetent teachers frustrate and damage children. The culprit is tenure: allowing teachers to keep their jobs indefinitely, after a trial period. Historically, tenure protected teachers from being fired on whim or without reason in a volatile job climate. While this measure was once productive, tenure policies are now outdated, causing more harm than good. Tenure prevents bad teachers from getting fired, harming students and preventing school systems from maintaining the best teaching force possible.
Tenure promised job security to protect hard-working teachers. Originally implemented at the university level, tenure prevents skilled professors from being fired for simple reasons, working
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“The granting of tenure is seldom, if ever coupled with a list of responsibilities that go with it and few people think of those responsibilities upon receiving tenure. But a little thought will lead one to realize that for a college or university to bestow tenure with no concomitant responsibilities on the part of the recipient would make little sense.” (De George). In this sense, tenure seems like a logical way to ensure that professors will do their best to continue discovering knowledge as well as efficiently relaying that knowledge to their students.
Although tenure had positive effects in higher education, its impact in secondary education was debilitating. Twenty-six out of fifty states are currently Forced-Unionism states and therefore are affected by tenure. (National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation). Secondary education teachers do not preform research that is potentially controversial- so it is not an issue of academic freedom. In today’s regimented education, teachers can hardly deviate from a fairly specific curriculum. “Employment in a K-12 classroom does not require engagement in meaningful research. Furthermore, the academic standards in public primary and secondary schools are determined not by teachers but by the state and by the school district.” (Winters). Since No Child Left

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