If school budgets continue to be slashed, innovative, energetic new instructors will be the first to be let go because they aren’t protected by the teachers union seniority rules. Tenure is something that I sincerely hope that teachers with seniority aren’t taking advantage of and relaxing in their teaching styles.
A recent article in Time Magazine, Making the Grade, points out that unless these rules are eradicated, education reform will be nothing more than “good intentions, extra dollars, and insufficient results”. This sounds a little anti-union to me, and I don’t think the rules need to be completely eradicated. They definitely need to be amended, though.
Tenure guarantees that a teacher cannot be let go without “just cause”. I don’t know if there is a list in existence of circumstances that would constitute “just cause”, but it would seem that there should be. If there is such a list, it should be updated to include changes being brought about by reform.
President Obama is in favor of continuing to measure the performance of schools. He’s also in favor of evaluating individual teachers based on student performance. “Don’t blame the teacher!” stands out in my mind and is something my father once said to me when I was in school. As a parent today, I now see that a student’s performance can absolutely depend on the teacher.
A superior learning institution will recognize and cater to the many different learning styles of students. I understand that many teachers with tenure have not achieved that status without proving themselves to be good educators. However, a great educator will have a higher percentage of students with strong grades because they are able to reach all of their students.
Once our teachers have the freedom to show how great they can be because they aren’t being held back by the necessity to “teach to the test”, then we will have reached a new level in education reform.