Our education is far more important than a teacher’s job security.
Tenure favors teachers’ careers and job security over student education. It compromises the utmost important goal of the education system.
The goal of the schooling system is to provide students with a paramount education. Teacher tenure tolerates the opportunity for bad teachers to hold their positions for far too long. It allows students’ educations to waste away in the classroom.
According to the Chicago Teachers Union, four years of evaluation are needed before tenure is awarded. In order to receive tenure, a teacher must accrue at least one ‘proficient’ rating during the first three years and another in the fourth year. This means a teacher could receive a ‘needing improvement’ rating for half of their career before receiving what is often likened to a lifetime contract.
Of the estimated 95,500 tenured teachers in Illinois, only an average of two teachers are dismissed for subpar performance annually. Former Stanford University professor Edwin Bridges, author of The Incompetent Teacher pegs the number of incompetent tenured teachers to be at around 5%. That means tenure allows for 4,775 ineffectual teachers to keep their posts.
Of course, the argument against teacher tenure stands with one caveat: it is aimed only at bad teachers. Good teachers who deserve job security are abundant throughout Evanston. Teachers are vastly underpaid when you take into account the true value of good education. The teachers who perform well on a yearly basis deserve to keep their jobs.
I will stop short of suggesting the disbandment of the teachers union. The union is imperative in maintaining high quality teachers. We should continue to protect the productive teachers while weeding out those with poor performance and work ethic. Those bad teachers should always have the opportunity to be displaced from their position, no matter how many years they’ve been teaching.
As a nation striving to compete with the well-educated populations across the pond, we cannot afford to compromise our education. Tenure impedes student success. In order for students to receive optimal education, tenure should be abolished completely.