Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I have always, since the first time I stepped into my own classroom, loved my job. I have always looked forward to going to work. I have loved my time with my students. I have appreciated people's comments about my having answered a noble calling. I have accepted, with gratitude, discounts given to me because I am a teacher. It has truly been a great profession.

Until now.

Teachers are under attack from all sides. The issues are aplenty. Tenure, pay structure, unions, accountability, test scores, the length of the school year, curriculum, virtually every facet of public education is being deconstructed by people who have not the first clue how public education actually works.

Today, I'll talk about tenure.

On Oprah Winfrey's recent show with Davis Guggenheim, director of "Waiting for Superman," the hostess uttered these words: "After two years you have a job for life and you can't be fired! Who does that?"

Uh, no, Oprah. That's not what tenure is. But it's not surprising that you think that. I've read it in dozens of places recently, including from your "Warrior Woman," Michelle Rhee. What tenure does is that it guarantees due process rights to teachers so that they can't be fired without cause. Here's a source you might actually want to read.

1 comment:

Lowell Francis said...

Thank you-- I had only a slight notion of what teacher tenure meant at the school level. I can see now exactly why that's a false issue and yet another dead-end proposition from those calling for education reform, avoiding the real and heavy topics like classroom size, parental responsibility, and adequate funding.

As I have always said to everyone in the group, there are few friends I have a greater respect for than you. You do a job that I, quite frankly, don't think I could do. I'm pretty sure I don't have the patience, self-discipline or understanding to be the kind of skilled and thoughtful teacher that you are.