Issue: Teacher Tenure Antonio Hernandez Kaela Zielinski EDUC6245 George Washington University
What is tenure for teachers? Tenure for public school teachers is defined as gaining permanent employment after successfully completing a probationary period and cannot be dismissed or disciplined without just cause and due process. (Baratz-Snowden) New Jersey in 1909 was the first state to pass a law to protect teachers from being fired because of arbitrary principals. Today, every state has a tenure law. These laws may be classified under; fair dismissal procedures, continuing contract or service, permanent status, career status, and post-probationary status. (Baratz-Snowden)
Teacher tenure and district seniority has become an extremely popular debate educationally and politically in regards to its effect on student achievement. This presentation will look at both sides of this debate. Tenure should be in place because it protects our most qualified and experienced teachers. Tenure should be eliminated because it allows ineffective teachers to stay in the classroom.
Teachers prove their worth with tenure Non-tenured teachers work to achieve tenure by meeting necessary requirements and expectations specified by the school district. These teachers go through a probationary period in which their teaching and performance is assessed. “Tenure protects teachers who are willing to stand up to authority and advocate for the interests of students.”(Bratz-Snowden)
Districts have agreed to tenure through contracts. Through collective bargaining, tenure is part of a deal struck with employers for a sense of job security, assuming they continue to meet the system’s performance expectations. Often times during collective bargaining with employers teachers would work for lower salaries in exchange for greater job security
Tenure protects teachers rights. Due process rights are an important component to teacher tenure laws because they help to protect teachers from dismissal based upon unfound or unjust cases.
Teachers Need Protection Tenure protects competent teachers from arbitrary non-renewal of contract for reasons unrelated to the educational process, such as: – Personal beliefs, unpopular political opinion, religious beliefs and practices – Personality conflicts with administrators or school board members, that don’t necessarily reflect teaching ability.
Teacher Layoffs/Budget Cuts Tenured teachers have put in the time and effort to ensuring that they don’t get laid off before inexperienced younger teachers. Tenure protects against districts firing senior teachers for younger ones especially during lean financial times.
Looking at…. THE OTHER SIDE
Tenure + Effectivness = N/A In 2008 the National Council on Teacher Quality found: -only 2 states require evidence of teacher effectiveness when deciding tenure -47 states award tenure in three years or less (which is not enough time to formulate objective data) -46% of teachers surveyed said they know a teacher who is tenured but is clearly ineffective and shouldn’t be in the classroom.
The difficulty of dismissing a teacher -2008 in New York City only 3 of 30,000 teachers were dismissed for a cause. -Between 2005 and 2008 in Chicago only .1% of teachers were dismissed. -Akron/Toledo/Denver …. 0% Thoma, Evan. Why we must fire bad teachers, Newsweek. March 6, 2010. Costs?? *New York State: $250,000 and up to 5 years to fire a tenured teacher *Los Angeles school district spent 3.5 million trying to fire 7 teachers out of 33,000 for poor classroom performance over a ten year period. *Illinois spent an average of $219,504 in legal fees to get rid Of a bad teacher School districts call this the dance of the lemons – since teachers can’t be removed, they get moved from school to school.
What happens to students with ineffective teachers??? “From the moment students enter a school, the most important factor in their success is not the color of their skin or the income of their parents, it’s the person standing a the front of the classroom.” (President Obama, 2009) -In a study done by Stanford University: removing 6-10% of the lower quartile would take the United States from 29th to 7th in ranking internationally of math scores. “If the effects were to accumulate, having a top-quartile teacher rather than a bottom quartile teacher four years in a row would be: Enough to close the black-white test score gap… Have twice the impact of reducing class size from 22 to 16.” Source: Gordon, R., Kane, T.J., and Staiger, D.O. (2006). Identifying Effective teachers Using Performance on the Job. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution.
Last Hired, First Fired When teacher tenure is followed and school districts need to make cuts based on finances – the newly hired and less experienced teachers are first to lose their jobs. Least Effective Teachers Most Effective Teachers Only 13-16% of the teachers laid off in a seniority-based system would also have been cut under an effectiveness-based system. Layoffs based on effectiveness cut only the lowest-performing teachers—regardless of how long they have taught. Top performers of all experience levels are protected. Seniority-based layoffs ignore the fact that novice teachers are not always the least effective teachers. Teachers of all levels of effectiveness lose their jobs; 80% of those cut are better than the lowest performers who continue teaching. Sources: (1) Boyd, Donald; Lankford, Hamilton; Loeb, Susanna; and Wyckoff, James (2010). “Teacher Layoffs: An Empirical Illustration of Seniority v. Measures of Effectiveness.” The Urban Institute, National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER). (2) Goldhaber, Dan and Theobold, Roddy(2010). “Assessing the Determinants and Implications of Teacher Layoffs.” Center for Education Data & Research, University of Washington-Bothell.
Tenure makes number of teacher layoffs larger Budget cuts have resulted in “the most rampant layoffs of teachers and other government employees in decades,” as “72,700 education jobs were eliminated in September (2010) on a seasonally adjusted basis.” Goldhaber, Dan. A worm in the apple, The implications of Senority Based Teacher Layoffs. NRI. Jan 13, 2011
BIG QUESTION Does teacher tenure still fit into our educational system?