Everyone Has a Price. When it Comes to Tenure, What’s Yours?

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I was reading an article in the New York Times about Michelle Rhee, the Chancellor of Washington D.C. public schools who has a dramatic idea on how to improve education.

She wants teachers to give up tenure. And earn more money.

Actually it is a little more complicated than that. Here is the link.What's Your Price?

To quote Ms. Rhee, “Tenure is the holy grail of teacher unions, but has no educational value for kids; it only benefits adults”.

The Washington Teacher’s Union has been hesitant to take her up on the proposal.

This blog isn’t about whether tenure is good or bad, but the amount it would take for you to give it up.

So would you?

Give up tenure? For a price?

And what is your price?

Don’t kid yourself, everyone has one. Mine is $2,000. Not a penny less. Alright, who am I kidding? $45. But that is my final offer.

You add that onto my salary each year and I will take my chances.

This may sound foolish, but in these tough economic times I think most people might settle for less than you think.

I would be interested if given this opportunity, but is there anyone else? And what amount would it take for you to roll the dice and work without tenure?

This may not be for everyone, but is it for you?

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6 Responses to “Everyone Has a Price. When it Comes to Tenure, What’s Yours?”

  1. Angie
    on Nov 17th, 2008
    @ 7:45 am

    Frankly, if someone were to tell me, “We no longer have tenure. Your performance each year will determine whether or not you keep your job,” I’d be scared, but would work my butt off to be the best teacher/administrator I could be. I take pride in my job and work hard anyway. No assurance of tenure would definitely kick it up a notch. If someone is fighting so hard to keep their tenure, then that tells me that they are not doing their best job. If they were, they’d be okay with not having that kind of security. They would work their hardest either way. In the case of Rhee, I think most of the people have been getting by on doing little and are scared that someone will now actually have the means to do something about it.

  2. Jen
    on Nov 19th, 2008
    @ 8:06 pm

    1) I’ll be certified soon, so I fully expect that as soon as I find a job, tenure will have a life expectancy of less than three years. I’m like a curse.

    2) She’s funding her grand scheme of big salaries in exchange for no tenure on one-time big donations from foundations. What happens when that money is gone? I’m guessing no tenure and no big salaries.

    3) I’d definitely like something somewhere between tenure and fire at will and salary based on kids’ test scores from one test — I don’t want to be fired because the principal’s sister needs a job or set up with the overcrowded class of kids who are least likely to achieve “proficiency.” I also don’t want to be fired because I’m making a lot of money and it would be cheaper to replace me (not that that is likely to happen, see curse referenced in #1)

  3. Doug Johnson
    on Nov 24th, 2008
    @ 3:12 pm

    Enjoying your recently discovered blog.

    I have been “serving at the pleasure of the board” as a non-affiliated tech director since 1991. No tenure, no bargaining unit, not that big a salary.

    The key here is not salary, but whether a mutually agreeable performance evaluation tool is being used. Fair tool, no need for tenure.

    And I don’t understand why anyone would want to work in a place he/she wasn’t wanted and valued!

    All the best,


  4. Interview Season. | PrincipalsPage The Blog
    on Apr 3rd, 2009
    @ 7:12 pm

    [...] say that in five years you hope to be on tenure, so you can get to school late and leave [...]

  5. Mcorbett76
    on Nov 19th, 2009
    @ 3:11 pm

    If I am offered tenure, I would rather turn it down and work for a living.

  6. Laurence Mason
    on Jun 19th, 2011
    @ 4:59 am

    PrinciplesPage is now, officially, my new favourite website. I enjoyed this article, but in the UK I’m not sure whether we have tenure or if it just goes by a different name.

    To my mind, tenure doesn’t have to be monetary. When I volunteered at East Malling Research quite a while ago, you could say my tenure was being offered a job after a few months. So think about whether you want to work for a monetary tenure, or do you want to work for appreciation and a reputation that precedes you?

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