I’ve steered clear of the following blog topic for the last three years (how time flies when you are blogging).
This seems to be the hottest of all education topics.
Tenure trumps them all.
Just saying the word can provoke a heated discussion (and get you beaten up in a Teacher’s Lounge near you…).
You are either for it, or against it.
It’s hard to find someone who rides the fence on this issue (much like Dancing With the Stars… some love it and some find it as enjoyable as abdominal cramps).
To me that’s the problem.
Those of us with tenure (yes, I am a proud owner (or not) of what could be construed as a lifetime teaching job) absolutely love the idea.
And what’s not to love.
Tenured teachers have jobs (very important in this day and age). If that wasn’t enough, they (evil administrators) can’t fire those tenured teachers.
And as an added bonus, our raises are based on the number of years we have taught and has nothing to do with productivity.
It’s a little piece of heaven.
I’m not saying this is right. I’m not saying it’s wrong.
I’m just saying it’s our system.
Then there is the anti-tenure crowd.
This is a rather large and angry group which includes pretty much everyone else in the free world (and most people in Cuba).
Anyone who doesn’t have tenure (99.999999% of all humans) believes it is the dumbest idea since New Coke (which incidentally, I enjoyed).
These people think far too many teachers who attain tenure end up going through the motions while cashing an ever increasing paycheck.
I’m not saying they are right.
I’m not saying they are wrong.
I am saying tenure is woven into the fabric of our educational system.
Some states are considering passing No Tenure Laws (way to be a leader Florida… and I’m crossing my fingers you don’t send us another Bush for The White House…).
Tenure has never seemed very American to me.
I’ve always thought our country was built on the idea that if you work hard and pay your dues (figure of speech… not Union) it’s possible to make your fortune and climb the ladder of success.
If you think like I do (and for your sake, I pray you don’t), tenure may be holding good teachers back.
They aren’t granted the opportunity to be judged financially on the great work they do.
They are lumped in with all teachers, good and bad.
Those who work 12 hour days and those who hardly work at all.
I think that’s a shame.
Tenure doesn’t help our best and brightest.
Unfortunately, it’s major purpose seems to be protecting older teachers from vindictive administrators and school boards.
This is important, but is it reason enough to keep tenure in 2010?
The title of this blog comes from The Soup Nazi. My hero. My mentor. My compadre (at least he will be after I learn Spanish).