Point: Does the teacher tenure policy ensure the best eduction for students?

Samantha Viel, Staff Writer


Teacher tenure is an employment condition that ensures due process in legal proceedings and restricts the ability to fire a teacher unless there is a “just cause.”  Although many assert that it only results in laziness and is a disadvantage for students, tenure enables qualified teachers to become more motivated and focused on providing the best education for students.  Teacher tenure is an effective protection that benefits student education and school districts nationwide.

While many believe tenure is the direct cause of incapable and unskilled teachers, it is specifically designed to strictly evaluate teachers and to assist struggling teachers before they are granted tenure.  New York State requires a variety of safeguards to verify the qualities of teachers.  For instance, in New York, tenure is only granted to teachers after three years of working in a school district as well as after numerous classroom observations.

Since it is difficult to fire tenured teachers, this process motivates administrators to deeply consider their decision when hiring teachers.  Therefore, tenure allows administrators to remove inadequate teachers before they attain tenure and cannot be easily dismissed.

“The tenure process ensures that teachers who receive tenure are qualified and are ultimately good teachers.  I think that tenure is effective because it provides new teachers with the opportunity to improve their skills and teaching methods,” said sophomore Kayla McElroy.

Without the fear of losing their jobs, teachers are motivated to work more effectively and center their efforts on ensuring the best education for students. Tenure provides educators with comfort and protection while lessening the fear to be flexible with their teaching processes and take risks with new materials and learning methods.

With no idea when the principal or supervisor may be checking a class, educators hoping to attain tenure often stick with simple lessons rather than trying something new.  By giving qualified teachers protection of their job, tenure gets rid of anxiety and allows educators to focus on providing educational experiences for their students.

Tenure allows equal treatment of teachers and creates ease and comfortability in an educational environment.

Although anti-tenure advocates believe that this is no longer applicable, tenure decreases unequal treatment due to race, religion, political beliefs or non-teaching related reasons.

In the past, teachers were dismissed because of teaching disputed and sensitive topics, such as evolution, or for disagreeing with the school board or other administrators.

With tenure, educators feel comfortable to discuss certain subjects and ideas and are not forced to agree with school district rules.

“I like how my teachers feel comfortable to discuss political occurrences that are happening around the world.  Without tenure, I think that many of my teachers would lose this comfort to talk about sensitive ideas, which would greatly affect lessons and the amount of comfort between students and teachers,” said sophomore Izzy Jackson.

Teacher tenure also protects educators from losing their jobs after false accusations from students or parents.  After an accusation, school districts may find it easier to remove a teacher instead of investigating the issue in depth.  Since tenure requires a long and legally difficult removal process, it ensures that teachers are not dismissed without a fair trial.  Parents, wanting to protect their children, often blame teachers before hearing both sides of the situation.

Tenure also protects highly qualified teachers from being fired for being too expensive when schools make difficult decisions about what to cut from their budgets.

Without tenure, many school districts may be tempted to hire two inadequate teachers with a low salary rather than one effective teacher who may be too expensive.  Therefore, during budget cuts, tenure protects teachers who have honored their position over the years.

“It is comforting to know that well-liked and effective teachers are protected from being fired during budget cuts and prevents the idea of ‘quantity over quality,’” said sophomore Chloe Smith.

Ultimately, tenure grants teachers the security to become more successful educators.  With tenure, teachers are motivated to focus on their job and possibly become more flexible with lessons and teaching methods.  Additionally, teacher tenure secures an open environment in which teachers are free to express their opinions without threats of being fired.  These threats would undoubtedly serve to harm the learning environment for students.

Hard-working and determined teachers deserve to be protected from false accusations and slim budgets.  For these reasons, tenure is an effective teaching protection that allows education to benefit students.