Saturday, August 09, 2014

"Tenure," Doesn't Exist In K-12, No Matter What Some States Call It

The problem with this argument is public K-12 teachers don’t have “tenure,” no matter what certain states call identical civil service protections that other qualified public employees have. It doesn’t matter if teacher unions mistakenly call it that in some lame attempt to build solidarity with college and university professors. It isn’t “tenure,” so his entire argument is meaningless. Teachers do NOT have lifetime jobs, which is what “tenure” actually IS-ONLY the right to an administrative hearing–and the writer is under the illusion teachers have any kind of “freedom” to teach. They do NOT. As a teacher, if you are told you MUST teach a designated curriculum by your administrator and your district, you BETTER do it. “Academic freedom” does NOT exist in public K-12.

If a principal wants to dump a teacher, he or she can do it, and very easily, knowing it is almost impossible to fire administrators thanks to many of them having unions (which should be illegal since they are management) and powerful connections. Districts have all kinds of ways to get of teachers from their “lifetime” jobs.

“Due process” only protects school districts from having to spend more money on expensive litigation. Few teachers nationwide avail to hearings anyway but take severance packages in lieu of them (called “settlements”).

In the old days, principals were less inclined to get rid of teachers because of the damage to school and staff morale. Only those teachers who really deserved to be canned WERE canned. It has never been the case principals couldn’t fire teachers–they always could. Just because they didn’t do it much wasn’t because they couldn’t do it.

When I say “tenure” protects school districts, I am referring to it being a check on a principal’s worst tendencies to get rid of people he or she doesn’t want. It saves on civil litigation costs. Starving teachers into taking piddling severance packages in exchange for a gag order and a promise not to sue also saves them money. However, the hearings aren’t much used except in NYC and a handful of other urban districts where teachers and their unions have some sort of “pull.” Outside of those few areas, teachers have fewer protections than McDonald’s workers and have their careers easily ruined.

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