|Governors’ Tough Talk on Tenure|
|posted by: Alix | January 18, 2011, 04:42 PM|
Last week in State of the State addresses in New Jersey, Idaho, and Florida, tough talking governors focused on education reform proposals all centered on eliminating tenure for public school teachers. With the issue of tenure making headlines lately, the support for elimination has been gaining steam nationwide.
In Governor Chris Christie's speech, he outlined reform proposals that he hopes will revolutionize education in the state of New Jersey. Christie maintains that tenure is an outdated policy that makes it nearly impossible to fire bad teachers. "Teaching can no longer be the only profession where you have no rewards for excellence and no consequences for failure," Christie stated in his address.
Idaho Governor Butch Otter's approach was similar. He stressed paying high-performing teachers more for their progress and his close relationship with newly re-elected Superintendent Tom Luna. "We need to refocus from how much we are spending to how much our children are learning – learning in large measure due to responsible parenting and the excellence and sustained efforts of our fine public school teachers. That excellence should be rewarded – which is why Superintendent Luna and I are committed to establishing a pay system for teachers that emphasizes their performance, not their tenure."
Florida Governor Rick Scott also advocated for broad reforms of teacher pay and seniority. "You make sure you measure the effectiveness of teachers and you make sure the teachers who are most effective are paid the most so they continue to teach. Next, you get rid of tenure. All tenure does is prevent principals from letting teachers who can't or don't do a good job anymore," stressed Scott.
While all three Governors are on the same page with taking steps to eliminate tenure, the question remains how they plan to evaluate teachers in their states. Governor Christie has commissioned a task force to issue a comprehensive evaluation plan, due for release this spring.
AAE members have strong opinions relating to tenure. Eighty-one percent of those polled in our annual member survey believe that tenure is not necessary for an educator to properly perform his or her job effectively. Further, eighty percent of respondents disagree that achieving tenure indicates an effective teacher.
With the call to eliminate tenure from Governors and Superintendents across the country, it seems inevitable that the policy will be implemented in school systems soon.
Do you think tenure is necessary?