Opinion: Reformers beware: Tenure elimination no panacea for failing schools

Terry Cowgill
Terry Cowgill

Terry Cowgill lives in Lakeville, blogs at ctdevilsadvocate.com and is news editor of The Berkshire Record in Great Barrington, Mass. Follow him on Twitter @terrycowgill.

Like a prairie fire in the middle of a drought, the movement to repeal or reform the nation’s teacher tenure laws is spreading rapidly.

Emboldened by a court decision in California last month that ruled tenure a violation of the state constitution’s prohibition against discrimination, parent activists are mobilizing elsewhere to launch similar challenges, with one filed recently in New York and another in the works here in Connecticut.

But before conservatives and education reform advocates get too fired up, they’d be wise to ask themselves how much the abolition of tenure would actually help their cause. And whether they’d be willing to live with the precedent of an activist judicial branch doing their bidding.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.



One response to “Opinion: Reformers beware: Tenure elimination no panacea for failing schools”

  1. piberman

    Just about all public and private colleges have a tenure system. Both the best ones and the less capable. Makes it easier for both instructors and administrators and provides admirable protection all around. As do most paid private schools. Curiously there is an example here in CT that might give some perspective about the merits of tenure. Yale Medical School is well recognized as one of the world’s outstanding medical schools. It does not grant tenure. Outstanding performance is thee requirement. Yet it has no trouble attracting the very best faculty surgeons the world over. And attracting patients world wide desiring the very best medical care. Some of us owe our lives to YMS surgeons precisely because they are pre-eminent in their fields. Not because they earned tenure earlier in their careers.

    Arguably the US is the world’s most favored immigrant destination precisely because we do not have tenure in our business sector. But our state and federal sectors dance to a different drummer. Most have de facto tenure.

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