Teachers need tenure for better education

Teachers are one of the most important parts of a school system. People would think for that reason, teachers should be guaranteed a certain amount of time in their position. The support of having a teacher on a tenure seems to be dwindling among people in many places around the country, some calling the seniority and tenures unconstitutional. The practice is still widely used today with 40 percent of school districts having an appeal process for those who have been laid off because of seniority to be negotiated. Teachers should be able to have the luxury of being on a tenure so they can focus on their teaching.

Under the current process of teacher lay offs, educators are let go on seniority unless the individual school board and teachers union negotiate their own layoff policies. With this policy in place, some valuable teachers could be laid off for less than appropriate reasons. For example, a teacher who has won a Teacher of the Year award could be laid off just because of a seniority rule or a teacher that understands the use of technology in the classroom very well could be laid off for reasons unrelated. This current process is not an accurate measurement of the effectiveness of the teacher.

One thing that has been implemented in attempt to fix the problem of unfair layoffs is a house bill by Branden Peterson (R-Andover). This bill would allow principals to make hiring and firing decisions based off of the newly proposed teacher evaluating system. This was a controversial idea. The main point of concern was that people thought that administers would then have the power to let teachers go based on salary or that they would be playing favorites.

“Both of those are illegal forms of discrimination,” said Peterson in Minnpost. “They kind of paint this boogeyman administrator who is going to do bad things.”

Both of those are illegal forms of discrimination. They kind of paint this boogeyman administrator who is going to do bad things.”

— Branden Peterson

Peterson doesn’t think that this will be the case. He believes that this bill will help weed out the ineffective teachers and keep the good ones, eliminating the problem of laying off good teachers. This offers a better alternative to the older methods of hiring and firing which was based on a set of predetermined rules that weren’t always fair. This new method will help keep effective teachers in their positions. This allows the teachers to be able to focus on their job in the moment. That way they can focus on their students and their needs versus trying to hold down their current job or find a new one.

One side of the argument opposes the teacher tenures because they feel that a teacher should not be guaranteed a position if they are not doing a good job or if they are not meeting standards. This argument is a concern that should be one of the biggest issues on the table. Why do we want to guarantee someone a position if they might decline in performance later? This issue was not over looked.

According to the 2014 Minnesota Statutes’ Section 122A.41 – a teacher may be demoted if they, “[display] immoral character, conduct unbecoming a teacher, or insubordination; failure to teach; inefficiency in teaching or in management of a school; affliction with a communicable disease; and discontinuance of position or lack of pupils.”

Should union still have continuing contract employees (tenure)?

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Now under the new statutes, a teacher can have a tenureship but still be held accountable. With many teachers none of the listed behaviors are ever a problem, but in the event that they happen they have better ways of managing the situation. The statute talks about “Inefficiency in teaching”. This speaks to the evaluation process. The teachers are evaluated and if they seem to not fit the requirements they can be placed on involuntary leave and possibly be let go (at discretion of the school board). In conclusion, the concerns of teachers being on an undeserved tenureship are addressed by the new statutes.

The issues with teacher tenures have been ongoing and will take some time to iron out. There are many good ideas floating around that could help the issue, but not all go into effect. Law making bodies tend to be slow, so a quick end to this issue should not be expected. All that can be done right now is to try to solve smaller problems and iron out the details.

Being a teacher is a big job. There are many responsibilities that come along with being a teacher such as preparing lessons and homework, or giving tests and helping students. These responsibilities are only handled correctly when they are the first and foremost issue. This is why teachers should be able to be on a tenure, so they can focus on their teaching.

People want the best education for their community, one way that they can do this is support movements to keep teacher tenures and to uphold ideas that will allow an educated and informed decision to be made on what teachers get the job.