Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chester Finn Jr. Calls for an End to Teacher Tenure | Diane Ravitch's blog

Chester Finn Jr. Calls for an End to Teacher Tenure | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Chester Finn Jr. Calls for an End to Teacher Tenure



In this post, Chester (Checker) Finn Jr. questions the need for teacher tenure. Getting rid of tenure, he says, will save money, as it has in higher education, where money is lavished on administrators’ salaries and facilities, but not faculty (except for the Big Names).
He thinks that teacher tenure is a relatively recent invention, copying tenure in higher education. Actually, this is not true. Teachers began fighting for some form of job protection in the early twentieth century, to avoid losing their jobs to the sister, cousin, or daughter of a politician or school board member. In my reading on the history of tenure, I never saw evidence that teachers wanted to copy higher education, which was then a rich man’s institution. They wanted a modicum of job security to protect them from political interference with their work.
Finn also makes the mistake of confusing teacher tenure with “lifetime employment.” That is a common error. Teacher tenure is NOT lifetime employment. It is a guarantee of due process. If a teacher is accused of an inappropriate action or failure to perform his or her duties, they are entitled to a hearing before an impartial arbitrator. Why is that so onerous? Finn likes the current business model, where a deputy of the boss arrives without notice and says clear out your personal possessions, locks your computer, and escorts you to the door.
He thinks it is a good idea that tenure in higher education is waning but never wonders how “contingent faculty” manage to scrape by on a per-course payment that might add up to only $20,000 a year–or less.
“Tenure arrived in K–12 education as a trickle-down from higher ed. Will the demise of tenure follow a similar sequence? Let us earnestly pray for it—for tenure’s negatives today outweigh its positives—but let us not count on it.
“Almost every time I’ve had an off-the-record conversation in recent years with a university provost, they’ve confided that their institutions are phasing tenure out. Sometimes it’s dramatic, especially when prompted by lawmakers, such as the changes underway at the University of Chester Finn Jr. Calls for an End to Teacher Tenure | Diane Ravitch's blog:

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