Educate Yourself on Teacher Tenure - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Islander Times News

Educate Yourself on Teacher Tenure

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 4:31 pm

In California, the controversial topic of tenure in the education system has come to a head. On June 10, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu deemed teacher tenure unconstitutional on the grounds that it allows inefficient teachers to remain in the classroom, and those inefficient teachers are being disproportionately assigned to low-income schools. Treu quoted the historic desegregation case Brown v. the Board of Education in his decision, Vergara v. California, and declared that allowing the continuation of teachers’ tenure violates “a student’s fundamental right to equality of the educational experience.”

While hyperboles are being shouted from both the teachers’ union, which will be seeking an appeal to the decision, and the supporters’ sides, an opinion on the matter can’t be formed without proper facts. In California, teachers are eligible for tenure, or guaranteed employment for life, after just eighteen months in the classroom. Once they acquire tenure, dismissing that teacher becomes a costly legal matter that a school cannot carry out without proper cause. The process of removing a tenured teacher can take up to ten years.

Detractors of tenure offer the well-supported argument that teachers who acquire it become complacent in their jobs because they have a sense of security; they cannot be dismissed. Even with the job security however, I believe that teachers who truly love their jobs will continue to put their best work forward. Coronado High School has a plethora of beloved tenured teachers who continue to astound us with their enthusiasm in the classroom. “In a small district like Coronado, tenure has never meant guaranteed employment,” said calculus teacher Sandra Davis, who has taught at CHS for 25 years. “However, in a larger one like San Diego Unified, it can make a huge difference.”

That being said, our school also follows the “last hired, first fired” method of laying off teachers. Budget cuts have left many fresh, well-educated teachers jobless because they were new to their post, while the tenured teachers remain secure. Is this fair? It’s not, if the tenured teacher is proving the judges’ fear with their complacency.

As Judge Treu is arguing, the matter doesn’t really fall on teachers. It falls on us: their students. Treu stated that “all sides to this litigation agree that competent teachers are a critical, if not the most important, component of success of a child’s in-school educational experience.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Teachers inspire their students and can make or break interest in a subject. That doesn’t mean that tenured teachers automatically become lazy due to job security.

While three states and the District of Columbia have effectively removed tenure, it will likely be a long time before it is removed in California due to the planned appeal by teachers’ unions. Both sides of this issue offer valid arguments but, as with most controversial issues, the solution isn’t black or white. I wouldn’t advocate for the elimination of tenure as a whole. However, the system could be more functional if it was difficult to acquire tenure, and eighteen months in the classroom doesn’t seem like a long enough time to be reviewed.

We come from high-income Coronado High School, with some of the most amazing teachers in California, many of whom are protected by tenure. In this way, we can be slightly biased in support of tenure. It is up to us as students, and more importantly, as future voters, to take an issue this crucial and examine all the facts before falling victim to the alluring, simple hyperboles.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • AmyKirstone posted at 9:33 am on Wed, Dec 24, 2014.

    AmyKirstone Posts: 11

    Quite a lot of interesting information, thank you for sharing. I'd say that teacher caries a lot of responsibilities today. So many aspects to keep track of. Moreover, when something goes wrong both school and parents blame it on you. I'd rather used My Essay Writers Online for college and taught remotely without supervision but right now I need this job. Let's hope working conditions will improve soon enough, I enjoy teaching and it's disappointing how everyone looks down on educators today. Anyway, keep up the great job, cheers.