This cover story in Monday's NYT underscores the enormous pressure that the unions are under. There is NOTHING more fundamental in their view than defending tenure. My view is that teachers should have reasonable protections against arbitrary dismissals – but nothing more. Doctors, lawyers, police officers, soldiers, nurses, firemen – NONE of them have tenure, so what's so special about teachers (other than having the most powerful union in the country behind them)? While there's a tiny bit of a credible argument that college professors should get tenure to ensure their academic freedom, this argument doesn't apply at the K-12 level.
Seizing on a national anxiety over poor student performance, many governors are taking aim at a bedrock tradition of public schools: teacher tenure.
The momentum began over a year ago with President Obama's call to measure and reward effective teaching, a challenge he repeated in last week's State of the Union address.
Now several Republican governors have concluded that removing ineffective teachers requires undoing the century-old protections of tenure.
Governors in Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada and New Jersey have called for the elimination or dismantling of tenure. As state legislatures convene this winter, anti-tenure bills are being written in those states and others. Their chances of passing have risen because of crushing state budget deficits that have put teachers' unions on the defensive.
G.O.P. Governors Take Aim at Teacher Tenure
Published: January 31, 2011