One need not look any further than the nightly news to see the attack on teachers and the spread of the alarming view that somehow the tenure they earn is the very impediment that keeps children from achieving enlightenment in the classroom. Just look at a recent article by TIME magazine (http://time.com/3533556/the-war-on-teacher-tenure/) depicting teachers as the Rotten Apples responsible for a crippled Public Education system. Or perhaps read the New York Post article (http://nypost.com/2014/11/07/tenure-being-doled-out-like-candy-under-de-blasio/) where it is declared that “tenure is being given out like candy”.
Even ‘The Simpsons’ has joined in the barrage of insults aimed at teachers and teachers’ unions. Last night’s episode asserted that the bad teachers could not be fired because “they’d earned tenure after just two short years”. The episode went on to suggest that the profession is littered with incompetent sociopaths that can’t be fired.
And yet, when you read the following article (http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/11/american_public_schools_chew_up_teachers_and_spit_them_out.html), you’ll be given some jarring statistics about how many leave the profession in the first year. Mind you, to become a teacher you have to get your degree, take a bunch of ridiculous tests that bear little in assessing pedagogy, obtain licensure through the bureaucracy of some department of education, keep up with nonsensical “professional development”, survive an onslaught of mandate after exhausting mandate, and to top it all off, deal with a world that seemingly hates your very existence.
After all of that, many teachers, young and old alike (rookie/veteran if you please), are leaving due to overload, abuse, mistreatment, disrespect, and an intolerable stress level. I’ll ask anyone reading this to ponder: if, in fact, tenure is the obstacle that stands in the way of children across the country learning at high levels, where then is the body of research to support such an assertion?
One would think that if tenure keeps kids from making progress, then surely all the public school systems in the country that have stripped teachers of due process should be outperforming those school systems with Terrible Tenured Teachers. As a country, we are at a crossroads. We must decide if we care about all children or just those of the elite and rich. Because if we do care about children and their education, we must protect the teachers.
Teachers working conditions are students learning conditions. The two cannot be separated. Teachers who suffer on a daily basis will have students who are deprived of a solid education. If we are to truly embark on a road to recovery where we put the child before the money, why not start by taking care of the teachers who stand before the children.