MK 354 Spring 2010

April 26, 2010

Are we really still talking about tenure?

Filed under: blog #10 — Tags: — marringoodall @ 9:12 am

A recent article written by Kara Miller of the Culture Club questions the quality of teaching in public schools and how teachers should be rewarded and punished for the work they do.

The primary concern in this article is how teachers should be fired. Should the newbies be thrown to the dogs because they lack the experience of their older colleagues? Teachers’ unions find that the tenure system, which provides a job safety net to experienced faculty, is a matter of respecting seniority. When cutbacks are made under this system, it is the newer and younger teachers who are the first to be handed the unfortunate pink slips. Especially now in this time of financial crisis, cutbacks are being made frequently and educational leaders are beginning to question whether or not this system is fair and ensures the best education for students.

Washington D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee suggests a program where teachers forgo the security of tenure in order to be appropriated a salary reflecting the level of quality of their work. Salaries could potentially raise from $62,000 to $100,000 a year if a teachers go above and beyond to improve the education of their students. This performance pay may be the solution to get teachers to be more enthusiastic and engaged in their students’ education and schooling experience.

If a program like the one Rhee suggests were to go into effect, teachers may seek non-traditional opportunities outside of the classroom that could benefit student experience and improve learning enthusiasm. After-school and supplementary programs like those offered by Press Pass TV would likely see an increase in interest, participation, and funding. When most professional positions are given and maintained on the basis of merit, our country’s education system should be reevaluated to reflect this, especially if changes in incentives could positively affect student learning.

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