[Disclaimer: I have several teachers in my family.]
As one of the teachers in my family once observed, “Everyone went to school so everyone thinks they are an expert.”
Teacher tenure is always controversial. Opponents say that it protects incompetent teachers; proponents say it protects teachers from political whims and retribution.
I can speak to the latter, at least a little bit. I know of one case in which a teacher was called on the carpet for giving an F to the daughter of a school board member. The teacher had caught the girl cheating on a final exam. I don’t think there were any permanent repercussions, but it must have been an unpleasant experience at the very least. It’s hard to say what would have happened had the teach not been tenured.
I can also say that I’ve seen incompetent or burnt out teachers in action.
The current argument is that tenure, and the consequent inability to “coach” ineffective teachers, is tied to student performance; and therein lies my question: are there any statistics that correlate the percentage of tenured teachers vs. the percentage of students performing below grade level? If there are any, I haven’t seen them.
I intend to look into this a bit.
Update: As of May 8, I haven’t gotten any response from my legislators.