Manny is at the Stove
Good Morning, Breakfastpoppers. Today is Monday, April 23, 2018. Our pious friend, Mantis Manny, is in the kitchen baking carrot cake muffins for our enjoyment. I am at the bar preparing Irish coffees to add to the culinary experience. Manny has asked for the pleasure of your company this morning. The Fresno State professor who trashed Barbara Bush angered Manny along with most normal caring citizens of our nation and the world. Manny has some thoughts about this professor and others like her who are protected by the inane practice of extending tenure. Please join Manny and me this morning to enjoy the muffins and discuss the subject of tenure. We hope to see you soon. I'll leave the door open.
A Job for Life
Thanks so much for joining us this morning. Pop was kind enough to purchase all the ingredients for the muffins and coffees. She is quite generous with her money even though she doesn't have a job guaranteed for life. For that matter, neither do I. At any moment an exterminator might come along and blow me away. There simply aren't any guarantees in life, except if you are a teacher. How does that make sense?
Fresno State professor Randa Jarrar tweeted a repulsive remark about the late Barbara Bush calling her a "rascist." She expressed delight upon her passing and has since remained completely unapologetic about her tasteless remarks. She also pointed out that she has no worries about losing her job, because she is tenured. Now that's a real problem for me. In the real world, you get to keep your job based upon your performance. Corporate America doesn't guarantee anyone's position. Slack off and you just might be on the unemployment line. Not so for teachers. Once they teach for a few years they are granted tenure which is a status that indicates that their position is permanent. A school district or university can't legally fire a tenured teacher without substantial proof that the teacher is no longer fit to teach for reasons of incompetence, insubordination, immorality, moral turpitude or neglect of duty. The process is long, expensive, arduous and almost never happens. Teachers who have tenured status are good to go forever and a day. The practice ensures that awful teachers keep their jobs, and students and parents have to cope with the problem.
Students Pay the Price
The practice of tenure was originally established at religious schools to protect academic freedom. That took place in the 1700s, but since then tenure has turned into an unrealistic and unbelievable benefit for those in the teaching profession. The practice of tenure is impacting our student, because less than gifted teachers are imparting knowledge in less than effective ways. There is no standard of excellence when it comes to a tenured teacher. Do an amazing job or an uninspiring job and all things are equal. It's the students who get the short end of the stick, never the teacher. It also fosters old ideas and methods of teaching. If you know you have a job for life, the incentive to grow and improve gets lost in the shuffle. Tenure also prevents schools from hiring more teachers in up and coming fields, because their budgets must cover the cost of tenured teachers whose subject areas are in less demand. Tenure becomes the professional equivalent of snapping handcuffs on education. The integrity of the education system suffers because of an outdated concept.
Adding Insult to Injury
A perfect example of the insanity of tenure in the modern world is evidenced in New York City. Teachers who are not deemed fit to teach for a myriad of reasons come to a place everyday called the ":Rubber Room." They spend their days in the company of other incompetent teachers accruing their pensions and sick benefits. The system doesn't know how to fire them, so instead they sit and sit and sit at taxpayer's expense. Tenure is outdated, unnecessary, stifling for education and it often results in situations just like in New York. Teachers who would lose their jobs in a saner world still receive benefits, salaries and pensions. Some of those in the 'Rubber Room" have been accused of molesting students, but yet they receive protection under a broken system. There has to be a better way.
A Better Way Forward
The practice of granting tenure has to disbanded if our education system is to become vibrant again. We need to be flexible when it comes to education. We need to explore new avenues in an ever-changing world. We can't do any of this if our hands are tied for life by being forced to employ teachers who are less than inspiring and who haven't kept up with the times. Perhaps we should follow the lead of the business world. Teachers who display a gift for teaching could be granted contracts for a specific period of time. The desire to have those contracts renewed would add knew life to a deadened system which doesn't demand excellence. The University of Minnesota did away with tenure 20 years ago. The staff has since been on one-year rolling contracts. Contracts, whether long term or short the,would give teachers a chance to prove themselves. Once their performance has been shown to meet the needs of the school and the students, the contract could be renewed for a longer period of time.
In any case, something needs to be done. We need to get rid of tenure and place the teaching profession in the real world where excellence is rewarded with raises and promotions. Anything would be better than what we have now. What have we got to lose?
The moment I wake up
Before I stretch my wings
I say a little prayer for you...