Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Would the Public Schools Be Better if Tenure Was More Like the Colleges?

The April 25th edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting commentary from the pseudonymous Philip Drew on the process of getting tenure in academe; the byline introduction states plainly, “Here’s why it’s usually a bad idea to promote assistant professors before the six-year mark.”

Six years. Golly Ned, that’s a long time. But is two years, like we have here in Washington for public school teachers, too short?

In reading the accounts of assistant professors on the Chronicle message boards it’s pretty apparent that those pre-tenure years are a special kind of hell. The trick is that when they attain the security that tenure provides, they’ve attained something pretty incredible, and they’ve damn well earned it. Can the same be said for teaching?

Governor Schwartzeneggedegegger was burned hard a few years back when he proposed raising the minimum number of years required to earn tenure in the California public schools from two to three; he might have had a point.

What are your thoughts on tenure for teachers? Is two years enough? Should it even exist?

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