First off, let me just state that I have always worked in higher education. Here tenure is a big deal and I think it is in k-12 as well. My question is – should we still have tenure at any level?
I spent the last few days researching this topic and have read some good articles on both sides of the argument. I went in with the notion that this is not a good thing and is in fact doing more harm than good. However, after doing some further reading I have really come to look at it from both sides.
I do think that most folks would say that when it was implemented in the early 1900’s it was done for good reason. Mainly for the protection of women educators. However, now 100 years later as the world has changed it might be a good time to revisit this issue. One of the major problems with that, at least at the k-12 level has been the power of the education unions.
From my standpoint of doing graduate research over the past 2 years, I have really embraced the active learning, student centered, constructivist teaching methodology. This outlook is really focused on the students. From what I personally have seen, tenure is not helping the students in the classroom or empowering faculty to take more risks in teaching then they normally would have without tenure. I have seen the assessment and evaluations take a dive after a faculty member reaches tenure. I have also seen tenured faculty taking all of the higher level (less students) classes and giving the low level classes to new faculty, now this may really have nothing to do with tenure, but just an observation on my part.
Please know that I have also seen amazing teachers continue to be amazing teachers. So, does tenure really make a difference for learning (positive or negative) and should it? I realize that this is hot topic so I welcome your feedback on either side of the argument.