Arthur Goldstein, a high school teacher of English as a Second Language in New York City, explains in this article that good teachers need tenure too.
Goldstein gives examples of teachers who were denied tenure because they stood up for the rights of their students.
When he made demands on behalf of his students, only tenure protected him from being fired.
“Shortly thereafter, I requested books for my students. For some reason, they were unavailable. My colleagues could get books, but I couldn’t. By then I had less than one class set, so students had to share them.
“Months later, I learned the United Federation of Teachers contract said the school had to provide supplies. I threatened to file a grievance, something I had never done up to that point. A week after my threat, my kids got two brand-new class sets of books.
“Tenure doesn’t only protect the so-called bad apples, or teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence. It protects all teachers. This is a tough job, and despite what you read in the papers, it also entails advocating for our students, your kids, whether or not the administration is comfortable with it.
“I meet passionate and effective teachers everywhere I go. How many will stand up for your kids when schools don’t provide the services they need? How many will demand deserving kids pass classes even if they fail a standardized test? How many will tell state Education Commissioner John King that failing 70% of New York City’s students is not only counterintuitive, but also counterproductive?
“It’s hard to say. Abolish tenure and that number will drop very close to zero.”