Recently the Los Angeles Times published a poll showing that most people dislike tenure, probably thinking it means a job for life, protecting incompetent lazy teachers. Do they know that tenure means due process, the right to a hearing before an independent person? I don’t know of another nation where education leaders are so obsessed with finding and firing teachers. Why aren’t they obsessed with recruiting well-prepared teachers, supporting them, mentoring them, and retaining them? These results are the direct consequence of the corporate reform mentality, displayed in Race to the Top and “Waiting for ‘Superman.'” Keeping this narrative going discourages people from entering teaching–a very difficult and low-paid career choice with long hours–and encourages veteran teachers to leave. We are approaching a crisis where the question will be: How can we persuade people to enter and stay in teaching? But of course, the entrepreneurs will be ready with online learning so that one paraprofessional can oversee 100 students. Maybe that’s the point.

 

Here are some letters written in response to the poll. Notice the letter from the teacher affiliated with the Gates-funded TeachPlus, who is willing to jettison job protections for all teachers because she knows a few “bad” teachers.