Without Tenure…


Yesterday, twitter blew up with responses to Whoopi Goldberg and the View having one more uninformed discussion of tenure (and, really, we need to talk about why education discussions keep being driven by the work of comedians).

“#WithoutTenure I can be fired for….” was the tweet template of the day, and even though I rode that bus for a bit, it occurs to me this morning that it misses the point.

…It’s not the firing. It’s the threat of firing.

Firing ends a teacher’s career. The threat of firing allows other people to control every day of that teacher’s career.

The threat of firing is the great “Do this or else…” It takes all the powerful people a teacher must deal with and arms each one with a nuclear device.

Give my child the lead in the school play, or else. Stop assigning homework to those kids, or else. Implement these bad practices, or else. Keep quiet about how we are going to spend the taxpayers’ money, or else. Forget about the bullying you saw, or else. Don’t speak up about administration conduct, or else. Teach these materials even though you know they’re wrong, or else. Stop advocating for your students, or else. 

Firing simply stops a teacher from doing her job.

The threat of firing coerces her into doing the job poorly. Read the entire post>>