Teacher%20Tenure[1] - Teacher Tenure David Ditzler Michael...

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Teacher Tenure David Ditzler, Michael Flanagan, Josh Jaeger, Steve Kircher, and David Wineburner AD LDSP 732 - The Politics of Education May 8, 2011
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Policy Brief – Teacher Tenure ABSTRACT Important factors to leading to great schools are a rigorous curriculum and highly qualified teachers. School administrators can do much to affect the curriculum, but based on current contractual conditions in most schools, ensuring that effective teachers are in every classroom is rather difficult. The practice of teacher tenure has hindered school leaders’ abilities to move teachers out of classrooms when needed, and because of this, students miss out on effective instruction. School administrators can, and do, run schools well, and with the absence of a tenure system, can run schools even better. This brief advocates for school districts to abolish the collectively bargained agreement that gives teachers tenure protections and implement a highly structured merit pay system that measures teacher success and rewards them accordingly. ISSUE According to Kingdon (2008), “Demonstrating that there is indeed a problem to which one’s solution can be attached is a very real preoccupation of participants in the policy process” (p. 93). Teacher tenure is a form of job security for teachers who complete a probationary period, which is typically three years. Opponents of the tenure system claim that it makes dismissal of ineffective teachers much too difficult; however, proponents counter that tenure is essential to protect teachers from arbitrary dismissal and tenured teachers are entitled to due process. Clearly, due process was the linchpin of the original purpose of tenure, prompting unionized units to fight to prevent arbitrary dismissal. This fight is unnecessary though because a person’s employment as a public employee is recognized as a property right under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. However, the dismissal of tenured teachers seems to be extremely rare, in fact, only an extremely low amount of teachers are dismissed. On average the percentage of tenured teachers who lose their job is between 0.1 % and 1% (Center for American Progress, 2008). In fact, “very few research studies exist that combine issues of recruitment and retention with the issue of teacher quality. The primary reasons for the scarcity of this research are that (a) it is difficult to establish an agreed-upon definition of teacher quality, and (b) few
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sources of data exist that permit researchers to identify effective teachers and examine the factors that promote their recruitment and retention” (Guarino, Santibanez, & Daley, 2006, p. 176). With the growing movement to hold educators responsible for student achievement, policy makers at the national state and local levels are focusing their attention to issues on nontraditional educational reforms. Political opposition has historically prevented tenure reform efforts from advancing, but opposition has decreased in recent years.
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