The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri was founded to support individualized learning opportunities for all Missouri students. Among the optimal learning tools for success, including modern technology, up-to-date infrastructure and the latest textbooks, nothing is more paramount for student achievement than proper instruction.
The best teachers have an innate ability to motivate and guide students in the classroom and to mold their behavior for future success in many walks of life. By their example and their work ethic they justly retain their jobs year after year. The practice of awarding teachers lifetime job security through tenure, however, makes no more sense than it would in the private sector.
Many other states, such as Florida, Idaho, Indiana, New Jersey and Nevada, are moving toward rewarding a teacher tenure based on student performance or even phasing tenure out altogether. Following President Obama’s exhortation in 2010 to measure and reward effective teaching, a challenge he reiterated in his 2011 State of the Union address, anti-tenure bills are being addressed in numerous states in an attempt to examine the rationale behind tenure.
Tenure laws originated at the beginning of the 20th century to protect teachers from favoritism or other prejudicial decisions. While the concept of tenure was noble and guarded professional educators from discriminatory policies, like any long-standing policies it has become all too often lax in application for educators who don’t take the time to evaluate their personnel thoroughly. Slipping student standards in the past few decades have reminded everyone of the importance of good teachers and, conversely, the damage that ineffectual teachers can wreak.
Tenure reform is designed to help reward superior teaching performance, provide better education for all students and emphasize the value of positive reinforcement for positive effort. That’s a valuable lesson for everyone.
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