Monday, March 1, 2010

The truth about teacher tenure

There is obviously a broad misunderstanding, shared by some in the business community and even in the Department of Education, that teachers are "automatically" granted tenure after working in a school for three years.

As Advocate reporter Will Sentell writes here, they believe that tenure is "passive and routinely granted" after "just the lapse of three years."

That, of course, is simply not true. As LFT President Steve Monaghan points out in this letter to the editor, "in order to become tenured, a teacher must first have an academic degree, pass the relevant sections of the PRAXIS examination, and meet all other requirements to be certified. In addition, the teacher must then undergo a three-year probationary period. During that time, the teacher must be mentored, observed and evaluated by school administrators."

Administrators, Monaghan notes, have an obligation to ensure that teachers are effective before tenure is granted.

The LFT president says that tenure "should be a mark of excellence, and connote to the general public that the teacher who has earned tenure is a highly qualified, professional educator."

The Federation's goal, says Monaghan is to ensure that tenure is "an active and meaningful process, one that honors the teaching profession, enhances the teacher's professional credentials, and provides the general public with an assurance of quality."

Simply put, the Federation will support initiatives that aim for that goal, and oppose any that seek to diminish teachers or to devalue teacher tenure.

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