Among today’s Soapbox entries, teacher Rachel Harkey writes about the misconception that teacher tenure is a job for life and the price teachers will pay for losing tenure, also known as “career status.”
Many people misunderstand tenure. It is not a job for life. It is simply protections put in place to protect a teacher from being fired without just cause. A teacher who is struggling must go through an improvement process and will be fired if appropriate progress is not made. I understand most other professions have no such protection. However, education is not like most other professions. I can’t increase my salary by doing a wonderful job. There are no sales bonuses for teachers. There are no performance/production based raises in this profession. In the past we got a bump on the pay scale for coming back the next year, but that has been stopped for the last five years. How many professions have employees who have greater and greater expectations constantly placed on them for stagnant salary for five years? How many people can afford to work in these conditions?