Phil for Humanity
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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Tenure


Tenure or tenureship is the term used to refer to a contractual agreement for a lifelong job typically after working a minimum number of years (normally 5, 7, or 10 years). However, this tenure is not completely guaranteed, since tenured employment can still be terminated with just cause, such as if an employee is convicted or found guilty of a crime involving their job. So, letís review the advantages and disadvantages of tenure.

The two main reasons against tenure are as following:

The biggest concern with tenure or tenureship is that it increases teacher complacency when teachers no longer fear that their jobs could be lost. As a result, tenure often reduces both the quality and quantity of work from tenured teachers.

Furthermore, firing poor performing tenured teachers is much harder and much more expensive than firing a regular teacher. This is because there is a difficult and lengthy process to document and prove that a tenure teacher deserves firing that may have to withstand serious scrutiny in a court of law. Additionally, the cost of firing a tenured teacher may be higher than keeping the tenured teacher. As a result, some school administrators do not even try firing poor performing tenured teachers.

The two main reasons supporting tenure are as following:

Tenure helps prevent teachers from being laid off for either political or personal reasons. Since tenure predates most of the modern employment fairness laws, it makes sense that tenure was created to help protect teachers. However, since these laws now exist, they make this reason for supporting tenure redundant and obsolete.

Finally, tenure prevents the firing of more experienced and more expensive teachers from being replaced with less experienced and less expensive teachers. In my viewpoint, this reason for tenure is against basic capitalism. The quality, cost, and experience of the teachers should dictate their employment and not years of service. If there is a demand for better teachers, then more experienced and expensive teachers would be more employed. Vice versa, if there is a demand for less expensive teachers, then they would have higher employment. It should be whatever the market will bear. This is the difference between capitalism and socialism.

With that said.. written, the salaries of most teachers (not professors) with tenure is considerably lower than the national average, and maybe teacherís salaries and jobs need some protection through tenure. Furthermore, the quality of education in America has been declining for years and is considered low among other first world countries, and maybe quality education through tenure should be supported to increase the quality of education.

Teacher tenure is a difficult issue that is not going to be resolved in the near future. Therefore, it is for you to decide your own opinion if tenure should be supported or not.

by Phil B.

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