FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Teacher tenure, the union-backed safety net that protects teachers from being fired after a certain number of years of service, is coming under fire in states from New York to Tennessee and Illinois.
Tenure provides experienced teachers job security in a tight labor market, at a time when cash-strapped states and municipalities are trying to make cuts everywhere they possibly can. Critics say the policy can harm students more than it protects teachers because new teachers with fresh ideas often lose their jobs while older teachers - some of whom are just going through the motions until their pensions kick in - can't be touched.
That's because when a district announces layoffs, the "last in, first out" union rule generally takes over. That often means the least-experienced teachers with fewer years of service must lose their jobs before older, more senior teachers do, no matter how well they do their job, or how well their students perform.
But change is coming. States such as Arizona, Georgia, Colorado and Utah have passed bills to end "last-in, first-out" layoff policies in the past year. Now a handful of other states are trying to make changes to tenure, too. But supporters are up in arms and say tenure is an important policy that attracts talent to a profession that offers relatively low starting pay.
Here’s my question to you: Should tenure for teachers be done away with?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
B.J. in Quincy, Illinois:
Yes it should. They should be like other unions - a seniority-based system that protects you some but not totally.
Bob in Melbourne, Florida:
Yes, Jack. Nowhere else can you be guaranteed employment regardless of your performance. We've increased spending on education every year for the past 40 years and our ratings in science and math keep falling. We've reduced class size and made everything so politically correct and our students just get dumber. Maybe we should fire all the teachers and start over.
I'm a retired teacher and feel that doing away with tenure is not a good idea. It could be used to "get rid" of older more expensive teacher in favor of lower paid entering teachers to help balance the budget; experience means nothing. It leaves the door open for local "dirty politics." I have seen both of these instances in my 38 years of teaching.
Donald in New Mexico:
I don't think anyone should earn a permanent position based on their performance during a short period of time when they are working hard just to get to a point where they get tenure. Short term contracts of five or less years might work.
The best and the worst teachers I've had were the ones who had been there forever. The best ones used their experience to reach even the dimmest kid, because they had seen it all and knew what worked. The worst ones used their experience to keep a job, despite giving up on the process a long time ago.
With the entire country singling out teachers to be scapegoats for the problems in education, perhaps it is time for those in the profession to re-evaluate whether they should continue to teach. This is largely an issue of the inability of government to run anything efficiently and cost-effectively. Teachers being at the bottom of the food chain, get the grief, while the superintendents and principals, rake in the cash.
Ed in Maryland:
No, but they should give tenure to journalists, then you could say what you really want to say without losing your job.
Jane in Minnesota:
Jack I am for eliminating tenure only if the reasons for terminating a long-term teacher are performance related; not simply because the teacher can be replaced by a younger, lower cost teacher. This sounds like another one of those one-sided, uncompromising proposals that a Governor such as the ones in Florida, Wisconsin or Michigan would propose.