Teacher Tenure is Harmful to Students’ Education


Karen Abdelmalek

Teacher tenure could retain potentially ineffective teachers and damage a student’s education.

Teacher tenure is a policy found in 47 states that protects a teacher’s position in a public school after three years of work. 

Tenure essentially allows teachers to have immunity from being fired — unless under extraordinary circumstances like sexual harassment. Most K-12 schools follow the tenure policy to ensure a long career for teachers and thus a stable school for students. However, the cons of tenure outweigh the pros.

Many students encounter teachers who are incapable of instructing an honors or Advanced Placement class; but because of tenure, teachers — even those who cannot educate a high level class — will keep their position. This is precisely why the tenure policy should be removed in order for students to achieve the best possible education, which can only be provided by teachers who are pushed to work harder rather than those who do the bare minimum.

In addition to protecting inadequate teaching, the tenure policy makes the process of firing a teacher complicated since a teacher with tenure is expensive to fire. For instance, a teacher in New York will receive $313,000 in severance due to tenure policy. Tenure teachers are also supported by lawyers, which costs the district additional funds.

This policy not only cost schools money, but it is also presents an obstacle to a student’s education. Hence, the tenure policy needs to be removed and substituted with a new policy that requires teachers to have a certain percentage of students in each grade category.

Teachers should not be guaranteed a job if student’s grades are not meeting the standards that are placed for their class level.

Also, the school should carefully monitor students’ improvements in the classroom throughout the year to guarantee an effective education for students. Finally, teachers should be tested on the material they teach, in order to check the qualifications of the teacher. Those who understand the topic extensively are better equipped to teach.  

Schools need to be more concerned with the performance and education of students instead of wasting time and energy on teachers who are not properly instructing their students.