Kids first!

I’m saddened by all I read about the state of the public schools, from the Big Apple to here in San Francisco.

Why exactly do public school teachers get tenure?  Private sector employees don’t get tenure – I certainly didn’t!  I don’t see any scenario in which tenure for teachers benefits schoolchildren.  I’m unsure how I feel about tenure for university professors, but in that scenario, I understand it’s to allow them to explore possibly unpopular cutting edge thinking, without fear of losing their job.  Fine … though in my considerable experience, that job guarantee comes at the expense of the undergrads they teach.

But high school?  Grade school?!  School teachers are being paid to teach children, and not to do cutting edge research.  Why do they need protection for their ideas – any more than any (private sector) employee with rent to pay and mouths to feed, does?

Put the kids’ needs first, I say – not, as it stands, last behind the teachers, the overpaid administrators, the politicians, and every other adult who can elbow ahead in line.

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2 Responses to “Kids first!”

  1. Tom Says:

    As an incoming teacher, having gone through 3 years of sometimes rigorous training, I will comment more in depth when time allows. Let me just leave you with the warning that everyone needs to watch out whenever anyone’s first argument for reform, (be it in education, transportation or criminal law) is “for the children”. More later.

  2. knightstango Says:

    Check out The New Yorker’s recent story on “the rubber room”: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/08/31/090831fa_fact_brill

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