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ERIC Number: EJ1064217
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
Tenure: How Due Process Protects Teachers and Students
Kahlenberg, Richard D.
American Educator, v39 n2 p4-11,43 Sum 2015
Teacher tenure rights, first established more than a century ago, are under unprecedented attack. Tenure--which was enacted to protect students' education and those who provide it--is under assault from coast to coast, in state legislatures, in state courtrooms, and in the media. In June 2014, in the case of "Vergara v. California," a state court judge struck down teacher tenure and seniority laws as a violation of the state's constitution. Meanwhile, with incentives from the federal Race to the Top program, 18 states have recently weakened tenure laws, and Florida and North Carolina sought to eliminate tenure entirely. Richard Kallenberg opens this article by providing an exact legal definition of tenure, and what it means to teachers who have earned tenure. He goes on to explain that historically, tenure laws were enacted to protect teachers from favoritism and nepotism, and to ensure that students received an education subject to neither political whims nor arbitrary administrative decisions. Kallenburg asserts that given current fixation on high stakes testing, and the linking of students' test scores to teacher evaluations, tenure protection is still necessary today. He argues that rather than doing away with tenure completely, teacher dismissal procedures could be mended to strike a better balance between providing fairness to good teachers and facilitating the removal of incompetent ones. Kallenburg also believes that there are innovative ways to connect low-income students with great teachers. Creative ideas are proposed to enable policymakers to connect high quality teachers with students in low performing schools.
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A