The mere mention of tenure evokes strong reactions. However, a more measured and data-driven approach is necessary. As Scott Walker moves into the national spotlight and this debate's scope is broadened, we all must remember that it is the needs of America's students that must be placed front and center.
The Governor of New York is hoping to eliminate tenure. Oh, I know the newspapers refer to it as an overhaul but he is really hoping to give the school districts the power to terminate the employment of any teacher and he plans to begin this process by the smokescreen of some new teacher evaluation system.
TNTP have decided to stake out a middle ground on the tenure wars, claiming that we don't need to eliminate it -- just fix it. And to that end, they have eight proposals to create "a more balanced system." It's all in this very fancy "paper," which I am now going to "respond to" in this "blog post."
Teachers can and do make a real difference in children's lives, and a real reform agenda would make investments in improving teacher quality. But we must not pretend that eliminating due process would improve teacher quality, that raising students' test scores is the sole solution or that teacher quality is the only educational obstacle facing students.