Abolish Tenure?

March 22, 2012, 11:44 am

By Richard Kahlenberg

The Virginia state legislature has been making headlines for discussing whether women should have to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound before having an abortion, but the same legislative body is receiving kudos, from the liberal New Republic, for seeking to abolish tenure for teachers in public schools.

In backing the proposal, the editors of The New Republic drew a distinction between higher education, where they think tenure is appropriate, and K-12 education, where they want tenure “abolished.” Universities are “our country’s ideas factories,” they write. “And so it makes a certain amount of sense that we would want university professors—the people our society relies on to explore ideas, including unpopular ones—to enjoy protections from ideological or intellectual retribution. But this rationale doesn’t apply at the K-12 level.”

The editorial goes on to say that “there isn’t a good” rationale for tenure in elementary and secondary education. “Indeed, tenure is so illogical that it’s impossible to see why it shouldn’t be abolished…read more

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