Dear Ms. Gibbs and Ms. Edwards:
As a teacher, it’s disheartening that not a single teacher was given voice in last week’s cover article (The War on Teacher Tenure, November 3). If Ms. Edwards had asked a teacher, she would’ve learned that due process policies like tenure are still needed and have nothing to do with rotten apples!
In this age of high stakes tests and deep budget cuts, teachers need to be protected when they put themselves on the line for students. Every day, in every state, teachers bump up against bureaucrats who bow to political pressures to terminate a teacher who has been an outspoken advocate for her students.
In just the last few years, teachers have had to challenge terminations because they believe they were fired for reporting poor classroom conditions, pressure to falsify test scores, discriminatory and illegal conduct toward special needs students, and a lack of resources for students. These are just a few examples. Tenure doesn’t give teachers a job for life. It is a guarantee that proven, experienced, and accomplished teachers won’t be fired for doing what’s best for students.
Now, how about a story on what students and public education really need? Perhaps a full feature on school funding? Or unequal resources in schools? Maybe even an entire issue devoted to testing abuse?
Lily Eskelsen García
President, National Education Association