Letter to the Editor of TIME Magazine: Teacher Tenure

NEAlogo_vert_1.jpgLetter to the editor of TIME Magazine Nancy Gibbs and reporter Haley Sweetland Edwards. If you would like to co-sign this editorial see below. Please do!

 

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?

 

Sincerely,

Lily Eskelsen García
President, National Education Association

tenureguy

99 Responses to “Letter to the Editor of TIME Magazine: Teacher Tenure”

  1. Garry with 27 years experience in the classroom.

    I can’t believe the public would even give ear time to an article that is written by someone with no experience in a profession. As a teacher I would never try to say how bad doctors, lawyers, or Silicon Valley engineers should be evaluated. Send a few of these reformers to my classroom and let them see how easy it is to teach! I don’t think they could handle it. My kids would rip them to shreds. Teaching is an art and the curriculum is only part of it. Bad teachers eventually weed themselves out. Also, so many administrators are very inexperienced because long term teachers are not crazy enough to go into that aspect of the field. I have, but missed the classroom. If an administrator wants to get rid of a under performing teacher, they can. But they’d ave to do the work. If a school is keeping bad teachers, that’s on the ad team! Don’t believe me, try my job for a while! If you can hang!

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  2. Justin Bedell

    The only thing I’d like to add to this thread is what was missing from the article: what’s in it for big business. From a nationwide perspective, Public School budgets are worth somewhere around $750 Billion dollars annually (I’ve seen higher and slightly lower estimates). Big Business realizes this is somewhat of an untapped economic market for them. Is there some sort of connection between David Welch’s public efforts and the fact he’s a Silicon Valley ‘tech-titan’? I’ve just seen too many of these types of connections over the past few years to help but be cautious.

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  3. Jessica Cook

    I know bad teachers are let go, or, in some cases encouraged to resign before being fired. I wonder if Time looked at THAT statistic? How many less than adequate educators have left voluntarily because they had poor evaluations, met with their administrators, met with Union advocates, tried to work through a plan of improvement with a mentor teacher, and realized, “This is not the career for me.” I’ve seen it happen a few times, although I have personally seen educators fired more frequently, I still wonder which population is larger.

    The bottom line though, Time Magazine, is that you are blowing in embers that distract from the majority of educators. The good, solid, high-quality educators teaching the classes parents want their children in, and are saddened when they are put in a different one! Quit feeding the uneducated beast, whose sole purpose seems to be tearing down public education. Yes, there are bad teachers, yes they get fired, but I am sure there are also bad columnist, journalist, fact finders, etc. who continue to write for publications purporting to be valid sources of information, not twisted falsehood presented (and taken) as “truth”.

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  4. Beth

    As a veteran public school teacher that has taught in many diverse schools and in many of them for two to three years because of cutbacks, etc, tenure was never anything I was thinking I would attain. I am a very good teacher, but many times was unable to gat a job. Tenure, for me, has given me the knowledge that at least I have “job security” (whatever that is) but only after a certain period. I am still able to be fired though. If I don’t do the job, I don’t have the job.
    One thing I haven’t heard yet, and I have agreed with most comments, is how did you get your job in the first place TIME. Didn’t a teacher teach you at every level? Did you go to a elementary school? high school? College? Who do you think helped you? Can you think. I mean think back in your life and think of a teacher that influenced you? How many “bad teachers” did you encounter?
    Unlike most professions if we want to continue to advance in our field we have to continually take classes, just to renew our licenses and those classes come out of our own paycheck!
    Actually think BEFORE you write and get your facts straight like everyone here has said in one form or another. I am not one to respond to these things, but your article made me angry. Thank you, Lily for helping us all in the PROFESSION to have a voice.

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  5. Evelynn-Joy Kight-Moore

    I have not always been a SH Teacher and a disabled Veteran also. Both groups of people often are given the bum wrap by individuals who know nothing about either field simply because they are swayed by politicians and wealthy business people. It is time for the Media to stop attacking and start doing quality research!!!. Quality research does not involve asking individuals who have an ax to grind, bias, or will receive a benefit out of smearing other but honest, hardworking individuals at the front lines. Union members and military members have leaders that have been there in the trenches and understand the “business of education” – why didn’t you talk to them at least. We can be fired. Our due process rights do not protect us from unjust administrators.

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  6. Gina

    Who believes Time anyway!? High School debaters don’t even use it as a source due to the lack of reliability. Just Idiots with an idiot audience!

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  7. Nidhal Hakim

    The disaster in US economy that this country faced in the past few years made the corrupted politicians and wealthy people who caused the disaster to blame it on many hardworking people including teachers. They are creating false and misleading excuses to reduce the pay of the most hardworking people in the nation. This is a form of indirect dictatorship not democracy.

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  8. Beth Goldstein

    It is a terrible injustice to allow what are truly a few bad apples to be qualified to represent all teachers everywhere. There are so many doing such great things. How can you, TIME, fail to put that in circulation? Teachers get very little respect, make very little money and they keep on, keeping on based upon faith that what they do makes a difference in the lives of kids and in the future for all of us everywhere. Are you trying to end education as a profession any young person would be willing to seek?? Where is the compassion and willingness to paint a balanced picture of what 99% of educators do all the time, everyday??? Shame on TIME for such a blast at a time when educators need your support.

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  9. Michael Jimenez

    Why not write a letter that answers what the community could do to support education or the consecutive weekends teachers spend outside of the classroom writing lesson plans, taking students to competitions, grading papers, etc. Why not encourage the profession by pointing to things that are being done correctly and the sacrifice that most teachers make on a daily basis in order to reach and educate all children? Would this kind of publicity not be acceptable and highly sought after or does every story out there have to have sensationalism as its main ingredient?

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  10. CELESTE NIEDERAUER

    I AM THE MOTHER OF A DAUGHTER WHO IS A TEACHER. SHE HAS BEEN WORKING FOR MANY
    YEARS. SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN EAGER TO TEACH. SHE HAS EARNED MANY REWARDS DURING
    HER OUTSTANDING ABILITY TO CONNECT TO THE CHILDREN AND GET THEM INTERESTED IN READING
    AND MATH AS WELL AS SCIENCE. I AM SADDENED ABOUT THE WAY TEACHERS ARE THOUGHT
    ABOUT; THESE DAYS. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW DISCOURAGING IT IS FOR HER AND ALL HER COLLEGS. SHE IS GIVING MORE ENERGY TEACHING THAN ANY OTHER PROFESSION.
    MY HEART BREAKS FOR HER. SHE IS GIVING ALL SHE HAS AS HAVE MANY OTHER OF HER COLLEGES. SHE COMES HOME WITH A PILE OF PAPERS ANS SPENDS MANY EVENINGS AND SATURDAYS MARKING PAPERS.

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  11. Katrina Moreno

    Yes, a few bad apples ruined it for the good apples but this article is uncalled for. Teachers, assistants, all school district employees work hard all the time. Everyday is not a candy coated celebration, you have difficult days and your job never seems to be complete. Staff around our campus and in our district are constantly working on and off the clock, on weekends and after school hours. Let alone the fact that teachers have to use money out of their hard earned money to purchase supplies for their students to use in the classroom. Why not devote an issue to the over testing our students endure, the underpaid teachers and assistants, the lack of funding to purchase supplies. Use your magazine to reach people by supporting a good cause, not cut down the professional educator.

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