If he could make one significant change to public education today, Timothy Knowles, one of the founding fathers of teacher “residency” programs, would eliminate teacher tenure. Why? “The more difficult it is for principals to address underperformance, the more likely they are to use informal methods to do so. This fuels labor’s argument that management is capricious, strengthening their case for increased employment protection.” Indeed, explains Knowles, “this pathological status quo” is the “one of the main sources of friction between labor and management.” Even teachers realize this. According to a 2009 American Federation of Teachers survey, 69 percent of teachers would rather their union focus on “working for professional teaching standards and good teaching” than “defending the job rights of teachers who face disciplinary action.” Knowles is clear: We should applaud the recent overhaul of tenure and evaluation in states like Colorado, and others should follow suit. Hear, hear.
“Opinion: The Trouble With Teacher Tenure,” by Timothy Knowles, Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2010