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Tenure also protects some of best teachers

Bad teachers should not be teaching and tenure should not protect them. But be careful what you wish for! Tenure protects the teachers you probably loved as students. The teacher who pushed the envelope and made your classroom experiences into lifelong memories. Hopefully you have had a teacher or two who fits this criteria. Those who will take a stand, cover a controversial topic, defend a student, have students become involved and make a difference in their community.

These teachers, who prepare students to be active participants in their own lives and a wider world, are also protected by these same tenure laws. They are the teachers who do not shy away from controversy and probably periodically run into issues with other colleagues and on occasion give their administrators heartburn. Tenure is security for these professionals, as well. If they did not have tenure, they might not think outside of the box or go the extra mile with some creative way of getting students involved. Academic freedom could become eroded.

Consider the three members of the Board of Education in Hamburg, whom a parent called “knuckleheads.” Should they be making tenure decisions? There are so many variables to consider. If we fill our classrooms with teachers who are worried about every academic move they make, teaching and learning will take a hit. Teachers need a security clause that does not undermine their classroom creativity. If tenure is ruled unconstitutional, that protection will be jeopardized.

Linda Ulrich-Hagner

East Aurora