Letter: Tenure no free ticket

While I recognize that the editorial page is a place to express opinions rather than facts, we can hope that the writer of a letter to the editor would at least do a little cursory research. Case in point: Edward Daigle’s letter which appeared March 13.

In it he blames the current state of public education entirely on the tenure system. He claims that “forty or fifty years ago, the United States was leading the world educationally” and that “now children coming out of our public school system rank with some Third World countries.”

Well 10 minutes of research later and I found out that in the mid-1950s, over 80 percent of public school teachers had tenure, according to procon.org. Today, only 2.3 million of America’s 7.2 million teachers (2010 census) have tenure. Now my math my only be Third-World quality, but I’m pretty sure that 32 percent is less than 80 percent.

And where does he get the idea that teachers can “do whatever they want and get away with it”? How many principals has Daigle spoken to about this? How many schools has he visited?

Speaking as a teacher myself, I know I am held to the highest standards of professionalism. We demand the best from ourselves and our students. No sir, I’m afraid that moderate job security (tenure) does not equal poor student performance. I have a sneaking suspicion that solving a problem involving millions of children of all different ages, backgrounds and ability spread out across 50 states is a bit more complicated.

Keith James

music teacher

Baton Rouge