Letter: Is tenure really necessary at all?

Regarding the issue of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s overhaul tenure laws ruled as being unconstitutional by Judge Caldwell, the question should not be whether Jindal’s tenure laws are too harsh or unconstitutional or, even, a conservative ploy. The real question is, “Is tenure necessary?” Ignore the strife over how long of a period before a teacher can earn tenure; ignore critics claiming that basing a teacher’s job on how well his or her class performs is ridiculous; ignore the supporters of Jindal boasting that his revamping part of the Louisiana education system is an amazing feat. Get to the heart of the issue. Get to the real question: “What is the purpose of tenure?” According to the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and School Employees, teacher tenure exists for two reasons: “to protect educators from political or personal retribution and to guarantee their academic freedom to teach according to the best practices in their fields of expertise.” While these principles represent reasonable expectations that an employee would have, the other aspect is the fact that termination is a risk that every single employed person endures. So why are teachers granted more protection? Technically, under Louisiana Revised Statute Title 17 Chapter 442, teacher tenure is a property right. Is it not a problem that the education system seems to only exist to employ teachers and not to educate students? Is tenure really serving the students, whom the education system is supposed to be specifically designed for, or is it serving the teachers by giving them a right to job security?

Andi Bodin

law firm employee

Baton Rouge