Tenure Is the Main Drag

Published October 10, 2008

If there is any urgency about raising student achievement in the nation’s big cities (and there should be), it is utterly absurd that a public-school principal cannot remove an incompetent teacher from a classroom for two years or longer because of union-negotiated agreements.
Education writer Jay Mathews identified a drag on school reform that can be summarized in one word: tenure. (“For Kids’ Sake, Power to Fire Teachers Crucial,” Sept. 29) High-performing charter schools don’t have that drag because they hire on an “at will” basis. A principal can dismiss teachers for non-performance, and, just as importantly, reward them for helping their students achieve at high levels.
Ideally, all public schools should be run like charter schools.

Robert Holland ([email protected]) is Senior Fellow for Education Policy at The Heartland Institute.