2011-08-05 / Letters

Public Misled On Tenure

Dear Editor,

Over the years it has been my view that The Wave has done the best and most effective journalistic job in reporting on the debacle that is the Bloomberg administration of the New York City public schools. I now hope that The Wave will go further than the media has done thus far in exploring and exposing the nature and methods of the Bloomberg administration’s attack on tenure.

Unfortunately, the public has been misled into believing that tenure is something bad and results in the retention and protection of incompetent teachers. Although there may be instances of that, the risks and relatively few instances justify the primary historical purpose and rationale for tenure. We live in a society that purports to be a free democracy built upon a foundation of such rights as free speech and free expression. It is impossible to perpetuate such a system and educate the citizens of such a political system without academic freedom.

Academic freedom is a foundation block of a free democracy. Academic freedom cannot exist in the absence of tenure. This has been recognized by federal and state courts. It all goes back to a time when a teacher who did not have tenure, Socrates, was executed for teaching his students to search for the truth which conflicted with the non-democratic goals of his society. However, this has not prevented Mayor Bloomberg and his administration from waging war against the most important ingredient of our educational system in a democracy, tenure.

I would respectfully suggest that The Wave look at the recently published statistics on the results of Bloomberg’s tenure policies and inform the public of the following:

1- How many teachers, who had their tenure period extended, have a prior extension?

2- What were the consequences of a teacher not signing an extension agreement for tenure or signing such an agreement marked “Under Protest”?

3- How many, who had signed an extension agreement in the last two years, did not ultimately get tenure and were replaced by individuals receiving lower salaries?

I sincerely hope the The Wave publishes this information in the interest of academic freedom.


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