Friday, July 11, 2014

Tenure Quotes Through History (Pt. 2)

Last night, I threw some quotes about teacher tenure out and asked if you could name the year they were given (I would have been happy with a decade). Obviously, the post was intended for history buffs (of which, there are far too few in the United States these days!!). For those history fans, here are the answers (as well as some quick background of the quotes.)

1. "Tenure, an abhorrent, outmoded practice, lets people whose performance would not allow them to keep their jobs in the private sector continue with the responsibility of teaching our children".

Richard Heyman was a resident of Clark New Jersey. He wrote this in a letter to the editor of the New York Times. There isn't much information about Mr. Heyman except that he came from a town so small that its district had only three schools (one primary, one middle and one high) when he wrote these words -back in 1980. 

2. [In NYC, the] "school system is "burdened and clogged with many teachers who are unfit and unsatisfactory," and whom it is practically impossible to remove because of their "permanent tenure."

Ok. 1917. William G. Willcox was president of the Board of Education of New York when he asserted this. Willcox was aligned with the 1 percenters of his time, work with the not so famous 'Rockefeller Interests' in New York City. He was staunchly 'anti- Tammany' (which was also opposed to tenure because they liked to control political appointments)  and went on to serve as the head of CUNY.

(Fun fact, Sam Pirozzolo, one of the people currently suing to end tenure in New York State, is the President of the CEC that governs the school named after Willcox (PS 048). There must be something in the water over there in Staten Island!)

3."Tenure ... for teachers was instituted by law to protect teachers for political changes and for the reason, it is good"

W.R Seigart was a Lutheran pastor from Ramsey, New Jersey. In 1931, he wrote these words as part of an argument favoring of paid vacations for clergy (I know, I don't quote get it either, but I thought it was a cool quote).

4. "Teachers enjoy greater security of employment than most private employees and many public employees. Once they have acquired tenure, they are protected by law against dismissal  except for proven misconduct"

I couldn't find out much about Walter O. Howe, but he said this in 1946. The reason it made this is because of it's sheer counter-intuitiveness! He wrote these words in the middle of a huge national teacher shortage which affected NY, as well as NJ. Why he wouldn't want applicants to have the incentive of tenure protections is beyond me.

1 comment:

  1. For Walter O Howe, try reading the quote again. Pretend we are living in a time when tenure isn't a bad thing, when job security is good, and now pretend the Howe is trying to convince people to become teachers.

    Does it make sense?