Teacher Tenure: Chapman With a Chainsaw

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When the Illinois General Assembly was considering a proposal to ease tenure requirements, it made Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman so mad that he wrote a brutal, bare knuckles column questioning why we have tenure at all.

Chapman s column is a must-read. He asks us to imagine whether Congressmen would be more or less attuned to the interests of the public if they didn t have to face election every two years. How about corporate managers, retail clerks, car salesmen, nannies, electricians, secretaries and journalists? Would they do a better or worse job if they were guaranteed jobs for life?

For Chapman, the bottom line of education should be Are...students learning?...[T]he question is largely irrelevant in today s public schools. For that, we can thank tenure.