Lip-syncing the talking points of national anti-public teacher groups, Utah’s Rep. Jon Cox ("This teacher/legislator says it’s time to end tenure," June 22) attacked the idea of tenure, dismissing any benefits through the single argument that there are less than ideal teachers on the job.
While claiming credibility as a teacher himself, Mr. Cox doesn’t seem to understand that Utah doesn’t grant tenure. As close as we get here is that a "contract employee," meaning no longer provisional and with a Level 2 license, cannot be fired without cause and due process.
How can he expect academic freedom for hired professional educators if it isn’t explicitly contractual? Why must educators depend on the arbitrary and capricious motives of their administrators, who may or may not like your religion or politics, your look, or are wary of the fallout from a student who complains about your homework policy or the grade they received.
Poor-performing teachers can and do get terminated for a variety of reasons. Failure to do that is an administrative problem, not a statutory deficiency.
Despite his experience teaching at a college, Rep. Cox does not speak for all teachers and pointedly undermines the professional protections that were developed over many decades of educational practice and experience in our society. His cavalier dismissal of tenure belies his own lack of wisdom and his ignorance of professional issues facing public educators.
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