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Letter: Tenure protects teachers’ speech rights
First Published Jun 27 2014 03:47 pm • Last Updated Jun 27 2014 03:47 pm

In his article in Sunday’s opinion page ("This teacher/legislator says its time to end tenure," June 22), Jon Cox proposes that tenure for the teaching profession be eliminated. His proposal is well reasoned, but the basic assumption made in the piece is questionable, as is therefore the proposal. The assumption made that a primary function of tenure is to protect lousy teachers, which is incorrect. The purpose of tenure is to guarantee freedom of speech and due process for the faculty member, rights which are constitutionally protected for all American citizens.

Tenure protects the faculty member who has proven him/herself in a probationary period from political pressures, nepotism, oligarchic environments, authoritarian rule and related problems. It does not protect the inept teacher, even if he/she somehow passes probation, as a tenured faculty can still be fired for cause. And being incompetent is certainly justifiable cause. Let’s be careful what we do when it affects the constitutional rights of fellow American citizens especially in the critical arena of education.

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Paul Tayler

Salt Lake City

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