Monday, February 14, 2011

SB736: Regarding Tenure

What works in D.C., Miami, or Singapore, may not work in Brevard County. The term tenure fires up emotions. A comment came up on the Grumpyelder blog that there is no tenure in Florida. I was surprised at the comment, arched an eyebrow, and went looking for facts. Well, there is no tenure in Florida and hasn't been since the mid-1980's through legislation. I notice that when legislators talk about tenure now, they qualify it with "or what we call a professional contract."

After successfully completing new teacher requirements, teachers are offered a three-year professional contract that can be rescinded under specific circumstances, which are stated in law. SB736 would remove three-year professional contracts and any assurances of a job the following year. New evaluation systems, 50% based on student achievement scores, would determine whether a teacher would be offered employment again, or not.

Since salaries are varied and higher in other areas of the State, how will elimination of a professional contract help Brevard keep the competitive edge to attract, hire, and retain highly prepared and effective teachers? If local school districts want to be able to offer a professional contract, then that should be a local decision and not directed from Tallahassee or Washington D.C.

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