A probation extension incident
A young friend, third year teacher, brought his portfolio in this week, so the administrators in his school could review it in making their tenure determination. He got the answer the same day – the same answer over a dozen colleagues, all who were up for tenure, got – extended. They did not review the portfolio. They did not come up with a real reason. “You will be better next year.” “There are just a few things you could work on.” “…classroom environment…” (peers consider that one of this teacher’s greatest strengths) “TDR well above average, but inconsistent…” (75th percentile with one group, 60th with another). More than a dozen teachers got the same. You see these people? They cheat. They lie.
How common has this become?
We suspect that principals are under orders to deny tenure more frequently. We believe that they have specific guidelines, not shared with us. These might include someone with a substantial number of absences, even though the sick days are provided by contract. These might include teachers who have transferred after two years. Principals might also have school-specific target numbers for denying or extending tenure.
New Action focuses on abusive administrators. And sure enough, these tenure denials and extensions are principals’ recommendations. And some of the principals are nasty and vindictive, and intentionally make teachers suffer. And some are just lousy principals – to be expected in these days, when Tweed promotes inexperienced administrators and rewards loyalty over competence.
But the villain in this story is not principals as a group (though some are, too many are, individually), but rather Tweed, which is promoting insecurity among the workforce, in order to cow us, in order to scare us into concessions, in order to intimidate us into not asserting our rights, in order to promote turnover, in order to make this a temporary job.
So again, how common has this become? At how many schools is tenure being routinely extended, without cause?