The myth of tenure….. is hurting students
Tenure… that word that supposedly protects teachers… the one that everyone claims keeps bad teachers in the classroom, was proven wrong today, especially in my district. You see, I got riff’d today! Yep… and I have tenure and many years of experience…. so if the myth is true, then it should have protected me. Even recently getting my doctorate so I’m current in my field (Computer Science), and winning a Curriculum Award from the district, and getting runner-up for best paper at a state conference, and presenting at a National conference in my field didn’t protect me. Being in Computer Science seems to be a detriment in this district, as many of the first to be let go were Computer Science teachers with tenure. That’s extremely sad for our students. You see, we are a district that has lots of BRAC potential, touted that our county would grow with the influx of high tech positions, and it is predicted that our students will have good chances of employment in that field in this district in the next 10 years. But if they don’t have Computer teachers, how are they going to learn the skills needed for those positions?
So if those in my field and my district feel that I am sharp enough to win those awards, why didn’t they keep me? It all comes down to money…. our county executive cut his portion of paying for public education in the district, and the district has to rearrange its budget. I haven’t a clue about how they decided, but they are “cutting programs” and our program is the first to go. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that our Chief Information Officer has not supported our programs for the last several years. Maybe it has something to do with the perception that kids are born with technology skills (they may be, but they haven’t a clue how to make them “work” for them rather than be a toy). Someone needs to teach them how to adapt those programs to what they are learning in the classroom.
Maybe it has something to do with the new Common Core Standards that supposedly have a STEM base to them, yet don’t mention computer skills anywhere in the standards. They focus on Engineering, Mathematics, and Science, yet when professional development is offered, the technology piece (in particular careers in Computer Science like database administration, technical support, network engineers, software engineers, programmers, are never mentioned as possible careers for kids in STEM).
So what’s my next step? Not sure at this point… I’ll be exploring how I can use that newly acquired doctorate, trying my hand with writing again this summer, and exploring what retirement might look like…. hopefully I’ll find a window of opportunity … and soar through it.. although it won’t be one that promises “tenure”.