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Old 07-20-2011, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,387 posts, read 31,320,518 times
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Well, we have a nail in the coffin for teacher tenure in Michigan and I'm wondering what happens without tenure (not gone yet but the bill signed yesterday makes it easier to fire teachers).

As a teacher, I am, painfully, aware that the only evaluation methods, currently, in place are subjective. So, without tenure, I'll be at the mercy of whether or not administrators and parents like me. Test scores are so muddied you can't use them. Who's to say how much of the score I'm responsible for or the previous 10 years of teachers my students had are responsible for.

While we're not there yet, my fear is we're headed to a year to year contract situation where teachers will not know if they have a job next year or not. I'm not sure I want to stay in teaching if that happens. I'm thinking I'd rather move into a profession where my performance can be measured objectively and I have control over the quality of my work. While I do control the quality of my work as a teacher, I don't control the perception of quality/lack of quality. What I consider high quality may not be considered high quality by parents and administrators. For example, take my issue with administrators who want me teaching to the bottom of the class when I think I should be teaching to the top. I think kids having to stretch and struggle will help them get ready for college. I think they should be taking their own notes not having me hand them notes. I think they need to learn to study rather than me doing a study session before tests. My administration thinks I should make it easy. I think I should make it hard. I think making it easy will make my students lazy. Without tenure (which I don't have now anyway), I can never say "I teach to high standards and expect my students to do what they need to to succeed". I'll have to change my teaching strategies every time a parent complains or an administrator doesn't agree. I really don't like this direction for teaching.
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Old 07-20-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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There are many teachers who have never known anything different. I've been on a year-to-year contract for 26 years now. What you fear has happened to me once. Fortunately, I have an in-demand certification, so I don't have too many concerns. I'll be beginning year 19 at my current school in a few weeks.

As many others have pointed out, most employees don't have contracts and can be fired at any time. You'll adapt if it goes through. A bigger concern is the dismantling of the pension system. That is a broken promise. Losing tenure wouldn't be quite the same as the position is never really guaranteed if there is no demand for the subject. Or is it?

How do RIFs work when there is tenure? Do you know?
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
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Yearly contracts seems to be the wave of the future. That's how other right to work states operate and have been doing for years now.
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,387 posts, read 31,320,518 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhpartridge View Post
There are many teachers who have never known anything different. I've been on a year-to-year contract for 26 years now. What you fear has happened to me once. Fortunately, I have an in-demand certification, so I don't have too many concerns. I'll be beginning year 19 at my current school in a few weeks.

As many others have pointed out, most employees don't have contracts and can be fired at any time. You'll adapt if it goes through. A bigger concern is the dismantling of the pension system. That is a broken promise. Losing tenure wouldn't be quite the same as the position is never really guaranteed if there is no demand for the subject. Or is it?

How do RIFs work when there is tenure? Do you know?

WOW. I could not live that way and will not live that way. If they take away tenure here, I will go back into industry where I would actually have some job security.

If I were younger, I might do it for a while but I'm 52 and too close to retirement to risk being let go before I'm ready to go. In industry, while my contract could be terminated at any time, it's not up for renewal every year. In industry I had a, reasonable, expectation that my contract would continue. I didn't have to wait for someone to renew it each year. That's what contract people have in industry. I wouldn't work contract either. You're either hiring me for the long haul or not at all. If you want a, reasonable, expectation that I'm coming back next year, you'd better give me the same expectation, otherwise, I will keep looking for work until I find something more stable.
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,387 posts, read 31,320,518 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyTexan View Post
Yearly contracts seems to be the wave of the future. That's how other right to work states operate and have been doing for years now.
This would really scare me. I would feel that I had to, constantly, look for work just in case and I'd take anything better that came along, just in case.

I was a salaried engineer without a contract. It was understood that my employment would continue until such a time as it was no longer mutually beneficial. The idea that my contract could just expire and that's it scares the bejeebers out of me. I would expect high pay to offset the risk. In the absence of high pay, I'm keeping my ear to the ground and if someone offers me something better, I'm taking it even if it means leaving mid year. When there are no, reasonable, expectations of continued employment you look out for yourself because no one else will.
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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In most industry you aren't working under contract - in fact most are not ..... the majority of work out there is on an "at will" basis

contracts are usually reserved for those in higher posts or by those who can negotiate a little bit more - have leverage

You will also have protection under existing labor laws that will prevent against discrimination for all sorts of things ..... if you have a long track record with the district, they better have a real good story about why they are not renewing your contract or else they will be in line for an age discrimination suit
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
This would really scare me. I would feel that I had to, constantly, look for work just in case and I'd take anything better that came along, just in case.

I was a salaried engineer without a contract. It was understood that my employment would continue until such a time as it was no longer mutually beneficial. The idea that my contract could just expire and that's it scares the bejeebers out of me. I would expect high pay to offset the risk. In the absence of high pay, I'm keeping my ear to the ground and if someone offers me something better, I'm taking it even if it means leaving mid year. When there are no, reasonable, expectations of continued employment you look out for yourself because no one else will.
Many places take it very seriously if you break your employment contract as an educator ... I know in AZ if you leave with the intentions of going to another school and break your contract mid-year you may very well end up losing your certification

It's interesting you had no concerns about not having any protection of a contract that could have a set expiration - under one you do have a "d-date" where things are re-assessed ..... but without one you could be fired that morning - in essence your "d-day" could be anytime you stroll into work
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,387 posts, read 31,320,518 times
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Originally Posted by Finger Laker View Post
Many places take it very seriously if you break your employment contract as an educator ... I know in AZ if you leave with the intentions of going to another school and break your contract mid-year you may very well end up losing your certification

It's interesting you had no concerns about not having any protection of a contract that could have a set expiration - under one you do have a "d-date" where things are re-assessed ..... but without one you could be fired that morning - in essence your "d-day" could be anytime you stroll into work
If they are not going to give you the reasonable expectation of continued employment they will need to stop holding leaving against you. At will contracts work both ways. It is not considered a breach of contract to change jobs if you are an at will employee. At will means that either you or your employer can terminate the contract at any time without penalty or prejudice. You can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want me to be loyal to you, I expect some loyalty on your part towards me or a heck of a lot of money to get me to accept the risk. I think it's unreasonable for anyone to expect me to just wait until May or June to find out if I have a job for next year and if someone offers me one before my school does, I'm gone.

Actually no on every day beign D-day in industry. There are very few D-days. You're either let go with cause or part of a downsizing and you know either is coming so not just any day. I was very nervous during about the third downsizing because they let so many people go. I wasn't one of them so when that day passed, it was back to a reasonable expectation of continued employment. We always knew when downsizings were coming and those were nervous times but in their absence, we had every reason to think we had a job tomorrow and the day after that. I never worried except during downsizings. Now contract people who were on yearly contracts did. Their contracts might not be renewed on a whim and there was no severance package if they were let go. I can't live that way so if teaching goes that way, I'm out. I have too many options that don't leave me holding my breath every year WRT whether or not I have a job next year. We were told six months before the downsizing that I was let go during that it was coming and that they would have to let engineers go AND, unlike in teaching, there was a severance package to help us with the termination. Because I knew a downsizing was coming, I went to my boss and told him that I could be ready to student teach and asked if I should. His answer was affirmative. I'm not sure if I was let go because I had something else or would have been let go anyway (much of my job was reduntant so I was a logical pick if an engineer had to be eliminated) but I was ready because I knew it was coming. IMO, it is very unfair of schools if they do not tell you several months in advance they do not intend to renew your contract.


It's also different as a teacher because I may be at odds with my administrators and parents but doing my job right. Right now, I'm being told to teach to the bottom of the class but I teach college prep chemistry!!!! It goes against everything I stand for to dummy down my class. Without tenure, I can never say no to the instruction that I dummy down my class. With tenure, I can point out that this is a college prep class and that the struggles my students will go through will prepare them for college and tell the administrators and parents that if certain students can't handle that, they belong in consumer chemistry not college prep chemistry. I, deliberately, do not baby my students because they are supposed to leave my class ready to take a college chemistry class. I expect them to take their own notes (I've been told to start providing notes for the students so they don't have to write ). I've been told to identify the two to three bottom students in the class and teach to them. I prefer to teach to the top of the class. I find students learn more when they have to stretch. I think they get lazy when too much is done for them.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 07-20-2011 at 04:46 PM..
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:01 PM
 
9,059 posts, read 16,752,025 times
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Yeah - at will does go both ways

You will have security through the contract period - that is your security - there are consequences if either side breaches

You are also making an assumption that the school wont know in advance what it wants to do with you .... in many cases where I've seen teachers not be brought back, it's intances like you have mentioned (knowing that an RIF was coming, that there was some consolidation of position, performance issues, etc)

It's really not that much different - except that you have some level of security which simply does not exist in an at will environment

remember, the basic premise is you can leave for any reason at any time - but also can be let go for any reason at any time

not sure why you would assume that private enterprise will act more forthright than the districts

why assume that one set of employers will let you know if there is trouble ahead while under an at will agreement

then assume that another employer will go out of their way to ********* over when your contract runs out
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,068 posts, read 74,000,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
This would really scare me. I would feel that I had to, constantly, look for work just in case and I'd take anything better that came along, just in case.

I was a salaried engineer without a contract. It was understood that my employment would continue until such a time as it was no longer mutually beneficial. The idea that my contract could just expire and that's it scares the bejeebers out of me. I would expect high pay to offset the risk. In the absence of high pay, I'm keeping my ear to the ground and if someone offers me something better, I'm taking it even if it means leaving mid year. When there are no, reasonable, expectations of continued employment you look out for yourself because no one else will.
And with the offshoring of engineer jobs there's not much more security in that field either. I watched as 1/2 of my dept got layed off (8 people) within 15 minutes and each quarter we wait for the layoff notices to go out so the company can make "their numbers". Tech in the US is not what it once was.

Software engineer here who has also gotten certified in Math 4-8 and will get Math 8-12 within a month.

Nothing is guaranteed anymore.
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