Senate Budget Threatens Teacher Tenure

Jun 21, 2013

A Guilford County teacher.
Credit Guilford County Schools

Lawmakers in Raleigh may end tenure for public school teachers. That’s if a provision in the proposed Senate budget remains in the final budget under negotiation.

Tenure for public school teachers isn’t the same as tenure for college professors. For one, it’s much easier to fire public school teachers with tenure or, as it’s described in the education world, to “counsel them out of teaching.”

Rodney Ellis, the president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, says “There’s a lot more educators who actually leave the profession being counseled out than being terminated. And so the idea that educators can not be dismissed is a misconception, because they can."

Despite the weak protections tenure offers teachers in a state with no teachers’ union, the State Senate still wants to eliminate it. Leaders have said it will allow administrators more flexibility and ensure better teachers.

Ending teacher tenure is just one change that may be coming in the new final budget. Thousands of teaching assistants may lose their jobs, and the salary increase for teachers who earn advanced degrees may go away.