Teacher Unions & Tenure and Alternatives

Stakeholders That Oppose Teachers’ Tenure

Several stakeholders tend to disagree with the teachers’ tenure. The leading group is the parents who view tenures to be derailing the productivity of the teachers by impacting their work attitudes. Although parents look forward to having increased productivity which means firing the poor-performing teachers, they are hindered by the laws introduced through tenures. Secondly, students agree that the tenure system in education has significantly resulted in low value-adding among teachers because they tend to be impacted by tenure. Low value-adding among the teachers has been perceived as an element of the teachers on tenure who lack intrinsic motivation to improve student learning. Finally, school principals have been cuffed by the tenure system, which generally protects poor-performing teachers.

The Case Against Teachers’ Tenure

Skeptics argue that tenures lead to job protection, making eliminating poor-performing teachers difficult and costly, making many schools retain poor teachers. However, tenures among tenures have significantly contributed to changes in workplace attitudes characterized by poor performance and low productivity. Moreover, the working attitudes vary according to the length of the teacher’s tenure. The lengthy tenures have improved the teacher’s commitment, whereas the short tenures result in high turnover intention and less commitment. In addition, tenure is perceived as an instrument of encouraging complacency among the teachers, mainly those who do not have fears of losing their jobs. Besides, there is no need for tenure given the modern laws that are against workplace discrimination.

Moreover, the teacher tenure system is entirely against the constitution because of its contribution to ineffective learning among students. Research has demonstrated how the quality of the teacher leads to impact the outcome of the student through the value-added aspect, which is an excellent measure of assessing whether the value-added teachers influence the development of the student. Value-added models illustrate the importance of having quality teachers to facilitate the performance of students. Through the use of tenure, the objective of value-added models is undermined because they primarily target work according to the provided tenure. Thus, teachers are productive only because of tenure and lack an intrinsic value to the student’s achievement. This means that tenure is the main contributor to the low value-adding witnessed in students because it negatively impacts the teachers’ quality.

Level of Work Attitude and Length of Service

Table 1. Level of Work Attitude.

VariableCategoryWA MeanInterpretation
GenerationBaby Boomer8.91Good
Generation X9.30Excellent
Educational AttainmentVocational8.09Good
Master’s Degree9.34Excellent
Status of AppointmentJob8.87Good
Length of ServiceLess than 1 year8.66Good
1-5 years8.97Good
5-10 years9.12Excellent
More than 10 years9.04Excellent

In this table, there is a correlation of some individual criteria with the coefficient of evaluation of attitude to work. As can be seen from the results of the study, all that is affected by the length of service is a more positive attitude to work, as there is a transformation into a comfort zone associated with less stress and renewal. However, other factors, such as years of birth or level of education, also influence this. In other words, a particular specialist’s attitude to his or her work is a composite of factors that positively or negatively affect his or her outlook. Therefore, it is erroneous to presume or to select any criterion as the most important one.


Alternatives to the teacher’s tenure policy include: Having teachers on appointment where the emphasis is placed on meeting the future and current student enrollment through effective teaching and limited expectations on service or scholarship. Secondly, policies on the support for academic freedom where the non-tenure teachers are provided the same professional regard as that of the tenured track. Third, the use of a formal evaluation system should be upheld. The formal evaluation system for non-tenured teachers should reflect the policies for the tenured teachers but be based primarily on specific expectations per position (Mason & Wyld). The evaluation process should ideally not only connect the renewal of the appointment but also to the development of professional opportunities, potential promotions, and salary. Therefore, the evaluation ought to be clear, and evaluations need to be carried out annually. Finally, there should be shared governance. The non-tenured teachers should be involved in the governance systems in order to create an equitable and fair system of procedures and policies.

The Negative Impact of the Phenomena

It should be noted that the institution of seniority leads to the lobbying of the profession by professors who have worked longer in the field. The fact is that because of such social structures. The professional society begins to divide into qualitative and others, where qualitative means those who have a high length of service. Also, it is necessary to underline that seniority and professionalism are not interrelated. The seniority depends mainly on automation and multitasking skills, but this does not ensure a high level of specialization.

Moreover, such criteria oblige us to work more and harder for an imaginary gain, which is blurred and cannot be felt by a person in the moment or even in a decade. Teaching is a very grueling, demanding, and unpredictable job, but such contrails add to the complexity. Eventually, the additional burden of union activity, or the imposed work experience, leads to emotional burnout in the individual. The bad end of such activity can be that, in the end, it does not pay off, then the individual will be morally depressed and disappointed, which can lead to a psychological crisis. As for the material side of the problem, a significant change in income will not be noticed either.

Features of the Profession

In order for a faculty member to advance in his or her career, the individual must be engaged in scholarly activity, developing methodologies, or conducting narrowly focused research. In other words, this work is similar to science, in which having a union or seniority does not affect the end result. In addition, the complex psychological component of repeating the same material through different classes proves the irrelevance of the aforementioned constructs. What is meant by this is that a pre-service teacher, giving lectures or teaching mathematics to students, for example, cannot present new, unique information every year because of the specific nature of the field. This means that, from this point of view, the number of years worked does not affect the quality of information and professionalism of the specialist. Finally, the target audience, which is children and adolescents, is very complex and multifaceted, which in no way can be aggregated. This means that we cannot invent certain unique approaches that will always be effective. This also serves to argue that the number of years worked is useless as a criterion for evaluating a teacher’s performance.


Black, Derek W. “The constitutional challenge to teacher tenure.” Calif. L. Rev. 104 (2016): 75. Web.

Codilla, Katrina Lumayag, and Jalil Evangelista Quinal. “Work Attitudes Among Office Personnel at MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, Iligan City Philippines.” Journal of Governance and Public Policy 6.1 (2019): 15-28. Web.

Mason April and Jean Wyld. “Practical Alternatives to Tenure: Lessons Learned for Best Practice.” Higher Education Today. 2020. Web.

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1. ChalkyPapers. "Teacher Unions & Tenure and Alternatives." October 17, 2023. https://chalkypapers.com/teacher-unions-and-amp-tenure-and-alternatives/.


ChalkyPapers. "Teacher Unions & Tenure and Alternatives." October 17, 2023. https://chalkypapers.com/teacher-unions-and-amp-tenure-and-alternatives/.