Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

PDK. Emerging Leaders Speak Out

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

PDK. Emerging Leaders Speak Out

Article excerpt

Q. We're seeing changes to teacher tenure rules. What are your thoughts about the movement?

JERRY BURKETT

Burkett earned an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Dallas Baptist University's Gary Cook School of Leadership. He is director of both human capital management and college- and career-readiness for the Grand Prairie (Texas) Independent School District. A 2013-14 PDK Emerging leader, Burkett had been principal at Milam Elementary and lyndon B. Johnson Elementary Schools in Grand Prairie.

The movement to adjust teacher tenure rules or amend teacher contracts in the name of reform is a farce. The field of education cannot adapt to a model that would fire teachers and administrators without cause or without a research-based opportunity to grow as professionals. This inconsistency harms our students who rely on stability. At the same time, we do not need to use tenure as an excuse to retain teachers or administrators who do not aid student success. This also harms our students who do not benefit from educators who aren't effective.

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The answer lies somewhere in the middle. We need leadership to create ways to retain effective teachers while moving ineffective educators out of classrooms and schools. School districts need the ability to reward and retain teachers and administrators who have developed proven records of student success. In addition, school districts need effective policy and procedures, supported by the community, that remove ineffective teachers and administrators. This is where students will benefit the most: great teachers and schools shielded from ineffective and unreliable individuals. …

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