Just to clarify:
"In states with tenure, teachers must work satisfactorily for a period of time before they are eligible for tenure.... (In Pennsylvania, one must teach three years before earning it.) Only then may the principal decide whether to grant tenure."
Tenure ensures due process. It DOES NOT mean public school teachers can't be fired. "A teacher with tenure is entitled to a hearing before he or she may be fired, and evidence of misconduct must be presented before an independent hearing officer."
Below is why I care about tenure, and why you should, too:
"Tenure protects academic freedom. In the absence of tenure, teachers may be fired for any reason. Teachers may be fired if the principal doesn't like them or if they are experienced and become too expensive. Teachers may be fired for being outspoken. There is no evidence that tenure causes low test scores. There is no evidence that children get higher achievement if their teachers have no tenure. The best predictor of low test scores is poverty. Every standardized test -- whether the SAT, the ACT, state tests, national tests, or international tests – shows the effects of family income on test scores...
We expect teachers to teach children to think critically, but how can they do this if they are not allowed to think critically and to teach without fear?"
"... (Pennsylvania) continually hasn't kicked in enough money to cover its growing debt, the single biggest reason for the dire straits the state now faces...Through it all, to this day, state workers made their required contributions, which for teachers is 7.5 percent of salary... Pennsylvania (is) second-worst in the nation when it comes to making its pension payments. New Jersey takes top honors."