A failed Maryland teacher for changing tenure
By Jonathan Inskeep,
Regarding the Jan. 25 editorial “Race for education dollars”:
The basic assumption of President Obama’s Race to the Top education program is that there can be a relationship between quality of education and money spent but that money spent without reform could be wasted. The president has demanded certain changes at the state level in return for substantial federal money. For Maryland, we are talking about millions of desperately needed dollars. I would like to discuss one of those reforms.
In 1993, I voluntarily left a 21-year career in information technology in Washington, beginning as an operations clerk and ending at the vice presidential level, to teach fourth grade in a Baltimore public school. Call it a mid-life crisis, but let me say this: Teaching was the hardest thing I ever did for the least amount of money I ever made. I challenge anyone who criticizes teachers to do the same thing. It was a real eye-opener for me.
I failed as a teacher and resigned after four years, yet after completing less than two years of teaching, I was guaranteed tenure under the contract between the city of Baltimore and the Baltimore Teachers Union. I fully supported the BTU, but giving a failed teacher like me tenure was a mistake.
President Obama has asked for reform in return for substantial federal education funding. One of those reforms, supported by State Schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, is that tenure not be granted so early in a teacher’s career. But there appears to be resistance in state government to this idea for political reasons. Democrats need union support, and this is an election year.
I call on Gov. Martin O’Malley to publicly endorse the reforms proposed by the president and the superintendent. Our educational system needs the money and the reform.
| February 2, 2010; 6:32 PM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Maryland, schools
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