The trouble with tenure

Job security isn’t always a good thing

We’ve all experienced it: the professor that marches into the room the first week of the semester, throws their feet up on the desk, wordlessly clicks through some slides, assigns a few essays and won’t respond to emails.

Are they lazy? Do they not care about their jobs? No, they’re just tenured.

Most of us have heard of tenure but what does it really mean? Tenure is a guaranteed job contract. The idea is that after a professor has proved their skills over a few years, it varies by university but generally over three, they have “proved” their skill.

Tenure was originally created in the late 19th century, at the same time as many other professions were undergoing labor struggles. The idea was to combat parents and administrators playing too heavy of a role in what was taught, but circumstances have changed and the program needs to adapt.

After achieving this title, they cannot be fired without a severe misstep in conduct. Educators argue that they earned the security this provides and that it allows them to do a better job, but I think that’s crap.

Tenure allows professors to become sedentary and honestly I don’t blame them. Who wouldn’t love a guaranteed job making upwards of 80 thousand dollars a year? The problem is the system.

Where is the drive to innovate and get better and challenge students when you get paid the exact same amount regardless?

Tenure creates a huge problem with eliminating incompetent educators. The process is grueling in that it’s both time-consuming and expensive and that’s when it’s even possible to do under their contracts.

As a result, more often than not, these burned-out, entitled teachers get shuffled around rather than being replaced by people that would actually inspire and engage students.

The solution is simple: eliminate tenure. It’s the same reason supreme court justices shouldn’t have a lifetime term; they have too much power.

It is common in a number of career-fields to sign multi-year contracts but more often than not the executive power lies with the employer, not the employee, and therefore the contract can be terminated when a certain degree of under-achievement is reached.

Having a little fear in regards to job security is a good thing. It makes individuals strive