Iowa v. Missouri: Teacher Protection By: Rachael Slayton

What is tenure?

Tenure provides job security for teachers who have successfully compleated a probationary period. The purpose of this is to protect outstanding teachers from being fired for non-educational issues. This would be things like personal beliefs or personality conflicts with administrators, school board members,or any other authority figure. Tenured teachers are entitled to due process when they are threatened with imissal or non-renewal of contract. This process is exceedingly tedious for administrators because the administrator must show proof that the teacher is ineffective and failed to meet district standards in a hearing before the school board. A teacher becomes tenured once they have successively taught for five years at the same school in Missouri. They receive it on the first day of their sixth year at that school.

Pros V. Cons of Tenure:

The pros to tenure is that it ensures that those who have been there longest have guaranteed job security in tough economic times even though a more inexperienced teacher may come at a lesser cost to the district. It also provides jo security for teachers. However, the cons are that it is too difficult to get rid of a teacher who has been proven to be ineffective in the classroom because the process is tedious, difficult, and expensive for all involved. Some may also say that once a teacher has received tenure status they could then lack the motivation they ounce had to perform well in the classroom. Another con would be that admisnistrators are less likely to dicipline a teacher who is tenured compared to one who is not even if they have committed the same offense because of the difficult proposition to remove a tenured teacher.

Although Iowa does not have tenure for there teachers there is still something there for their protection as teachers. It is called Chatper 279 but kind of like tenure there needs to be "just cause" for a teacher to be fired.

What is "Just Cause?"

The Iowa Supreme Court has defined "just cause" to mean "one which directly or indirectly sugnufucantly and adversely affects what must be the goal of every school system: high quality education for the district's students.. it must include the concept that a school district is not married to mediocrity but may dismiss personnel who are neither performing high quality work nor improving in performance. On the other hand, "just cause" cannot include reasons which are arbitrary, unfair or generated out of some petty vendetta."

The difference of Chapter 279 and tenured is that Chapter 279 does not save the teacher's job and teacher tenure will. However both Chapter 279 and tenured have a process that must be gone through in order for a teacher to lose their jobs.

My Choice:

Looking up both Iowa's and Missouri's protection, it really got me thinking. I have family that live in Iowa, one which got her teaching degree, so I decided to talk to her a little bit about it. I can see where both in some way protect a teacher from being fired because an administrator or someone higher up does not like you. However, I do see many teachers that become tenured and they seem to just do what they have to so they won't get into trouble. The drive that they might have had in the beginning is gone. I feel to have the protection of tenure and the process it takes to dismiss a teacher once they have recieved it is more protection than what Iowa has in place.

Work Cited:

  • Why-Public-Education-Needs-Teacher-Unions.htm


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