Tenure is a policy in teaching that restricts the ability to fire teachers requiring a "just cause" rationale for the firing process. Not all states have a tenure system set up. The state I chose, Missouri, does indeed have tenure set up.
Iowa does not have a tenure system but they do have something set up to protect the teachers. It is what they call "just cause." This means that when firing a teacher there must be a "just cause." According to the Iowa Supreme Court, just cause is defined as, "A just cause is one which directly or in directly significantly in adversely affects what must be the goal of every school system: high quality education for the districts student. 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. It cannot include reasons which are arbitrary, unfair or generated out of some petty vendetta."
Missouri does have a teacher tenure program. A Missouri teacher becomes tenured after they have taught five successful years in the same school district. On the first day of the teachers sixth year, the tenure is put into place. The tenure gives a teacher more of a "permanent" label and makes it harder for a teacher to get fired. If a teacher that has tenure is being looked at to be fired, there must first be a hearing before the school board and a number of procedures must be followed. There are very few things that a tenured teacher can be fired for.
Although the Iowa and Missouri teacher protection systems are different, I think that they both give more protection to the teacher than to have nothing done. Missouri's tenure can potentially protect a teacher for the rest of their life and the Iowa protection will make sure that if they have a just cause they will be protected as well. Either way if a teacher is doing the right thing their job will be protected to some extent and the students will still benefit.
The difference between Iowa's "just cause" clause and Missouri's tenure system is the extent that they protect. Iowa's "just cause" will not save a teachers job where as tenure does.
I would feel much more protected in Missouri because of the extensive degree that they go to to protect their teachers. I have always had mixed emotions about tenure because if there is a bad teacher it makes it harder to get them out of the school but as a teacher I would much rather be in a state that allows that protection. I feel that it also shows support for the teachers in a way that shows the board agrees with their teaching.