Tweed ignores tenure support

With the Department of Education now taking seriously its responsibility of granting tenure and introducing new tenure guidelines this year, it would seem logical to expect the DOE to meet its responsibility to inform and support the 6,000 educators up for tenure this year. But that isn’t happening.

Once again the UFT has had to jump into the breach and play the educational role that Tweed ignores.

In every borough, the UFT has organized tenure workshops, where it has fielded questions, provided lots of practical advice and walked probationary teachers through how to create a professional portfolio that documents performance. Thousands of newer teachers have attended the meetings, eager for the guidance and support. DOE superintendents have attended a number of our workshops, jumping at the opportunity we have provided to communicate with newer teachers.

As professionals, we take tenure very seriously and we believe in the importance of having meaningful standards. Tenure is not a right; it must be earned. As the law has always stated, the DOE is solely responsible for granting tenure as well as determining tenure standards, but for years, it never exercised that authority. To cover its own dereliction, the DOE now blames the UFT.

So while the DOE’s motives in announcing the new tenure guidelines this year are suspect, a new tenure framework, if done right, can be a way to professionalize the process and make it more objective since all teachers will be judged by the same criteria.

The DOE should be apprising its newer teachers of the new procedures and expectations for earning tenure. Unfortunately, when it comes to providing teachers with information and support, the DOE has been predictably AWOL.

So once again the UFT has stepped into the vacuum by providing workshops [see page 47 for details], because we are serious about supporting teachers.

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