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Clearing up tenure vs. contract

As previously stated in last week's Guest Comment by Susan Leininger and sometimes by Scooby-Do, there are things that make you go 'Hmm…' However, most of what was said needs some clearing up.

Teacher tenure? Tenure is for college professors, not Oregon Trail certified staff. Tenure, according to the dictionary, is 'the status of holding one's position on a permanent basis without periodic contract renewals.' We don't have that. We have something called 'contract status.' You reach that after a successful three-year probationary period, complete with limited contract protection, six evaluations and a properly maintained teaching credential.

A contract is renewed every two years, as long as the certified employee has maintained a successful evaluation record. Basically, probationary staff can be 'let go,' no burden of proof needed.

Contract status, on the other hand, allows for full protection under the collective bargaining agreement and due process for termination; now that's a scary word.

What about coaches? Do they get contract status? Well, no. A coach can be terminated at any time. Doesn't sound like tenure there, either.

Coaching positions are separate hiring categories from teaching positions. In fact, a coach can be hired who isn't even a teacher.

That means that someone can be a teacher and not a coach, be a teacher and a coach or maybe sometimes a coach and sometimes a teacher. Either way, the attrition rate for new teachers is sky high during the first five years of service. Wonder if that rate is the same for 'teacher/coaches' or 'coach/teachers' or just plain 'coaches'? I doubt if we will ever know that answer.

Similarly, I doubt knowing the answer to 'teacher/coaches quitting, as a coach, after reaching tenure' … wait, contract status. Hmm … I thought that a person has a right to accept/decline and resign from any position. Shouldn't we also accept the reasons someone gives for their resignation, keeping the possible misinformed opinions to ourselves?

When was that strike, anyway? Aren't we beyond bringing it up? Am I misinformed? The shaky link between teacher strikes, student collective action, reporters reporting and a resigned coach is profoundly misplaced. What 'Hmm …' are we talking about precisely?

Athletics? Coaches? Teachers? Frustrated students? The district? All I can say is that as a community we must stop squabbling and start discussing. It is the only way we move forward.

Sena Norton is president of the Wy'East Education Association and a science teacher at Boring Middle School.