Since "Waiting for Superman" made such a splash on the Oprah Winfrey show, teacher tenure has been on the chopping block in Missouri. It's finally up for a vote, so this is what I wrote to my representative. If you are a Missouri resident, I highly recommend you contact your representative!!
As a teacher, I am begging you to protect our tenure. In our society right now, there is a huge push to blame teachers for everything that is wrong with education. I can tell you that this is simply not true. Having lived and traveled abroad, where the educational system is "better," there are a multitude of reasons for this, none of which have to do with better teachers. In fact, the teachers there work fewer hours, have fewer students, and are, in most cases, less educated than the American teacher.
We have chosen a profession for ourselves that is consistently attacked by parents, politicians, and the media. Tenure is the one thing we have to protect our jobs under such scrutiny. Also, there is nothing in the current law that says that a teacher who is doing a terrible job cannot be fired: the administrators simply need to follow the procedures to do so, just like in any other profession. Tenure protects us from the politicians on the school board, protects those of us who join a union, and protect us from powerful parents unhappy with a grade their students receive.
I would invite you to come and visit me any time at my job if you need further clarification of what life is like as a teacher. I think it would be eye-opening...