Monday, October 10, 2011

A Piece of Paper

Tenure is under attack all over. Chancellor Dennis Walcott doesn't support it, because Michael Bloomberg doesn't support it and New York's school chancellor is only permitted to support what Michael Bloomberg supports. Theoretically, a chancellor should represent schoolchildren, but under mayoral control, he represents a billionaire tycoon, as does our fake school board, the PEP.

Acquiring tenure, according to the "reformers," entails hanging around for a few years and being able to produce mist on a mirror. For me, it was not so simple. I could never find a position teaching in my license area, and actually had to change it. I think it took me at least six years. I have no idea when I actually received it.

A few years ago, a young teacher told me she thought she'd gotten tenure, and wanted to ask the principal. Would I come with her? It can be scary going to see the principal, so I said okay. The principal had no idea, but checking the dates it appeared she'd crossed the threshold. He wanted to do something for her, but had no idea what.

"Here, have this plant," he said, grabbing one of the potted plants the secretaries had lying around.

We've come a long way from those days. Now, the DOE sends out a certificate. I know because a young teacher showed me one the other day. This is a pretty nice thing to do, I think.

Perhaps it's the exception that proves the rule.
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