I frequently find myself standing on platforms for public transportation. I often see the words, "If you see something, say something."
When teachers see something in their school, such as the denial of services to special-ed. students, one would hope that they would say something, too. But the truth is that in a world, even one in which teachers have tenure, they are easy targets for administrative retribution. In its most familiar form, one might say something and find a supervisor sitting in the back of one's room the following day. In more extreme situations, one might find a supervisor possibly fabricating letters accusing a teacher of pedophilia.
We have all heard stories from across the City of vindictive administrators. In these days of tight budgets and high-stakes testing-based accountability, there is more cause for administrative abuse. It may involve tampering with parent surveys. No matter what whistle you're blowing, you may be given a most difficult program and a very hard time, if not the boot. Without the protections of tenure, there may be storms that few can weather. You may witness the grinding of your career "to dust."
I cannot believe in this world in which abuse is so rife, real "reformers" would want to strip teachers of tenure. We are stuck with a set of "reformers," it seems, who would favor a system that rewards turning a blind eye to the misuse of power and the public trust. If teachers see something and say something in a world without tenure, they will put their careers at risk. Although they may not be reporting an unattended, suspicious suitcase, perhaps, ready to explode, nonetheless, they may be reporting harmful and widespread injustices. Without tenure, teachers may become, more than ever, the victims of a different kind of administrative-led terrorism.