What Was the Historical Purpose of Teacher Tenure?

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Tenure emerged in response to the spoils system in public schooling, under which teachers were hired (and fired) as a consequence of the political process rather than their competence or fit. Advocates intended it to be part of teachers’ total compensation, helping to attract and retain teachers by making up for relatively low starting salaries and back-loaded pension benefits through long-term job stability. Tenure also has strong roots in the women’s rights movement, with the specific aim of protecting female teachers.

From the new report “Teacher Tenure Reform: Applying Lessons from the Civil Service and Higher Education” by Public Impact.

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