Why would any first-year teacher take a job in Kansas?

By Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

The last-minute addition to House Bill 2506 to eliminate tenure for K-12 public school teachers was a shock and a huge disappointment. Its supporters contend it’s a way to get rid of “bad” teachers. I see a very different scenario.

I think this is simply about money. Remember that teachers’ salaries are based on years of experience as well as level of education base pay. Suppose a teacher signs a contract that doesn’t include due process. She teaches successfully for 10 years. At that point, she is making maybe $10,000 more than a beginning teacher does. Then, without a reason or review, she is fired and replaced by a less expensive beginner.

Now consider 10 other teach-ers in the district in the same boat. And add thousands of teachers statewide. This is about dollars. It defies quality or continuity of education.

Brand-new teachers are won-derful. They bring new energy, new enthusiasm and new ideas, but the classroom loses experience. Every teacher I know recognizes what this means. If you don’t, put yourself in front of 28 eighth-graders for an hour at a time and expect all of them to reach measurable educational goals.

Also, I have some questions. Why does this spell out only teachers, not administrators? What about counselors or cen-tral office employees like super-intendents? Why not private school teachers?

Kansas ranks 42nd out of the 50 states in teachers’ salaries. Now teachers here won’t even have due process rights. Why would any first-year teacher choose to start a career in Kansas? All of those openings should be a big red flag. It’s going to happen to you, too.

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