Thursday, July 12, 2012

An Opposing View On The Value Of Tenure #4

Tenure is necessary because college educators are not the same as other private sector employees.  Academic freedom also allows faculty to engage in the political processes that decide education budgets, salaries, and benefits.  Private sector employees deal only with management within their place of employment.  Labor laws and binding contracts cover the private employment setting.   But due to the political nature of public employment, this is not the case for public employees.  Not only do public employees have to deal with internal administrators and managers, but also with elected politicians who control regulations as well as the purse strings.  What worker in a private industry has to deal with a scenario in which her supervisor awards an excellent evaluation rating and recommends a raise, but the money never appears because a politician decides that government needs to be curtailed?  Some public sector groups unionize in order to safely engage with the state’s political machinery, but unions don’t work very well for faculty.  Different types of faculty have different needs and a wide spectrum of viewpoints.  So, faculty often need to engage with political leaders on an individual basis.  Tenure facilitates this interaction by providing some protection from political retribution.

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