Mayor ratchets up his criticism of tenure as McCarthy-era relic

Mayor Bloomberg escalated his critique of teacher tenure on his weekly radio show this morning, calling tenure outdated and questioning whether it should even exist.

Bloomberg was discussing the latest tenure data, which was released Wednesday and showed an all-time high number of teachers whose probation were extended rather than receiving tenure. He said he’d continue to comply with the laws that required him to award tenure, but wouldn’t like it.

“The state law has tenure, whether you like it or not. We have to work with that,” Bloomberg said. ”It may have been necessary in the McCarthy era or maybe even today at the university level. But in public education you’re not writing papers about things that are very controversial, which was the idea of tenure: to protect your ability to do that.”

Bloomberg launched the last school year with a pledge to overhaul the way tenure is granted, and he previously has criticized tenure as being too “automatic.” But he has never called for an outright end to tenure; indeed, in a 2009 speech at the Center for American Progress, he declared, “let me be clear: We are not proposing an end to tenure.”

Under the tougher guidelines unveiled this year, more than 2,000 — or 39% — of teachers up for tenure this year had their probation extended tenure. That represents a sharp increase from last year, when less than 10 percent of teachers had their probation extended.

The number of teachers denied tenure decreased slightly, but, making a special guest appearance on the show, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott reiterated that he expected to see more denials next year.

“You’ll see the number probably go up again next year as far as those denied,” he said.

Source: Geoffrey Decker