We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I’d argue that how one understands tenure will have a great deal to do with which position one takes. I’ve suggested before that it’s reasonable to have tenure or unions, but not both, and this debate helped me crystallize that sentiment. Tenure is a lifetime commitment by the institution. (Since the badly-misguided repeal of a mandatory retirement age, this is literally true.) To suggest that a lifetime commitment somehow doesn’t carry with it some sort of reciprocal obligation strikes me as narcissistic, if not laughable. Legally, tenure amounts to ownership of a job. Having tenure and a union amounts to negotiating against yourself, an ethically dubious proposition worthy of an Illinois governor. Being insulated for life against the vagaries of the economy is a privilege, and a rare one; for that privilege to bring with it a certain responsibility for stewardship of the institution is only fair.
I always thought of teachers as professionals, but not since the unions seduced some of them. And I have never really understood the concept of tenure at all, especially in a world in which profs and teachers can be paid quite well, and receive perks and pensions that most other jobs lack. I happen to be a partner in a firm, but the Exec. Committee could let me go tomorrow if they wanted to and I would be on the street like every other working stiff. Nothin' wrong with that.
Are teachers workers or professionals? What's the difference? If you're a worker, you are a professional; if you are a professional, you are a worker. Or does 'professional' mean you just have to show up?
Tenure is ridiculous. Every working professional who deposits a paycheck needs to remember that not only did he earn that check but that he needs to continue to earn the right to earn that check. Earn't I right?
I was womdering Barrister, if The Committee put you on the street, couldn't you file a wrongful termination suit, or perhaps an age discrimination suit if you were replaced with a younger man? I 've always wondered if lawyers play by the same rules they hold everyone else to. When I had a real job with people under me, you had to build a file on someone if you wanted to terminate them and also make sure you documented that you were treating them the same as everyone else. The days of telling someone they're fired and expecting them to walk meekly out the door are long gone.
When I lived a few miles from a large university, some neighbors were a geeky couple of engineering profs, they walked together one about six steps in front of the other, odd behavior like singing to each other or having strange, shouted conversations. They rarely looked us neighbors in the eye or gave us the time of day.
One day while I worked the plantings out front, they excitedly came over to me and announced proudly that each of them was just awarded tenure at the university. Hadn't spoken to me in months, or returned my waves or greetings, but they had to share their happy news.
A couple of weeks later I saw them outside and asked how things were going at the university. They got one of their odd, puzzled looks, then said, like I should already know this, that they hadn't been on campus for a while. We're taking sabbatical for the next year! Should have known.