Last updated on: 7/14/2011 | Author: ProCon.org

Heather Wolpert-Gawron Biography

Title:
California Regional Teacher of the Year
Position:
Pro to the question "Should Teachers Get Tenure?"
Reasoning:

“I’m grateful to tenure for protecting a very dedicated and self-sacrificing group of professionals…

Without tenure, a 30-year teacher who has proven himself able under six school administrations can be fired under the seventh simply due to a conflict in teaching styles. Without tenure, the most experienced and proven educator – someone who has put in years on a school district pay scale — could be fired simply to cut costs in order to hire a newer, unproven teacher…

Without tenure, a teacher would be less likely to try a new book or lesson that strayed from the district vision even if that vision was flawed, or even if that supplemental material was exactly what that teacher needed to reach the kids in her classroom. Without tenure, we could not use criticism to improve our profession.

Without tenure, our vulnerability might influence our choices, allowing our fear of standardized test scores to drive our curriculum, rather then adding the critical-thinking skills into our lessons that we know our students truly need. Without tenure, a teacher could not fight for a student’s rights, raising his voicing against his own school administration or district.

Tenure is not so much a perk as a shield that permits us to teach through the ebb and flow of trends and fads brought in ofttimes by nomadic administrators. It gives us the ability to have an unthreatened voice to stand up against the grain. It allows us to retain our positions through our pregnancies, illness, and mourning, to stand up against lawyers pitted against us by litigious-eyed parents, or by the occasional student with lying on her tongue.”

“The Truth About Teacher Tenure,” edutopia.org, Dec. 21, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • California Regional Teacher of the Year, 2004
  • Educator, Jefferson Middle School
  • Recipient, San Gabriel Valley Outstanding Computer Using Educator, 2009
  • Staff Blogger, George Lucas Foundation’s Edutopia.com, Jan. 2009-present
  • Writing Project Fellow, University of California at Irvine
  • Contributor, Teacher Magazine, Dec. 2008-present
  • Member, Teacher Leaders Network, Sept. 2008-present
  • Writer, TweenTeacher.com, Feb. 4, 2008-present
  • Member, Center for Teaching Quality’s Teacher Leaders Network
  • Shakespeare Director, Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts
  • Contributor, Imagine Magazine
  • Teacher Trainer
  • Former Staff, Microsociety Magnet School, Berkeley, CA
Education:
  • BA, English, Connecticut College, 1993
Other:
  • Met her husband Royce in second grade
  • Speech and debate team ranked third in their category at Nationals in 2006
  • Students and programs featured in San Francisco Chronicle, Tri-Valley Herald, and Los Angeles Times
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Teachers Get Tenure?