February 1983

Editor attacks seniority policy

   As a student at Maine South for four years, I have noticed the tendency for young faculty members, regardless of ability, tobe forced to quit because of declining enrollment. Seniority is not an acceptable answer to a fundamental problem of education.
   First of all, the basic structure of the system encourages mediocrity. Seniority is the practice of job security that guarantees the teachers who have been teaching the longest a job. Older teachers are usually more experienced and, therefore, better. But the system does not encourage innovativeness and productivity. Competitiveness and the need to excel are necessary. This system discourages young teaching prospects from getting involved in teaching. Already not enough good teachers exist because of obvious advantages the business world offers. To be young and ambitious is a contradiction in the educational system.
   How can one be ambitious for advancement when there will be a major influencing factor--seniroity.
   An obvious alternative to this practice is teacher evaluation, This concept would require investigation and economic investment. The need for change exists because the fundamental principle of seniority is incorrect. Desire, not experience, is the real underlying factor in the evaluation of a teacher's effectiveness. An evaluation system does exist at Maine South, but the systemis only used to ensure satisfactory performance.
   The field of education already lacks appeal to college graduates. Seniority is promoting this discouragement.