Ruben, a second-year Bronx teacher, says even though he doesn’t see himself making a career of teaching, and he approves of experiments with merit pay, he understands why unions protect tenure. He thinks D.C. superintendent Michelle Rhee’s anti-union rhetoric is “alienating those who might otherwise be allies“:

Bad schools often have bad leaders. The most dangerous result of dissolving tenure would be the end of a safety net for teachers who are unfairly or arbitrarily fired. With tenure such a scenario is virtually impossible. Without tenure there are administrators who can and will enforce a patronage system of sorts where loyalty and obedience are prized over dedication to the students and the craft of teaching. Rhee would do teachers and the discussion about reform in general a service to acknowledge these facts.