The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is unafraid of wading into political and partisan issues, and is doing so in Florida. The left-wing union is attacking tenure reform as unfair, while conservative politicians say tenure reform makes tenured professors more accountable for their work.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Postsecondary Education bill into law this past April, which is a law that has the state’s board of governors review tenured professors’ work every five years. If the professor does not meet the standards of the review, they will not be retained as employees.
The AFT’s latest blog post on UFF’s tenure fight pointed out that tenure “is on the chopping block in Florida,” but said it is an issue of academic freedom. The blog post also claimed that Florida’s anti-Critical Race Theory legislation is an attack which “restricts how faculty can teach about systemic racism” and restricts the “right to teach true history.”
But AFT failed to point out that politicized teachers’ unions and professors led Florida to this point. Republicans, which mostly kept a hands-off approach to higher education, took action because of years of one sided, liberal politicization of college students.
Tenure almost guarantees lifelong job security, which is not normal for any other industry or profession. It has allowed for politicized professors to spout biased ideology without rebuttal and does not require them to prove their worth or productivity to the taxpayers, who fund their jobs and employers.
Also, Critical Race Theory is not accepted by all Americans, especially conservatives, because it portrays American history in a race-tinted lens and has several major historical issues. For example, the oft-debunked 1619 Project parrots Critical Race Theory tenets, such as the incorrect claim that the American colonies were solely organized on the basis of slavery.
The primary reasons behind tenure reform are holding professors accountable for their work, creating proper incentives to work as a taxpayer-paid professor at state universities and colleges, and de-politicizing Florida’s campuses.
Gov. DeSantis, when signing the bill, said, “We need to make sure the faculty are held accountable and that they don’t just have tenure forever without having any type of ways to hold them accountable or evaluate what they’re doing.”
It may not be common knowledge for Florida taxpayers, but professors in Florida’s higher education system are unionized under the United Faculty of Florida (UFF). The UFF union operates as an affiliate of both AFT and the National Education Association (NEA), which are left-wing unions that consistently back the Democratic Party through political activism and funding.
AFT should not be wading into the tenure reform fight and should focus on issues related to teachers, parents, and students. It should let UFF handle the state issue.
Also, tenure reform is long overdue, as Accuracy in Academia has consistently stated over the years, because it does not hold professors accountable for their work and taxpayers have no recourse to do so. It is unfair that taxpayers worry about job security, while professors in their ivory towers do not share these concerns.