Ron Bancroft called for the elimination of teacher tenure in his March 22 column. In the words of Ronald Reagan, Mr. Bancroft — there you go again.

The dirty little secret about tenure is that teachers in Maine do not have it as they do in other states. Teachers here have continuing contracts, and can be let go for cause at any time.

If an administrator identifies an issue with a teacher, works out a plan for the teacher to improve, and the teacher fails to meet the requirements of the plan, that teacher can be fired. When implemented fairly, this results in not only improvement of teaching for the poor teacher, but also for other teachers who get the message.

Gee, that sounds exactly like what Mr. Bancroft is proposing. Why then would he propose eliminating tenure when his planned improvement is already in place? Either Mr. Bancroft is not very smart (which I don’t think is true) or there is another agenda in mind. His agenda is the old tried-and-true Republican mantra: blame the union workers, not the managers, for poor performance. There you go again.

In most businesses, poor performance is considered a failure of managers, whose bonuses are tied to performance. Why doesn’t Mr. Bancroft call for the firing of principals and superintendents? Aren’t they responsible for the policies and enforcement that should result in higher performance from our students?

Having been a principal and having worked with highly effective administrators who did manage to improve teachers and get poor teachers to leave, I can attest that the present system can work. The difficulty for the state as a whole is that those same teachers will get jobs in other schools.

Why? Because good teachers are hard to come by. In light of the present financial crisis, the future will bring even fewer high quality teachers to choose from, since the state seems intent on demonizing teachers.

Backing out on promises made about teacher retirement does not help recruit and retain high-quality teachers, either. Firing highly experienced teachers in favor of possibly poorer performing rookies seems a prescription for disaster in education. More effective leadership from administrators would be a better start to improving education.