Could Patrick’s ban on tenure devastate Texas’ university system?

University leaders are concerned ending tenure would make it more difficult to attract talent.

On Friday, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced he would seek to abolish tenure for professors at Texas’ public universities, the latest in an ongoing GOP attack on public education.

“What we will propose to do is end tenure, all tenure for all new hires,” said Patrick, whose proposal would eliminate tenure for new hires and require those who have it to undergo a review every year rather than every six. “The law will change to say teaching critical race theory is prima facie evidence of good cause for tenure revocation.”

Speaking at the Capitol, Patrick was responding to a recent non-binding resolution from the faculty council at The University of Texas at Austin striking back at the state’s law banning the teaching of “critical race theory,” which Governor Greg Abbott signed in June.

Nearly two years into a global pandemic, teachers are caught in the middle of fights over masking, school closures, remote learning, and other issues. Patrick’s latest threat to university tenure is another dose of salt in the wound. Educators at all levels now face the threat of termination and public shaming for talking frankly to their students about racism.

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