A professor or curator with academic tenure has an appointment that lasts until retirement age, except for dismissal with just cause. A common justification for tenure is the principle of academic freedom, which holds that it is beneficial for state, society and academy in the long run if scholars are free to examine, hold, and advance controversial views. Elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers can also be granted tenure in some places. Tenure is generally earned after a number of years of work experience, after certain criteria are met and after a successful tenure review.
Some have argued that modern tenure systems diminish academic freedom, forcing those seeking tenured positions to profess conformance to the level of mediocrity as those awarding the tenured professorships. For example, according to physicist Lee Smolin, "...it is practically career suicide for a young theoretical physicist not to join the field of string theory." Tenure is controversial in many places, with some U.S. states considering legislation to remove tenure at public universities. However, many argue that the job security granted by tenure is necessary to recruit talented individuals into professorships, because in many fields private industry jobs pay significantly more. Economist Steven Levitt has suggested that if tenure is removed, universities will need to raise faculty salaries to compensate for the lost job security. 
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