Teacher Tenure Reform Note

Teacher Tenure Reform Note

Summary:

The subjects of reforming teacher tenure and promoting teacher effectiveness have been high-profile issues across several states due to significant implications for both education and fiscal policy. Legislation passed in Louisiana, Maine and New Jersey are recent examples other states may wish to consider when examining the potentially controversial issues surrounding the process of changing or modifying existing tenure programs for public educators.

Louisiana HB 974, which became law in 2012, requires school superintendents to base all employment related decisions, including dismissal of teachers and administrators, primarily on performance and effectiveness. The bill limits tenure eligibility to teachers that have been rated “highly effective” for 5 years within a 6-year period starting September 1, 2012. It also requires that tenure be revoked if a tenured teacher receives an “ineffective” performance rating starting in the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. Lastly, it prohibits a pay raise in the year following an “ineffective” performance rating received by a teacher or an administrator.

Maine’s HB 1376 , which became law in 2012, requires that each school administrative unit develop and implement a performance evaluation and professional growth system for educators. As under prior law, the school board determines the “method” of evaluation and the superintendent is responsible for implementing the school-board-adopted evaluation method. The evaluation and growth system must include multiple measures of effectiveness, including student learning and growth as well as other factors. Below is a summary of the Act developed by the Maine Office of Legislative Information:

This bill requires school administrative units to develop and implement comprehensive performance evaluation and professional growth systems for teachers and principals. The bill sets forth standards that must be met by the systems, including a requirement that multiple measures of effectiveness must be used in evaluations, that evaluators must be properly trained and that a system must include a process for using information from the evaluation process to inform professional development. The Department of Education is required to adopt rules regarding the requirements of the system. The requirement for development and implementation of the system is phased in with full implementation required in school year 2015-2016.

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