More States Use Teacher Performance in Employment Decisions

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from NCPA,

Growing numbers of states are requiring teacher performance to be considered in schools’ employment decisions, according to a new report from Jennifer Thomsen, policy analyst at the Education Commission of the States.

Teacher tenure laws grant job protections to teachers based on their years of employment. These laws have been around for 90 years, At that time, job protection was seen as necessary because of prevalent nepotism, political favoritism and arbitrary dismissals. Tenure does not require that the employment of an incompetent teacher be continued; tenure laws
provide for dismissal of incompetent or inefficient teachers while providing due process rights. And, they generally require teachers to complete three years of “probationary” employment before they can receive the protections.

But states are starting to reconsider whether teacher performance should be considered in tenure and other employment-related decisions.

Sixteen states now require that teacher performance evaluations be used when making decisions about granting a teacher tenure or non-probationary status.

Seven states — Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada Tennessee, Arizona and Louisiana — now have laws that will put tenured teachers on probationary status if they receive ineffective ratings.

Eleven states require districts to look at teacher performance when deciding whether to lay off teachers in periods of declining enrollment or economic problems.

Ten states also prohibit the use of tenure or seniority as a central factor in firing decisions.

All states are free to strengthen their teacher tenure requirements and impose stronger evaluation components into tenure decisionmaking.

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