Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Guidelines Make Teacher Tenure Less Automatic in New York City

In an article from the New York Times published on December 13, 2010 by Fernanda Santos we read that in most schools across the country, tenure is not something to be gained, but something to be lost. Virtually every new teacher earns it, including in New York City, where all a principal has had to do to give a teacher guaranteed lifetime employment is to check a box on a computer program.

No longer. Under guidelines released Monday, principals are directed to base their decisions on an elaborate system that measures teachers’ success in and outside the classroom, including student performance on standardized tests. The principals then have to explain their recommendation in three paragraphs. The goal, education officials said, is to change the longstanding culture in which tenure is virtually automatic, a default next step after a teacher’s first three years on the job. “The current system of awarding tenure devalues great teachers by treating teachers as if they are widgets on an assembly line,” said John White, a deputy chancellor for strategy. “If we’re going to professionalize teaching, we have to reward teachers, evaluate teachers and develop teachers like the 21st-century professionals that they are.”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the broad outlines of the tenure plan last year. The guidelines released on Monday provided more specifics on how tenure decisions should be made. The guidelines ask principals to give new teachers one of four ratings — highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective — in each of three categories: “instructional practice,” “professional contributions” and “impact on student learning.” To be considered for tenure, teachers must receive a rating of effective or highly effective for at least two consecutive years in all three categories. Teachers who earn “developing” ratings can have their probations extended, and those deemed “ineffective” will be denied tenure. Full Story: Please click HERE

In New Jersey, Governor Christie recently commented about the NJEA's attempts at tenure reform.

Picture: People's Photo Store on Washington St (near East LA's current location)