Tenure Granted to 58% of Eligible Teachers in City

Jul 28, 2011 by

The era of automatic tenure for teachers in New York City is over, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Wednesday.

Under tougher evaluation guidelines that the city put into effect this year, 58 percent of teachers eligible for tenure received it, the mayor said at a news conference at the Department of Education. A decision on tenure was deferred for 39 percent of eligible teachers, up from 8 percent a year ago. Three percent of eligible teachers were denied tenure outright in both years.

Five years ago, roughly 99 percent of eligible teachers — those who had completed their third year on the job — received tenure, mirroring statistics in school districts around the nation.

While state law outlines the general procedures for awarding tenure to teachers, the details are left to individual districts. “We’ve turned what had been a joke interpretation of the state law,” Mr. Bloomberg said, “to make it something that you have to work hard, earn, and show that you are better than the average bear” to get.

Under the city’s new standards, teachers are rated on a four-point scale as highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective, based on students’ tests scores, classroom observations, feedback from parents, and other factors. (Previously, they were simply rated satisfactory or not.) Principals, who make recommendations on tenure, and supervisors, who make the decisions, were allowed to give tenure only to teachers who were rated effective or better for two consecutive years.

But as city officials predicted that the new policy would improve the quality of the teaching force, the results raised questions about its current state since so many teachers up for tenure were not rated effective.

The teachers’ union, defending the performance of its workers, objected to the way some of the evaluations by administrators were performed, and said it did not find the results, in terms of tenure, credible.

Many teachers, said Michael Mendel, the secretary of the union, the United Federation of Teachers, believed that their principals recommended against tenure for reasons not directly tied to performance.

via Tenure Granted to 58% of Eligible Teachers in City – NYTimes.com.

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