Tenure

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Scribe, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. Scribe

    Scribe Rookie

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    Feb 18, 2013

    I'm learning very quickly on these forums that the assumptions I've made about tenure and it's role in teachers lives are skewed. A recent thread by Pisces_Fish really showed me a different perspective. My experience is that tenure, once granted, can only be removed under immediate-termination circumstances (child abuse, showing up drunk, things like that). That's apparently not true at all, so if you have a minute could you please share how tenure is handled in your school? Is it contingent on evaluations or performance? How can it be taken away/how can your job be threatened?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    NJ has new tenure law. It now takes 4 years to attain enure. We are now evaluated on a four point system. We willbe rated as “highly effective,” “effective,” “partially effective,” or “ineffective.” Tenure charges must be brought against an employee who has an “ineffective” or “partially effective” rating in one year and who is rated “ineffective” the following year in an annual summative evaluation.
     
  4. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    In Oklahoma it is all tied to our new evaluation system...it will be easier for principals to get rid of older teachers and those that disagree with their policies. Basically a teacher has limited rights now.
     
  5. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I would assume that these evaluations are based largely on observed lessons of a class. The problem with that, is that most any experienced teacher can devise a lesson where students may seem more engaged, etc. than normal. So it's probably not going to have the effect people would like it to have. The reason I say it is because I've seen many not-very-good teachers over the years.

    The other thing is that there is an attitude of "niceness" within the field. It's not cut/dried for an administrator, to judge a teacher who the principal has known for a while and may know (for example) the teacher's family situation (i.e. the teacher has two kids in college to pay for)--and would feel badly, to label said teacher as "ineffective" (even though she may be)... when it would be just as easy to just let her continue on with her mild incompetence (after all, she's not a bad person) when in reality, she's not cutting the mustard. Some might call that "the fault of the administrator", but let's be real--it's hard to blame. They don't want to ruin a career.
     
  6. Scribe

    Scribe Rookie

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    That seems fair in theory but are the evaluations based on classroom observations and test scores? It seems like there should be some sort of impartial check as well. Some way to prevent an administrator from giving bad evaluations for spiteful reasons.

    I should also add my experiences come mostly from PA but I'm not well versed with the actual law.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The new evaluation systems mostly call for ten-15 unannounced mini observations per teacher, per year...it eliminates the dog and pony show, staged kinds of lessons for observations.
    My districts evaluation system is Kim Marshall's system. It calls for several evaluators so there is some degree of inter rater reliability. Also with six rubrics of ten benchmarks apiece, it's not so much a blanket rating, but more of a multifaceted picture of each educator. I find it keeps teachers more 'on their toes'. Not such a bad thing.

    Our evaluation system includes an informal, not written, follow up conversation...teachers play a role in that conversation in that we should be able to discuss our rationale, goals, assessments of learning, teaching decisions.
     
  8. Scribe

    Scribe Rookie

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    Color me impressed. The experience I have with classroom observation is an "unannounced" visit lasting a whole 15-20 minutes, once a year...if they get around to it. I would certainly feel much more comfortable with an accurate evaluation if I'd been seen 10-15 times!
     
  9. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    You're soooooooooo right! "Fair in theory" makes the assumption that administrators are actually going to behave in a professional manner and that everyone is playing by the rules.

    You also have to have confidence that your union leaders are going to play by the rules and actually represent you if there's an "unsatisfactory" rating. I've seen more than a few cases in my 20+ years where the building representatives obviously cut a deal with the district, sat on their hands, and allowed the district to torpedo a tenured teacher without putting up more than a token defense.

    The idea of relying on someone's honor and integrity have become foreign concepts anymore.


    :|
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Again, Reality, not the experience I've had in 15 years of teaching.
     
  11. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Feb 18, 2013

    In California we are basically untouchable once tenured. I've not once heard of it revoked and our evaluations have no influence on our tenure whatsoever. It is automatically bestowed after two years of contract work.
     
  12. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    In Illinois, 2 annual Unsatisfactory ratings (our lowest of the 4) will result in suspension or revocation of the teacher's license.

    Hopefully, admin will be fair and impartial. *fingers crossed*
     
  13. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    That's amazing! Hard to believe. ( I do believe you)

    I've never worked in a state that has Tenure.
     
  14. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Feb 18, 2013

    In my district (don't know about the state), you need to have your Master's to have tenure and work in the district for a certain amount of years (three, I think). When you have tenure, you get observed once per year. I've never heard of anyone getting their tenure revoked or getting fired while having tenure.

    With our new evaluation system that kicks in next school year, everyone is on an even playing field. You can still have tenure, but you can still receive harsh consequences or even be let go if you score poorly on evaluations.
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Feb 18, 2013

    I'm in a private school and there is no tenure. When I was in a public school in AZ there was no tenure in our school district. Most districts were phasing it out, but a few still had it.
     
  16. waterfall

    waterfall Phenom

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    My entire state got rid of tenure with a new senate bill last year. They even took it away from people that already had it. I have noticed that my admin doesn't seem to "go after" the older teachers the way that they do the younger ones, even when it's obvious that they don't like certain older teachers. I wondered if it was just because they knew the union would have a much stronger case to fight if it were an experienced teacher. All of the teachers who were nonrenewed this year were 1st-2nd year teachers. In my last district when they had to do RIFs they based it first on performance and second on seniority. Here we don't have any budget cuts so the people that were let go were let go on the basis of performance.


    My dad still has tenure in OH but they are trying to take it away. His union seems to think that he and others that have already earned it would be "grandfathered in" if they did ever do away with it completely and it would just be that new teachers wouldn't have the opportunity to earn it. In his district if they want to get rid of a tenured employee they move them around to positions/schools they don't want (the music teacher was literally teaching ESL one year), observe them daily, demand detailed lesson plans and write them up if they're not doing exactly what the plan is, call them to the office to deal with outside problems, pile on extra work, etc. until the person breaks down and retires early or resigns. He also said that in more recent years they'd basically been firing every 3rd year teacher (next year would be tenure) so they don't have to give it to anyone in the first place. So for the younger teachers it might be more beneficial to just not have it anyway.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2013

    In my district, we have something like tenure but it's called something else. When I was a newer teacher, we could earn tenure after two years of satisfactory evaluations. I earned mine more quickly than that because of a recommendation by admin. My understanding is that new teachers now are required to have satisfactory evaluations for a longer period of time, 3 or 4 years I think, before earning tenure.

    We are moving to a new evaluation system next year, and I'm not sure how it will impact tenure. The new evaluation system is heavily tied to test scores (50% of our overall evaluation). I have many questions about this system, particularly because I do not teach a tested subject. I don't know if our version of tenure will go away entirely, but I'm certain that it will be altered in some significant way.
     
  18. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    New Jersey used to be NOTORIOUS for this practice. It's why those of us in Pennsylvania who have New Jersey certificates didn't bother to look over the bridge for positions. And now, state law says you have to live there and with their taxes......forget it.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Hmmm...I've been teaching in NJ FOR 14 years. Never heard of or witnessed this notoriety. My friends from college who started teaching in NJ in the 80s know nothing of this either.
     
  20. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Actually, that's not entirely true.

    In California, the education code specifically states that a teacher can be removed for incompetence, insubordination, and unfitness to teach.

    In practice, however, this does not play out for the following reasons.

    First of all, there need to be consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations. During that time, a teacher must be given the opportunity to meet the requirements needed to keep their job. In most cases, a teacher will either meet those requirements or resign on their own.

    I don't know of any tenured teachers who have been let go simply for unsatisfactory teaching. But I've known of many who have been driven to the point of resignation before that happened.

    Think about it. Let's say you just got your second unsatisfactory evaluation in two years. They were starting the procedure to terminate you. Would you hang around to let that happen or would you resign and at least keep some small shred of your professional reputation in hopes of either salvaging your career or starting a new one? I know what I would do.

    The other issue is that it's quite easy for a teacher to appeal a dismissal based on poor performance because nobody has ever determined what poor performance actually is for a teacher who comes to work every day, teaches the curriculum and follows all the rules. And because of this, very few school administrators are willing to try dismissing a teacher when it's easier to just drive them to quitting.
     
  21. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Feb 18, 2013

    In Oklahoma it use to be that if you were renewed three years in a roll (but not if you were fired and then rehired each year)then you received tenure--or career status, as it has been called the last few years. Technically, it never stopped anyone from being fired. But it did make the principal leave a paper trail that explained why a person was fired.
     

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