After three years in the classroom, New York City teachers are considered for tenure. Five years ago, 97 percent got it. This year, only 55 percent of eligible teachers earned tenure.
Only 3 percent of probationary teachers were fired. Forty-two percent were kept on probation for another year. “Of those whose probations were extended last year, fewer than half won tenure this year, a third were given yet another year to prove themselves, and 16 percent were denied tenure or resigned,” reports the New York Times.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has vowed to end “tenure as we know it,” notes the Times. He’s not the only one. Some 18 states have weakened teacher tenure rights and/or made tenure harder to get.
Idaho last year did away with tenure entirely by passing a law giving newly hired teachers no expectation of a contract renewal from one year to the next. In Florida, all newly hired teachers now must earn an annual contract, with renewals based upon their performance.
Last month in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation overhauling the nation’s oldest tenure law and making it easier for teachers to be fired for poor performance.
Tenure was virtually automatic in most state until a few years ago, said Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality. “Tenure was looked at as much more of a sacred cow,” she told the Times. “Once states started to move on it, then the dominoes started to fall in other states.”