Teacher tenure laws changing around the country

In the past few years, many state legislatures have modified at least some element of their tenure or continuing contract policies.  Some have eliminated the term tenure from law, while others have changed due process elements and collective bargaining agreements. An increasing number of states have begun to significantly rewrite their laws relating to teacher tenure. 

North Carolina has become the latest state to overhaul its teacher tenure rules, directing school administrators to offer four-year contracts to top performers but one- or two-year contracts to everybody else. The longer-term job security will be limited to the 25 percent of teachers who are ranked most effective, based on criteria that has not yet been determined.

Other states which have made changes to their tenure system for teachers include: Louisiana, South Dakota, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, and Connecticut.  South Dakota ended teacher tenure but grandfathered those who receive it by July 1, 2016; Idaho’s legislature passed tenure reform, but the voters repealed the reform in a referendum; Arizona still gives teachers tenure, but if a teacher is rated in the lowest performance category in an evaluation, they will be placed on probation and can be fired more easily.

Teacher Tenure/Continuing contract provisions in KY require that teachers have 4 years or service before being granted tenure. After tenure is granted and a teacher is dismissed they can appeal and have a tribunal appointed- consisting of 1 teacher, 1 administrator, and 1 lay person; none of whom may be residents of the district in which the teacher was employed.

The Chamber believes tenure should not be automatically awarded to teachers on the sole basis of time on the job but should be earned. We are strongly in favor of tenure reform in Kentucky and continue to work with legislators and education groups to ensure that we have the most effective teachers in the classroom.

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