Last week Senator Mike Wilson filed SB 168 that would allow for suspension or termination of a teacher’s continuing service contract if the teacher fails to successfully meet the requirements of a corrective action plan. SB 168 would also establish a new process for teachers who are first hired after July 1, 2015, to achieve tenure status only when they have received an effective or highly effective rating on the annual evaluation for three out of the four annual summative evaluations.
Modifying teacher tenure laws is an emerging trend across the U.S. and Wilson’s bill is in line with what other states have done. South Dakota has eliminated teacher tenure all together, while other states like Arizona and Connecticut have used evaluations when awarding tenure and/or dismissing tenured teachers.
Currently in Kentucky, continuing contract provisions state that teachers are required to have 4 years, plus a day of the following school year, before automatically being granted tenure. The Chamber believes tenure should not be automatically awarded to teachers on the sole basis of time on the job but should be earned.
Senator Wilson also filed SB 169 that clarifies the causes for which a contract of a teacher may be terminated. It requires the Commissioner of Education to initiate the appropriate due process procedures in response to a teacher’s appeal of a superintendent’s termination charge. The Commissioner will then establish a hearing procedure and appoint a hearing officer to hear the termination case. That officer then upholds or overturns the decision of the superintendent. This process replaces the current three-person tribunal system, which consists of a teacher, an administrator and a layperson.
We are strongly in favor of tenure and tribunal reform and fully support Senator Wilson’s bills, which help ensure we have the most effective teachers in the classroom.