Teacher Tenure Reform: Applying Lessons from the Civil Service and Higher Education
This paper from Public Impact—one in a series entitled “Building an Opportunity Culture for America’s Teachers”—analyzes four design elements of teacher-tenure systems (time to tenure, criteria for tenure, the process for conferring tenure, and tenure protections) through the lenses of the K-12, civil-service, and higher-education sectors. While all three, for example, have strong protections in place, the higher-education system allows for a dynamic array of rewards that the K-12 sector currently does not, such as increased pay, responsibility, and status. Similarly, the civil-service sector promotes high performers, allowing those who excel to climb ranks quickly, whereas the K-12 sector offers no such incentives. Most interestingly, the paper articulates a new design framework, dubbed “elite tenure.” In this model, teachers would be eligible for tenure after six years as an educator (because the new teacher learning curve flattens at year five). Districts would only award tenure to the top 10 to 25 percent of educators and, much like national board certification, the applicant would have to prove worthiness. Finally, regarding dismissal: While the burden of proof would be on the employer, this new “elite tenure” system would provide broad grounds for dismissal, keeping some onus on the employee. Ideas from this paper aren’t a cure-all, but at a time when we need tangible remedies to fix our ailing system, they are a great chicken noodle soup.
Public Impact, “Teacher Tenure Reform: Applying Lessons from the Civil Service and Higher Education” (Chapel Hill, NC: Public Impact, 2011).
blog comments powered by Disqus