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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Get tenure in ten years

Making tenure tougher to get and keep is big on the plate for our state. How strong the reforms will be could define the administration. Rep. Bill Dunn thinks tenure should come after 10 years of evaluation. Haslam is pushing for a softer review.

The Tennessean offers some more details.

Haslam wants to use the new evaluation system in tenure decisions, forcing teachers to score in the top two of five levels during their fourth and fifth years of teaching, after which they'd receive tenure. If teachers fell into the bottom two categories for two consecutive years, their tenure would be probationary until they met the original standard again. Otherwise, they would lose tenure.

Again, some questions arise on details. What if a teacher were terrible in years one, two, three and then only scored well in two of five categories in year four and five? Do they get tenure?

What is probationary tenure? Do they still have tenure or not? Can bad teachers be fired during that time? How long can they stay on probationary tenure 1 year? 10 years? If they improve for 1 year during the probationary tenure do they get full tenure back and start another 2 year process over? or do they start the 5 year tenure process over again?

If they fall off probationary tenure will they be fired or can they improve for one year and then get full tenure back or do they improve to probationary tenure or do they have to start the entire tenure process over again?

Is it ever automatic that a teacher will be removed even after 5 or 10 years of under performance?

It is looking like a bad teacher could qualify and have some form of tenure even after failing 36 of 40 evaluation standards over 8 years or even more.

I hope we can do better for the children.


  1. I do hope that teachers aren't fired after one or two down years as a lot is based on what students do.

    Also, never forget that a teacher and student are only two parts of the equation. The parents need some accountability to have the child at school. The child and parent also need accountability for trying in testing.

    As it now stands, the students are not accountable for the testing. They don't fill out a single thing on tests and they can pass. We also cannot deviate from what the test booklet says to say, so making them do something is impossible.

  2. We changed that last year.
    Now up to 25% of the students grade can be tied to the testing.

  3. You did except the scores aren't back until the following year, so in effect, it cannot be tied to the student scores.

  4. Our school did not have all the test results until well into this year. By then it is too late to do anything to student scores from last year. It is my understanding that at some point in time tests may be computerized, which means we should be able to get instant data, but that will be a problem until we get that fixed.

    I am probably one of the few teachers excited about change coming to education. I just want to make sure that all of the changes are good changes. Thanks Sen. Campfield for what you are doing. I know you want to fix the problems and am happy that this issue is being looked at seriously.

    I don't know what the fiscal not would be on an idea that I have, and that would probably shut it down, but there are those students who don't care about how they do in school or on tests. They don't care because the parents don't care. As it now stands, attendance (or lack thereof) can result in having to go to court over missing school. I don't know that the punishment is harsh, but accountability makes it necessary that it is bad enough that parents don't want to have to deal with it.

    Also, students cannot usually fail. They are simply passed on. How about creating a summer program where students must attend if they do not make the necessary grades and test scores. Treat it just like any other school day where attendance matters if the student did not meet the expectations. Parents would have to drive the students to the school, and if they did not have them there, they would have to go to court.

    Make the goals tough on my students. Let's force them to learn what they need to succeed and for our country to remain great. Let's raise the bar, but let's also make sure that teachers aren't to blame.

    I will tell you this. As a parent, if my child makes C's or lower... If my student is below proficient... It is not the teachers' faults. It is my fault, because as a parent, that responsibility ultimately lies with me.

    I don't like the idea of forcing kids to learn if the parents don't think they should have to, but it is my job as a teacher to make sure that those kids learn just as much as any other because that's what I get paid to do.

    Thanks again for making this a priority. I am not a member of the TEA, so I don't feel that I am necessarily under attack though I do feel that some people hold being a teacher against me instead of thinking it is an honorable profession. I hold the TEA and NEA responsible for that. I won't join them. Instead I joined PET 4 years ago when I began teaching.

    I would also love to hear your thoughts on some of this.

  5. That is what is done in other states (Summer school). Testing can now be made part of a students grade.

    The Sen.


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