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ERIC Number: ED559680
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Rebalancing Teacher Tenure: A Post-"Vergara" Guide for Policymakers
Education policy often requires balancing the professional interests of adult employees with the educational needs and rights of students. Nearly everyone agrees, for example, that children deserve an education that prepares them for success in college and life, and that teachers should be afforded reasonable job protections. Yet these values and interests sometimes conflict. The recent verdict in the "Vergara v. California" case, which found California's teacher tenure laws unconstitutional, affirmed what many education leaders and policymakers have known for years: The balance of laws and regulations has swung so far toward job protection for teachers that students are suffering. Consistently ineffective teachers remain in the classroom year after year because laws make it virtually impossible to replace them. In most states, the due process protections afforded to teachers facing dismissal far exceed the protections extended to other employees. Tenured teachers have the right to a lengthy and legalistic hearing process that can drag on for months--including pre-hearing discovery of evidence, pre- and post-hearing legal briefs, and a requirement for districts to demonstrate exceptional efforts to remediate the teacher's low performance, before dismissal is even a possibility. In order for policymakers, education leaders, and school principals to put the focus back on helping hard working teachers improve and keep high performers in the classroom, difficult issues need to be addressed, and that begins with more balanced teacher tenure policies. Finding the correct balance would help millions of students across the country to succeed, and it would strengthen the teaching profession by putting to rest the legitimate concerns that poor performance is tolerated. TNPT is a national non-profit organization working to end educational inequality by ensuring that all students get excellent teachers. Eight specific changes to laws and regulations (and collective bargaining agreements, where applicable) have been proposed by TNPT and are detailed here. A list of current tenure policies is shown beside a list of more balanced tenure policies for comparison. The hope is that they will create a more balanced system and help districts retain teachers who have demonstrated the ability to improve student achievement.
TNTP. 186 Joralemon Street Suite 300, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Tel: 718-233-2800; Fax: 718-643-9202; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: TNTP